Which 3rd party software is bad for Mac OS X?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Hakkinen, May 31, 2004.

  1. Hakkinen macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    #1
    I have posted under the topic "Why my Windows XP is more stable than Mac OS", and after many advice from many helpful and kind users here, I think probably it is time to do a reformat and reinstall of my Mac OS X 10.3.4.
    I have the following 3rd party applications in my harddisk now and I wish to know if anyone can tell me if they are perfectly OK to be used my machine. Or if anyone has any problem after installing after of them. I am not sure some of the versions, but I downloaded them between May 21st to 31st 2004. THANKS in advance!
    1. Tigerlaunch 1.0.2
    2. Diva 1.0
    3. Handbrake
    4. Menu Meters
    5. MSN Mess
    6. SideTrack
    7. VLC
    8. Eric's Ultimate Solitaire
    9. WireTap
    10. Adium
    11. Netscape 7.0
    12. Stuffit 802
    13. A4 Wireless mouse driver/software
     
  2. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    #2
    There is no software that is perfectly ok. software always cotains bugs, but certain software is more stable than others. knowing this people will have different opinions about the same piece of software, because software interacts differently in different enviroments. i.e. each person's mac. so one person may love MSN Messenger and another person will hate it. it is all subjective. the best way to figure it is listen to ppls opinions and install them, and decide for yoruself.
     
  3. Hakkinen thread starter macrumors member

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    May 7, 2004
    #3
    Thanks.
     
  4. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #4
    Not really; more accurately, it all depends on your system and how you run it.

    It's worth noting, though, that some software accesses the system on a lower level than other software. This more low-level software is far more likely to cause general system instability than lighter stuff (though any application is perfectly capable of crashing all by itself).

    Of course, it can be hard to tell which is which, but generally things with a drag-and-drop install (no password required) are far less likely to be installing something that pokes at the guts of OSX.

    If the app does require a password, or specifically does something at more than a "just open the app" level (such as add or modify the menu bar, or modify the system in some way), then it's a lot more likely to cause general problems, particularly after you upgrade your OS. This is true of any OS, since once you're messing with something beyond a simple application, you run the risk of causing a system-wide problem, rather than just an application-level problem (which OSX should recover from without complaint--just re-launch the app).

    I don't know everything in your list, but your mouse driver is by far the most likely to cause issues, since it by definition interacts directly with hardware. If you're having problems, see if others have as well, and make sure you have the newest version (and that that version is supposed to be compatible with whatever version of the OS you're running).

    On the flip side, straight applications like Stuffit, Netscape, VLC, and Solitaire, are unlikely to do anything more than crash themselves, leaving the system alone. Those four are, so far as I know, reasonably stable (Stuffit in particular), although I'd probably use Firebird or Mozilla over Netscape personally.
     
  5. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

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    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland.
    #5
    I'm afraid these are very rough guidelines.

    A standalone executable might be a package containing many support files & executables which get moved/installed when the program runs. Of course, without asking for an administrator password, it's more limited in what it can do, but it still can install start-up items, start background processes running etc.
     
  6. Hakkinen thread starter macrumors member

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    May 7, 2004
    #6
    I may agree that my mouse driver/software may have problems. Because when I try to configure the mouse, the words in the A4 mouse software overlaps each other. Making it impossible to see what are the options. Luckily the mouse speed bar is recognisable. It is the lastest driver available on their website.
     
  7. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    Solon, OH
    #7
    I can confirm for you that Stuffit 8.02 is safe. I have it running on my iMac and have had no problems related to it other than corrupt files which no decoder/expander would open.
     
  8. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

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    Jul 6, 2003
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    #8
    Most of those shouldn't cause problems. I might be a little susipcious of that trackpad driver, but I really don't have a good reason for saying that.

    Have you considered the human element? One thing you notice when you read a lot of MacRumors (or any similar board) is that most problems exist between the keyboard and the chair. Sure there are some bad 3rd party apps out there, but they shouldn't be destroying your OS. Is there anything you do/don't do that would cause problems for the computer that aren't related to software?

    The only way to know for sure if one of those is a bad app is to start with a fresh OS, then install the apps one at a time until you get problems. Do you need them that badly?
     
  9. Hakkinen thread starter macrumors member

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    May 7, 2004
    #9
    Human element. I thought about it too.
    I wonder how some people can have trouble-free OS while others have a lot of problems.
    Did I do anything wrong, come to think of it, I don't think I have done anything seriously wrong, as you can see from my short list, I didn't bombard my OS with lots of applications.
     
  10. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    Location:
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    #10
    3rd party applications are not a problem. It's 3rd party system haxies that are a problem. Anything that adds a PrefPane to the System prefs or an icon in the menu bar or changes the system elements in any way is a potential problem. The reason is most apps run at the user level and do not meddle at all with the system. These types of apps if they crash do not affect anything and you can just reopen them and continue to work. This of course is not the fault of the system but that of the application its self. Programs that modify the system on the other hand could very well be making modifications to the lower level processes of the system and if one of these apps crashes it can potentially take the whole system down.

    I have a ton of 3rd party shareware and apps on my system including several system modifiers. I often run a couple months between restarts without any crashes or problems. Sometimes apps crash but that's not the systems fault. I typically only have to restart when install a system update.

    Often 3rd party hardware is far more likely to cause crashes then software because a lot of 3rd party hardwares require low level system components to be installed.

    One last thing to think about is power quality. If you have fluctuations in your local power grid or within your house these could cause hardware hickups that look like a system software crash. Often a UPS can fix these.
     
  11. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    Gone but not forgotten.
    #11
    Out of the list you've given, I can only say that I currently use Stuffit (Deluxe) 8.0.2 and VLC. Both seem reasonably safe. I would expect that Adium and Netscape 7.x would be okay too but I use iChat/AIM and Firefox/Camino/Shiira.

    In agreement with MacBandit, I would worry about customisations/hacks. Things like MenuMeters tend to mess with things where they shouldn't. It's not that they're bad, but Apple stopped allowing menu enhancements for a couple of reasons:

    1) unslightliness, divergent look and feel
    2) sloppy coding

    Now, developers have to work harder to get around in there and from update to update, things may not work properly.
     
  12. Hakkinen thread starter macrumors member

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    May 7, 2004
    #12
    I do not have Haxies in my system. But like bousozoku mention about potential problem with Menu Meter, do you consider that software to be haxie?
    Anyway, I am not running Menu Meter now, but I have also find Menu meter isn't such a big deal. It has a temperature bar but it does not tell me the temperature in actual degrees. I am prepare to put it to thrash anytime.

    As for power quality, well, I always run ibook on the battery. I only plug in the charger when battery is almost flat and I still need to use my ibook at this time. So I don't think I hav power problem. But since you brought this up, I am wondering if this is the reason why this afternoon my ibook have trouble wake up from sleep during charging.
     
  13. radhak macrumors regular

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    Aug 28, 2003
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    #13
    download one of the CPU/Memory monitors from VersionTracker.com and use it to track when your system seems to run slow.

    some software cause problems inconsistently. eg, i have always had problems with Konfabulator, like it would grab way too much CPU (60%) or memory and not let-go, or something. Sometimes FireFox does that too; but i keep an eye on the CPU monitor, and quit from that particular app and restart it. Many times that solves the issue.

    sometimes a reboot does the trick, and the same app runs okay...
     
  14. janey macrumors 603

    janey

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Location:
    sunny los angeles
    #14
    no matter what software you use, you can always reinstall OS X.
    Just don't use toooooooo many haxies...like ClearDock wont do much, but using that on top of ShapeShifter and the windowshade thing will totally muck up your system after a while.

    But you can always reinstall, so don't worry.
    SideTrack is the only thing I'm slightly worried about, but seeing as how I use it with no problems, i guess its okay.
    YOURE AN ADIUM USER!!!! HOORAY!!!
    sorry, its like Mac users are afraid to use anything other than iChat or something. Everyone I know uses iChat, bah. How could a mac user NOT love the customizability, cost and overall sexiness of Adium :p And come on, you can play with the source code too :D :D :D :D
    I swear, Adam and the other Adium devs have to submit it for the apple student design awards, they'll win they did such a great job on it.
     
  15. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #15
    I'd definitely nominate SideTrack as falling into the haxies category too, but I have it and I left it installed through the upgrade to 10.3.4 and I haven't seen issues.

    I have Adium on my machine too, although I do not use it that often. Somehow I like the cleanness of iChat. :( So I just have Adium if I need to get into my MSN or Yahoo chat accounts. I like the idea of Adium a lot, but hmmm...somehow...iChat is so pretty. :) Now if there was something that was as clean as iChat and offered multi-account.....
     
  16. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    Gone but not forgotten.
    #16
    Well, I tried Adium and that's part of the reason I use iChat. :D
     
  17. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

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    Nov 7, 2003
    #17
    you never mention the fact that some user can put up with a few error message, and some un-intended functionality of software. so it doesn't matter what techincal is pausible, it still up to the user if he would willing to put up with the problems, because most user cannot fix the problems on their own.
     
  18. janey macrumors 603

    janey

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    Location:
    sunny los angeles
    #18
    aww, well, i hope all you stinkin iChat lovers ( ;) ) decide to try the newer builds of Adium, because theyre not that bad anymore :p
    Cant wait for the final 2.0, its going to be amazing
     
  19. Hakkinen thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    #19
    I have sidetrack installed before I deleted my preference file. Ever since, I have not run the application. Just let my mouse do the work. Hmm..from what everyone mention here, i may probably remove this program from my computer. Thanks for the advice.

    Actually.... :p I have not downloaded Adium. I read about it and the features are really great. I am waiting for their new version because it has email alerts. In fact, I really hope they have that ASAP, can't wait to use it.

    Any idea when 2.0 is coming out? (But i thought they said the new version is 0.58?)
     
  20. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    Aug 9, 2002
    Location:
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    #20
    Yes, any 3rd party app that modifies the system interface in anyway is a haxie.

    As for SideTrack I run it on my Al15 and have no problems with it.

    Someone mentioned memory and I have noticed in the past that lower amounts of memory will lead to system hangs as well. Though this might not be so much an issue any more.
     
  21. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    Jun 6, 2003
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    Solon, OH
    #21
    I don't use Adium for three reasons:
    1. I prefer the OFFICIAL software - I consider Adium UNOFFICIAL.
    2. I don't need the integration that multi-service messaging apps provide.
    3. I generally stay away from beta software and software whose major version number is '0' - the only exception is CocoModX.
     
  22. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #22
    Hmmm...I have 0.57 so I think I must be pretty recent, huh? Anyway I think it has a lot of potential. And I do actually like its chat window. If anyone on the team pushes to work on the polish of it, I think it could be very nice very quickly (i.e. in a few updates). Already the functionality of it is very impressive. And I do use it except for AIM (iChat).
     
  23. 7on macrumors 601

    7on

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    Location:
    Dress Rosa
    #23
    Does Adium work on iChat's Rendezvous? No? To bad.

    Anyway, 3rd Party Drivers seem to rape most Macs. My HP Printer drivers did that. For somereason HP thinks the MacOSX is Windows so it goes in there overwritting stuff it shouldn't. I had to reinstall my HP drivers from my OSX install disk because in the HP uninstaller it deletes the generic HP driver that I use to print on my mom's old HP through Windows Printer Sharing. I like my Canon driver though, all it installs is the print driver and the color profiles in color sync as a good printer installer should.

    The Mouse drivers and Sidetrack will prolly mess your system up more than you think. OSX handles USB mice fine without drivers. Why does anyone need to "enhance" their trackpad anyway? Use an external mouse, but if you're traveling and you can't, crtl+clicking won't kill you.
     
  24. Basilisk macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2004
    #24
    With all due respect, if there wasn't a need for third party mouse drivers, Apple probably wouldn't have provided an extensive, documented API to do it.

    I'd never claim that SideTrack or any mouse driver is bug free, but these are not system hacks. They use IOKit for precisely the purpose Apple intended, to provide more control over the hardware. SideTrack is only somewhat exceptional in that it is extending Apple built-in hardware instead of being intended for use with third-party hardware.

    I realize at least one user on this board has had a problem with SideTrack, I've already posted in the other thread what I believe the problem is, hopefully the user will contact me and we can work out the conflict.

    Alex
     
  25. Hakkinen thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    #25
    I am not sure if my A4 Wireless mouse driver is causing my ibook's wake up from sleep problem. I notice whenever I charge my battery in sleep mode, when I open the display and key in my login password, the screen goes blank. I have to press a few keys on the keyboard or move my mouse and the login screen comes back on. Have to do this 2 or 3 times before it wakes up finally. I thought may be the mouse's USB sensor is causing the problem, so i unplugged it and tested again. Same problem even without the mouse.
    Hmm....
     

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