Apple has released its first update to its Mac OS X 10.3 Panther operating system to enhance functionality and address reliability in certain technologies. Mac OS X v10.3.1 (measuring a mere 1.3MB in size) is available for download through the Software Update System Preferences pane. At present it does not appear on Apple’s Web site download pages.

"The 10.3.1 Update delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability for the following applications, services and technologies: FileVault, Printing, WebDav, and FireWire 800 drives. This update also includes the latest Security Updates," said Apple.

In this release, Apple also refers to a previously identified issue regarding FireWire 800 hard drives that use Oxford Semiconductor's Oxford 922 bridge chipset version 1.02 that can result in a loss of data.

"Even with the improvements available in this update, Apple recommends you update the firmware on your FireWire drive. Please contact your drive manufacturer for more information," said Apple.

Special FireWire 800 statement Apple's Web site also contains a Special Message for FireWire 800 users with links to individual FireWire 800 storage system manufacturers' Web sites.

The statement reads:
“Apple has identified an issue with external FireWire hard drives using the Oxford 922 bridge chip-set with firmware version 1.02 that can result in the loss of data stored on the disk drive. Apple is working with Oxford Semiconductor and affected drive manufacturers to resolve this issue, which resides in the Oxford 922 chip-set.

In the interim, Apple recommends that you do not use these drives. To stop using the drive, you should unmount or eject the disk drive before doing anything else. Please check this Web page for further updates.”

In an update, Apple states:
“Apple and Oxford Semiconductor have confirmed that firmware version 1.05 resolves the data loss issue experienced by some FW800 users. FireWire disk drive manufacturers have begun posting firmware updates:

Century Global; Ezquest; Firewire Depot; Firewire Direct; Glyph; Lacie; Macpower; Other World Computing; TransIntl; Wiebetech.

Only use the updater provided by the maker of your drive, and follow the installation instructions carefully. If your drive manufacturer is not listed, contact them for more information.”