About Mac OS X 10.4 ("Tiger") and Omnis

Here is our most recent information on Omnis and Apple's newest operating system.

The news is mainly good: there are some limitations and qualifications, but in general you will be able to use Omnis on your "Tiger" Macintosh computer. The news in brief: Tiger will work fine with your Omnis program (and vice versa), if:

(a) you are in a single-user situation where only one person has access to your Omnis data at the same time; or

(b) Tiger is running on the computer where the data file resides and you have only one other computer (using any operating system version) accessing the data file at any one time); or

(c) Tiger is NOT running on the computer where the data file resides; in other words, Tiger and Omnis will also work in a networked environment with multiple users and/or multiple operating systems, as long as the data file resides on a "non-Tiger" computer; that computer could be running OS X 10.3 or an earlier version of OS X, or it could be running Windows.

BUT NOTE: THERE IS A WAY TO DEAL WITH THAT ISSUE: See the "Good News about Tiger" section below, for excruciatingly detailed information on how to avoid the "Tiger problems".

What does that all mean for you?

IF you want to have two or more people in your office accessing the Omnis data base from their own computers (whether or not they are using Tiger) at the same time, THEN you must either:

  1. have your data file stored on a computer that is not running "Tiger"; or
  2. follow the instructions below, in the "Good News about Tiger" section of this page.

Even though the data file would have to reside on a "non-Tiger" computer (if you choose option 1), you can upgrade the other computers in your office to Tiger. All in all: people in your office can enjoy the new features available in Tiger.


Good News about Tiger
or: How to tame an office full of tigers, with one tiny change to a Tiger system file


Better news about Omnis and Tiger, to take you beyond the limitations described above:

This entire process will likely take you about a half hour, from start to finish. It involves some changes to one of the Mac OS X preference files. Once you are done, you will have changed one minor flag/switch in that preference file, to permit multiple Macs (all runnning OS X) to permit concurrent access to your office's shared Omnis data file. If you follow the following instructions carefully, you should not encounter any problems, and you should achieve the result you want.

These changes have been tested, and they have worked in our multi-user testing environment. Different configurations of computers and networks in different offices could produce different results, but we have not yet encountered any problems in any such situations.

Instructions for Enabling Multi-User Access with Multiple OS X 10.4 ("Tiger") Macs

1Get to the right computerThese changes have to be made on the computer where your data file resides, so be sure you make them on that computer (they don't have to be made on the other computer(s) that access your ofice's shared data file.
2Get the "property list editor" programThis will let you change the preference. The easiest way to find that application, is to go to versiontracker (http://www.versiontracker.com) and search for the word "plist" (without the "quotes"). If you do that, one of the items found by versiontracker will be a program called PlistEdit Pro. That is the program you want.  Here is the direct link to the page you want.
3Install the "property list editor" programClick on the button(s) to start the download of that PlistEdit Pro program. Once that program has been downloaded, you must install it, by following the instructions in the download routines (in most cases, it will simply be a matter of dragging the downloaded program files into your applications folder). Once those files have been installed on your hard disk, you won't need the installer files (the ".dmg." disk image file, and the PlistEdit Pro disk image), so you can drag those two files from your desktop to the trash, to delete/dismount them.
4If you have downloaded the "property list editor" program to a computer that hasn't got the data fileyou will have to copy those files from your own applications folder to the applications folder of that other computer.
5Get ready.Your computer (the computer where your Omnis data file resides) will try to guard the preference files, and won't let you make any changes to the preference file unless you have the authority to do so. Therefore, if you are not signed in on the "data file computer" with "admin privileges", you will have to log out, and then log back in using an "admin" user-name and password. To do that, you will have to click on the apple in the Top left of your screen, and then select the "Log Out" command; after doing that, you will be able to log back in as an "admin" user. Note, too, that that computer should not be running any other programs while you are undertaking these procedures (it would be a good idea for you to print the information on this web page, and follow it from that printed copy). Note, too, that that "data file computer" must be running OS X 10.4 ("Tiger"). If you don't have Tiger running as that computer's operating system, then you will first have to get it and install it on the computers (chances are, it is already installed on all the computers in your office, though, as that is likely the reason why you are reading these instructions).
6Find the file that has to be changed.Before you access the file from PList Edit Pro, you will have to access that same file from normal navigation through your Mac's Finder. The file you need to find, is called: com.apple.AppleFileServer.plist, and is located inside a folder called Preferences, which in turn is inside a folder called Library. In other words: go to the main area of your hard disk, double-click on the Library folder, and then double-click on the Preferences folder. Inside that Preferences folder, you should find the com.apple.ApplefileServer.plist file.
7Prepare that com.apple.AppleFileServer.plist file for editingMost likely, when you find that file and "get info" about it, you will see that its owner is system, rather than admin or yourself or any other name. You cannot access it as "system", so you will temporarily have to change its owner to something else that will allow changes to it (that's why we have made sure you have logged in as someone with "admin" privileges). To accomplish the changes in access to that file, you will have to change the ownership and permissions in the "get info" dialog box for that file. To make that change, look at the details for permissions in the "get info" dialog box, and click on the lock next to the "system" owner (if necessary), to unlock it. You might need to specify your admin password, to be able to change the status of that lock. Once you are able to change the owner, click on the list next to "owner", and select your admin identity as the (new) owner of that file.
8Edit the fileDouble-click on the PlistPro Edit icon, to start that program. Find the com.apple.AppleFileServer.plist file, by using the Open command from the File menu, and navigating through the Preferences folder in the Library folder; when you have found that file, click on the pushbutton to open it. When you open that file, you will see a lsit of names of "properties". Scroll down that list, until you find one called lock_manager: it will have a class of "Boolean" (yes/no values), and its value will be set to YES; at the right of that row in the list, you will see a pair of "up-down arrows"; click on that arrows-icon to display a two-line menu with the words "YES" and "NO" on it, and then select the "NO" item from that list, to change the Value of lock_manager from YES to NO.
9Prepare the preference file for normal useThat computer expects the com.apple.AppleFileServer.plist file to be used and accessed by the "system" owner, so you must change the owner back to "system" (from your own admin owner/user) , once the edit is done. To change the owner, follow the same procedure that you followed when you changed it from system to your own admin user, except this time do things in reverse (i.e., go from your admin user name to system, rather than from system to your admin user name). If you find that the owner has already reverted to "system" when you go back to change ownership of that file, don't be concerned, as the system will sometimes do that automatically (saving you the work!).
10Get out and backTo be sure the changes "take", restart that computer after you complete the edit of the preference file.

Data file access on the network

As noted above, we have tested those procedures, and they work for us. Also as noted above, the success of those changes might rely (in part) on the specific configuration of computers and network options in an office. We therefore recommend that you "follow us" as much as possible, and implement as many as possible of the following suggestions and procedures:

  • have the "Sharing" system preference on ALL computers in your office set for "Personal File Sharing": you and we are trying hard to make the computers in your office "play well with others", so you should be sure all of them are expecting to use the same (and only) file sharing service in the Sharing system preference;
  • have the "Network" system preferences on ALL computers in your office set for TCP/IP using DHCP, and with "AppleTalk Active" (you don't have to know what those settings mean, and you will see those preferences in the "Network" system preferences panel);
  • a low-tech solution to high-tech problems: more often than not, we have found that re-setting hubs/routers in an office can solve many problems with network access; to re-set a hub/router, unplug it and then plug it back in;
  • we have also found that many intermittent problems with network access (including access speed) can be solved by making sure all your ethernet wires are firmly plugged into the computers, hubs, etc. to which they are connected.