LONDON, England Apple Computer Inc. has issued a statement in an attempt to clear up problems that have dogged early adopters of the MacOS 10.3 operating system, otherwise known as Panther.
Apple has acknowledged that there can be data loss on external FireWire 800 drives connected to Apple computers running Panther, but it cites a chipset from U.K. fabless chip company Oxford Semiconductor Ltd. as the source of the problem.
In a special message posted on its website Apple said: "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."
What Apple calls a chip-set Oxford Semiconductor describes as a programmable bridge chip, saying it combines an 800-Mbit/s 1394B Link layer and 'Phy' controller with a 480-Mbit/s USB 2.0 physical interface. The chip is programmable by way of an ARM7TDMI core that allows data flow control through the OXUF922 to be developed in a 'C' programming environment, according to Oxford Semiconductor.
The OXUF922 was introduced in May 2002 and was itself based on the OXFW911 1394-to-ATA bridge chip introduced in December 2000.
Until Apple, Oxford Semiconductor and the disk drive manufacturers have sorted the problem out Apple recommends that Panther users stop using Firewire 800 drives and check its special message web page for further updates.