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Introduction

MacOS X 10.9 (Mavericks), Darwin Kernel Version 13.0.0, was released in October 2013 as a free upgrade for all MacOS versions on hardware that could cope. It moves forward on the path paved by its predecessors with improved security, less 32bit code, more services resembling those you find on the iOS platform.

Bugs (ie. broken things and/or changes in behaviour)

SMB2

If you connect to certain shared services using an URL like smb://server/share, you may see unexpected behaviour when trying to access resources on the mounted network volume. Mavericks uses Apple’s SMB2 implementation for this style of URL, and this does not handle certain Windows tricks properly:

NTFS junctions

NTFS junctions link different parts of the file system on a Windows system. We use NTFS junctions to consolidate access to shares on servers. The example below shows the same folder from three perspectives:


Windows



Connected using smb:// (note disclosure triangles)



Connected using cifs:// -the folders have content!

The work around for this issue is to force Mavericks to use the older style of smb by changing the url to cifs://server/share. 

File locking

Working off a file server, it looks like certain behaviours associated with compilation activities are coming to grief because file locks or handles are not being released properly. Limited testing has been done, but the behaviour has been observed on various versions of Tex for MacOS X that worked in previous versions of the operating system. This may be related to the SMB2 issue -though we did some quick testing with mounts created using cifs://.

The work around is to move the file structure being used to a local folder.

App Nap

Part of the new feature set for Mavericks is the ability for the operating system to put applications or components of applications to sleep independent of the sleep settings for the host system. This can save power, wear and tear, etc.

It can be quite annoying if you are running processes that you need to keep going all the time (eg. transcoding live streams). There are probably code hooks in newer applications that know how to tell the OS not to sleep specific processes, but there are a number of applications that do not know about this behaviour.

It is possible to manually configure App Nap behaviour for individual applications through the Finder information dialogue.


The Finder information dialogue for VLC showing the Prevent App Nap option.

QuickLook

Certain QuickLook handlers that worked in earlier versions of MacOS X, do not work in Mavericks. OS X 10.9 has replaced the QuickTime layer used in previous versions, with a new AV framework, and this means that things like Perian are no longer accessible through QuickLook.

You can still open the objects that you cannot preview in QuickLook, and the QuickTime layer can be accessed through the older player (QuickTime Player 7). Things like VideoLan Client can be used as well (for AV files).

Multiscreen

The ability to make better use of multiple monitors is welcome:

  • You can run things in full screen one one or more monitors while working normally on others (prior to 10.9, running something full screen rendered the other in accessible.
  • The menu bar is available on each monitor, making it easy to get to the relevant menu context on each screen, even when different apps have focus! The dock will follow you around as well, if you leave it at the base of the screen.

But …

  • Application windows cannot span multiple monitors! So don’t buy dual thin bezel 8K monitors [yet], unless you are prepared to lose the cool features above!
  • The Dock can get confused/confusing -it will move across monitors by itself, and can sometimes get lost.

 

 

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