One thing I personally dread doing is reinstalling the operating system on computers. Mainly because it is so painful to do, particularly in the case of Microsoft Windows. But I am also finding this Mac iBook I have a little painful as well.
First, let's talk about Windows. If you're lucky, you have an XP SP2 disk already and you can do that. Then you have to load in all the hotfixes, which likely requires multiple reboots. Then you have to load all the software, which also will require multiple reboots. By the time you're done, you've wasted 3 or 4 days of your life getting back to where you started–if you're lucky.
In my case, it was my corporate laptop managed by the company IT department that just started acting "wacky" enough that I felt it needed to be reinstalled. Windows gets like that after a while. Unfortunately, there is about 700 miles between me and the corporate office, so I have to send the machine back, wait for them to get around to reimage it, and then send it back to me. Past experience suggests that will take a week or more. Good thing I took a local backup of my data before I packed it up.
Now onto the subject of the iBook. There wasn't anything particularly wrong with this iBook I got from work, but it has changed hands a few times. It has a particularly small hard drive in it, so I felt it would be a good idea to wipe the hard drive and start over to optimize the amount of available space on it. It had Panther on it, and I figured I didn't need what was in Tiger on this 500 Mhz G3 machine–this iBook also doesn't have a DVD drive in it anyway, so I wiped the hard drive and began the installation process with Panther. I deselected some packages and added X11 and off it slowly chugged.
The installation failed partway though the process. I rebooted the system anyway and it appeared to come up okay anyway. However, I wanted to make sure I had the packages I had selected. Since it failed part-way on Disk 1, I assumed not everything was loaded. Unfortunately, there wasn't an easy way (that I saw) to load the missing packages.
I did the install again, this time with the installation log showing. It looks like it failed in Asian font support. Okay, I guess I can do without that too. Off the install chugs again, and it still fails. Some Googling suggests that others have experienced this problem and there doesn't seem to be a suggested way to "resolve" this problem.
Meanwhile, I think I can get around this problem by using Pacifist. Since this process takes a while, I have no idea if it will, but we shall see.