Openlab and Mac OS X

Technical Note: 300
Reads: 14440
Creation Date: 23/07/2002
Modification Date: 16/01/2006

Benefits of upgrading to Mac OS X

Mac OS X offers several significant advantages over the older Mac OS 9, including:

  • Improved reliability and stability — Mac OS X is based on UNIX
  • Improved memory and disk performance
  • A new look and feel called "Aqua"
  • Improved utilization of multiple processors

Many operations in Openlab will run faster on Mac OS X than on Mac OS 9.

Issues with upgrading to Mac OS X

Moving to Mac OS X is not always straightforward. If you have applications that rely on tight timing considerations, timing and performance of experiments may change between Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. Hardware performance may be very different in Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X.

Hardware may not run on Mac OS X. Mac OS X requires manufacturers to write new drivers for most devices. It is not possible to use Mac OS 9 drivers on Mac OS X. For information on Mac OS X compatibility for hardware used with Openlab please refer to Technical Note 416.

Openlab 4.x requires Mac OS X 10.1.5 or higher. Openlab 5.0 and above requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher.

Known problems

Computer Hardware

Not all Apple Macintosh computers will be able to run Mac OS X. For details of which models are supported, see the following Apple web page:

Mac OS X also requires significantly more disk space and memory than Mac OS 9.

It is also important to check that any printer, server or network you use will continue to work under Mac OS X. If you run other software on your Openlab workstation, you should check whether this software is compatible with Mac OS X.

Openlab Hardware Key

Existing Openlab hardware keys or dongles that are purple or grey will not work under Mac OS X because drivers have not been made available for these devices. A charge may be made for upgrading to an OS X-compatible key. This key is green and requires a spare USB port. Contact Improvision for a quotation for a green dongle.

Technical Note 354, "Upgrading to Openlab 3.1" includes information on how to copy license information from your old key to the new green key.

Microscopy Hardware

For information on Mac OS X compatibility for hardware used with Openlab please refer to Technical Note 416.

The Openlab installer no longer includes drivers for all the devices that Improvision supports. Instead, some drivers are now included in manufacturer installers. These installers can be found on the Openlab CD and in the "Openlab Hardware Drivers Pack" available from the Improvision downloads page.

For the very latest device drivers please refer to Technical Note 416 for details of where to download.


Mac OS X offers many advantages over Mac OS 9, and most hardware supported in Mac OS 9 is also supported in Mac OS X.