Well, your mac is dual boot so your son can use the program in 9 but the danger of messing up X remains.
When booted in 9 you are the root/superuser that can move files at will. While booted into X the finder has failsafes that will help prevent you from making X unuseable. When X first came out there were many people who had X and 9 side by side and would diddle with X's files while booted in 9 only to find out that they had messed up X's ability to boot.
With one hard drive/one partition X's files and folders are vulnerable to harm and there is no real way to secure them that I know of. If you have another hard drive or partition you could split the os's and have at least one layer of protection.
Piggybacking on Carl's suggestion, you could partition your HDD and have OS 9 installed on a separate partition which can then, if your computer supports it, be Option booted. That would by-pass the Startup Manager, and the computer would revert to the original boot partition upon reboot. You could have the application installed directly on the OS 9 partition, which would leave the OS X partition untouched.
It is now possible to do dynamic re-partitioning (that is without reformatting and reinstalling, which destroys all data and requires backup and restoration from backup) with new software recently available, although, not having used any of them, I can't vouch for their safety or effectiveness. Post back if interested in more info.
Thanks, Carl: I have the OS-s on separate HDs (not even partiions, separate physical drives). My concern centers more on things like unwanted downloads than anything else; I don't think my son would get into the guts of the system stuff. Plus, my machine is old enough that it doesn't have the option-at-startup feature to allow the user to choose which OS to go into. I take it there's just no way to do what I'm hoping to do?
Other thoughts from anyone?
Bill Spencer in vaguely spring-like NH
B&W G3/400mhz/rev.2/896mb/12G + 14G dual HDs/LaCie 52x burner/Panther (10.3.9)
As long as he just works with the hard drive that has 9 and does not open the X drive (double click on it) there should not be any problems. Even if he does it should not make any diffence unless he moves or plays with the X folders/files.
Downloading onto the 9 drive won't do anything to the X drive and downloads preferentially go to the boot drive(9 for your son) unless he specifies the other.
9 is very secure to viruses so I don't think that that is a concern.
Thanks for the information, Carl & Cornelius. I'm feeling a little dense here, I'm afraid. Let me try to lay out what I know.
1) I cannot choose which OS to boot into at startup. My machine does not do option-boot (too old). It will just boot into whatever OS it was in at shutdown. Is there any way to allow the user to choose which OS to start in _at startup?_
2) If the machine is already powered on in Panther, to re-boot in 9 the user must go to system prefs, choose startup disk, and ask to reboot in OS 9. But before that happens the user must click the unlock icon and fill in the admin name and password. There's no way around that? Such as making the unlock icon default to unlocked?
3) If the machine is already powered on in OS 9, then the user just goes to the change startup disk control panel (or whatever it's called) and switches to Panther, no problems.
What am I missing? It's #2 that I am especially interested in. If I give my son the admin name and password so he can re-boot in OS 9, then he can also just go in as admin anytime in Panther and do whatever, which is what makes me nervous. Not that I don't trust him, I just worry about ignorance not being bliss.
Sorry for my opacity, and thanks again in advance!
Although I haven't tried it on my iBook, if OS 9 is installed on a seperate partition or hard drive, you should be able to force-boot to OS 9 by holding the D key during the boot process (much like holding the X key forces the computer to boot into OS X).
If that doesn't work on your computer, the other option is to open your System Preferences in OS X, go to the Security pane, and uncheck "Require password to unlock each secure system preference". This option will be in the lower half of the panel.
Hope this clears the fog a little.
A third party keyboard can cause problems on openfirmware booting (c, option, d, x, keys at boot).
I too have an old blue and white that will boot from a cd but will not option boot, x boot, or some other open firmware commands and yes, I have updated the firmware.
If #2 is your issue then tell me if when you are in X and go to the start up disk, is the lock there locked or unlocked?
I suspect that it is locked which is why it is asking for the password. If you unlock it then the password will not be required and you need not give it to your son.
As Carl noted in his last post the third party keyboard can be an issue here.
Holding down the Option, Command, Shift, and Delete keys at startup, on some Macs, will cause the computer to look for a startup disk other than the default one set. However, I don't know if this will work with you third party keyboard.
I can boot from CD by holding down the C key at startup, for whatever that's worth. But as far as the whole password-to-boot-in-9 thing goes, the lock icon is locked when I go to that pane in system prefs (unless, of course, I'm already logged in as admin), which is why I need to enter the admin's name and password. If I leave it unlocked, it resets back to locked the next time I go in.
Again, my thanks for all input so far and to come! Bill
So what you are saying is that when you are logged in as the administrator and make a change to the preferences on the Startup Disk control panel it does not hold. Every time you want to make a change to the startup disk you have to authenticate as if you were just another user.
Is this correct?
If so, there seems to be something wrong with the way your administration account is being handled.
Not exactly. If I am logged in as administrator I can change the startup disk without authentication; I can also change limitations for all users, but they were already set to "no limitations." If I am logged in as myself (since I really don't use the admin account for much of anything other than downloads and maintenance) or if my wife or son is logged in, nobody can change the startup disk unless they enter the admin's name and password.