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Buggy 802.1X in Leopard
Goodness me but Leopard contains some nasty bugs. I spent much of the last few days watching Safari crash and today I spent an hour trying to get a teacher's Mac to log in to our 802.1X network. In the olden days connecting to 802.1X secured networks was relatively simple* using Internet Connect.app but Apple has removed that from leopard. Now you have to do all your configuring in the Network preferences and to say the airport section is buggy is an understatement. Deleted settings may re-appear at any time, selections, passwords and even user-names are often forgotten as soon as you OK a dialog, to top it all off the whole interface is confusing as hell. Even if you are able to find some miracle cure to get 802.1X working, the chances of rediscovering the steps needed are close to zero. The chances of these settings persisting through a restart also appear to be minimal.

I'm not the only one to have this problem of course as a rather large threat on Apple's discussion boards points out. Luckily, if you wade through that lengthy post, you'll find stories of people who had success with reinstalling Internet Connect.app from 10.4. Once you've done that all will be well and you can easily connect to your secured networks again. Probably. It worked for us and many other colleges but your mileage may vary.

What bugs me most though is the fact that this was apparently not tested at all. As evidenced by the huge number of educational institutions listed in the Apple thread many many colleges and campuses use 802.1X authentication. Not testing this is simply inexcusable and the person who redid the Network preferences pane should be escorted out of 1 Infinite Loop by security.
10.5.1 is rumored to be near release and offers some undisclosed fixes to 802.1X, I have to wonder how the heck they're going to clean up the interface such that it will be easy for us to give our students and faculty an easy 4 step process to set up their laptops, without having to send them to a market in order to purchase a goat, one, for the purpose of sacrifice, ritual.

[Update 14-11-2007:]
*) On rereading this I realize I should probably qualify this: setting up 802.1X usually takes about 2 minutes, which isn't horribly much if you compare this to the 10 minutes+ and installation of weird clients for Windows XP. Half a minute is usually wasted because the person I'm setting it up for types the wrong password the first time around, 80% of people do this. I have no clue why this is, but it's good for a laugh when I tell people beforehand they will likely make a mistake :-).


{Update 16-11-2007:]
OS X 10.5.1 has been released. One initial report suggests that 802.1X has not been fixed.

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