I have two applications in my Applications/Utilities folder that look exactly the same except for the icon. One is ODBC Manager, the other is ODBC Administrator.

Does anyone know what the difference between these two is?


ODBC Administrator was shipped with Mac OS X until 10.6 Snow Leopard, when it be came a separate download from the Apple support site.

ODBC Manager is an independently developed application that is functionally equivalent to the Apple ODBC Administrator. It is installed with the Actual ODBC Pack drivers from Actual Technologies (and potentially other 3rd party ODBC drivers).

If you are using 10.5 Leopard or earlier, or if you have installed Apple's Administrator from the support site, then you may have both administrators. You can use either one - Manager is intended to be equivalent (with some of Apple's bugs fixed).

Jonathan Monroe, Actual Technologies

  • That makes sense, since I bought your excellent ODBC Open Source Driver pack. Thanks for the answer! – John Gallagher Feb 12 '10 at 13:50

In hopes of minimizing potential future confusion...

The comments from Jonathan Monroe (user25643) are generally correct, but incomplete.

You may additionally encounter the OpenLink ODBC Administrator.app (/Applications/Utilities/), also and originally known as the iODBC Administrator.app (/Applications/iODBC/), which was the original ODBC administrator on Mac OS X (starting with Cheetah, 10.0.x) and has been updated for all OS X through El Capitan (10.11.x), before Apple produced their own ODBC Administrator.app (/Applications/Utilities/) which they included in OS X Jaguar (10.2.x) through Snow Leopard (10.6.x).

The OpenLink ODBC Administrator.app is shipped as part of the iODBC SDK for Mac OS X and with all drivers from OpenLink Software (my employer), who maintains and supports the iODBC Project itself. Other driver vendors may also include this administrator and/or SDK in their installers.

All of these administrators are linked to the same iODBC libraries ("dylibs") and/or Frameworks, and all settings should wind up in the same files (/Library/ODBC/odbc.ini, /Library/ODBC/odbcinst.ini, ~/Library/ODBC/odbc.ini, ~/Library/ODBC/odbcinst.ini).

Due to some bugs in older versions of iODBC and in various third-party installers, some other configuration files (most commonly and problematically, ~/.odbc.ini and ~/.odbcinst.ini; others include /etc/odbc.ini, /etc/odbcinst.ini, /etc/.odbc.ini, /etc/.odbcinst.ini) may exist on your Mac, and these may cause some trouble with various applications (e.g., System DSNs may not save at all, or may erroneously be seen in the User DSNs tab).

Recent versions of iODBC, 3.5.10 and later, will fix these issues automatically. If you encounter such issues and cannot update to 3.5.10 or later, the fix is to blend the content of these alternatively located files into the default files (in ~/Library/ODBC/ for user-level config, or in /Library/ODBC/ for system-level config), and replace each with a symlink to the appropriate default files (or simply remove the errant files and adjust any application configuration to target the default locations).

OpenLink's Technical Support team can also assist with this cleanup, if needed. There is no cost for such assistance, if pursued through the web-based Case System.

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