Low End Mac's OS X Guides
Panther Info & Links
Mac OS X 10.3 Panther was released on October 24, 2003 and was last updated on April 15, 2005, when the 10.3.9 update was released.
New features include Fast User Switching (you no longer have to log out so another user can log in), Exposé, File Vault (use at your own risk), and iChat AV, which added voice and video conferencing to the Mac's messaging client. TextEdit was updated to support Microsoft Word documents.
Minimum hardware requirements are a 233 MHz G3, a built-in USB port (requires "New World" ROMs), 1.5 GB of available hard drive space, and 128 MB of RAM, although more is recommended. 256 MB is better, and 512 MB better yet.
Panther was the first version of OS X to drop support for some of the oldest Macs that had been supported through 10.2.x. Still, it was a short list: WallStreet PowerBooks and the Beige Power Mac G3. In reality, Panther can run on these systems, although Apple's installer doesn't permit it. XPostFacto runs under Mac OS 9 and works around those limitations - version 4 supports OS X 10.2 through 10.4 on many unsupported Macs.
This is the oldest version of OS X that still have several fairly up-to-date browsers to choose from, although recent betas such as Camino 2 and Firefox 3 are not compatible with it. The latest versions of Opera and iCab are compatible with Panther.
Panther improved performance in almost every area, especially graphics.
- Panther List, Low End Mac's email list for Mac OS X 10.3 users.
- What's the Best Mac OS for Your iBook, PowerBook, or MacBook?, Charles Moore, 2008.08.19
- Is the Panther Upgrade Worth It?, Adam Robert Guha, 2003.10.24
- Panther at the Low End, and What to Do with Jaguar, Dan Knight, 2003.10.30
- Panther Lets Macs and Windows Work Together Better, Alan Zisman, 2003.11.21
- Panther Improves Classic, Jeff Adkins, 2004.02.04
- Upgrading a Power Mac G3 from Mac OS 9 to Panther, Adam Robert Guha, 2004.12.03
- A Diehard OS 9 User Makes the Big Leap, Beverly Woods, 2005.02.23
- Back to the Future: Downgrading My Pismo to OS X 10.3.9, Charles Moore, 2006.02.20
- Making the Move from Jaguar (OS X 10.2) to Panther (10.3), Ted Hodges, 2006.04.11
These are generally the latest version of these programs that run on Panther. Some may require Mac OS X 10.3.8, the final version of Panther. Programs are free unless otherwise noted.
Browsers are listed by how up-to-date they are. We strongly recommend Opera 9.6.x (the only browser for Panther still being updated), Firefox 22.214.171.124, and Camino 1.0.6. Keep Internet Explorer handy just in case you find a site that requires it.
- Opera 9.6.4 - current version (June 2009), most up-to-date browser for Panther, Opera 10 alpha not compatible with Panther
- iCab 4.6 (June 2009) - shareware, Universal Binary
- Camino 1.6.8 (June 2009)
- Firefox 126.96.36.199 (Dec. 2008)
- Safari 1.3.2 (Jan. 2006) - installed using Software Update, update using Software Update, quite outdated
- Internet Explorer 5.2.2 (Sept. 2002) - IE 5.2 last shipped with Mac OS X 10.2, update using Software Update, most outdated browser for Panther
- Kompozer 0.7.10 - WYSIWYG HTML editor, based on Netscape Composer, version 0.8 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later
- uControl 1.3.5 - keyboard remapper, useful for swapping the Command and Option keys when using a Windows keyboard, as they are reversed from what Mac users are used to
Mac OS X v10.3 Panther Updates
Low End Mac Reader Specials
Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
Mac Driver Museum
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ