Out with the Logitech driver, in with USB Overdrive

I’ve had a little problem with my Logitech Control Center driver for a while now. I would get this little LCC Update icon appearing in my Dock every once in a while. It seemed as though the updater was trying to tell me something. I would click on the icon but nothing would appear. Going to the Logitech site would result in seeing the same version available for download that I already had on my machines. This was occurring on both my MacBook and Mac Pro so I was pretty sure it wasn’t hardware specific.

I also had a problem with TextMate, my favorite programmer’s editor. Every time I would try to use the "mate" terminal command it would generate an exception and not load TextMate. I could start TextMate from the Dock bar or through Spotlight or by clicking on the Textmate.app icon, but the symbolic link that TextMate created for me was not working. Since I’ve been playing with Ruby on Rails I’m spending a lot of time in a terminal window and access to this is very important.
I did a little research and found Steve Jamesson’s blog – he was experiencing the same problem I was. It turns out the Logitech Control Center was at fault! That was all I needed to hear – I ran the uninstall program for it, did a reboot and now the "mate" terminal command was working. Happy, happy, joy, joy.
Now my mouse is button "light"
Well, not quite happy, happy, joy, joy. Now my advanced Logitech Mx510 gaming mouse was turned into a simple device and OS X would not recognize my extra buttons. I love those buttons – I use them for browser navigation and to access Spaces. I needed something to make this work again.
From what I could see there are three aftermarket drivers that will allow you to map external devices – some not just mice but joysticks and other components as well. They are:
Each of these is sold as shareware. I decided to give USB Overdrive a try since that’s what Steve Jamesson got to work. It was quick and easy to set up and sure enough I regained the function of my extra mouse buttons. If it continues to look like a winner over the next couple of days I’ll be paying the $20 to get it – I think it’s really important to support these guys that produce shareware.
Some Advice for Logitech
Apparently a company as large as Logitech doesn’t have the resources to create proper drivers for their own devices – just read some of the comments over at Version Tracker – yet these little independent shops seem to be able to pull it off. If you are going to list that your driver supports the OS you should at least update the driver when you know it’s defective.
In the unlikely event that anyone at Logitech reads this here’s some advice: get someone in your business development group to talk to one of the three folks that make these little utilities. Work out a little license arrangement and make it available as your Mac OS X driver. The cost of the license to you would be minimal and the goodwill you would generate among the Mac community would be priceless.
UPDATE: I just noticed that many of my Growl notifications that were not working suddenly are working again.