06/09/2015: System 6.0.2, System 6.0.3…and counting?

If you follow other sources of Apple II news (Call A.P.P.L.E, A2 Central), you'll already have heard that System 6.0.2 got released, followed shortly by System 6.0.3. What, you say? Apple's made updates after 22 years? No! Let's just say that there are some folks who've managed to obtain the source code and have been spending time on making bug fix and feature additions to the last released version of GS/OS.

This illuminati (indulge me here for a little unnecessary drama folks) have created a little bit of a hot potato in that Apple could potentially come down on us for using something like System 6.0.3, but in reality, I think they've got bigger fish to fry.

Another issue I've been mulling over is if I should include newer versions of System 6 as part of this archive. Compatibility issues with existing software should be a non issue, but there is a possibility something could break with these updates to GS/OS.

I wasn't expecting new versions of System 6, and I've been happy with the amount of time I've spent putting into my 32meg ProDOS disk images and considered them...definitive, I guess (indulge me just a little further). Another issue is that my System 6.0.1 images include the GUPP patches that fix multiple bugs, some of which are addressed in System 6.0.3 and some that are not. GUPP still apparently works in System 6.0.3 without harm, but I feel it's now a slightly inelegant solution - something that now sits in the system folder and memory that's trying to fix something that's now fix, and fixing other things that haven't yet been fixed. I hope that System 6.0.4, if it's being worked on, addresses all the bugs that GUPP fixes, so GUPP can be removed altogether. Indeed, I hope all INIT based patches that fix bugs (including those released through SoftdiskGS) are addressed with fixes in the source code, so these patches are no-longer needed and enable a cleaner and leaner System 6.

Anyways, I've been persuaded to include System 6.0.3 and (System 6.0.2) into a new archive and a different version of the preinstalled version of System 6, including 6.0.3, is now available (thanks to the Easy Update feature included in the installer of 6.0.3 - if you already have a System you're happy with, you can run this over it to update to 6.0.3 and live everything else as it was). Have fun playing with them, as I will, but take caution, perhaps, that your data is backed up before relying on System 6.0.2 or greater in case any currently unknown bugs rear their ugly heads.

There's only one thing I don't like with System 6.0.3 and it's entirely cosmetic and petty: after the system loads and before the launching application appears (usually the Finder) the IIGS briefly reverts to the text display with cursor in the top left hand corner. It's likely this has been done as a trade off to support one of the new features in this release, but I'm not a fan, as no previous version of GS/OS has done this and after using GS/OS for 25 years, it jars my experience just a little bit. As I said, it's petty. Most people probably won't even see it.

My favourite new feature is how the Find File NDA will now allow you to double click on the results of a search and take you there in the Finder. That would have saved me a good deal of time when I was collating and sorting all the System Add-ons several years ago, but better late than never :-)