Boy I’m Happy I Haven’t Upgraded to Leopard Yet

I’m not happy with Leopard (Scripting News) Dave Winer is out with his thoughts on the latest “upgrade” to the new Mac OS Leopard.

From Dave: “Talking with a friend a few days ago, he asked what I thought of Leopard. He had installed the new version, like me, the first day it came out. “I’m not liking it,” I said. He said something that was simple, profound and revealing: “It’s like Windows.” It is. It’s that unpleasant to use. It disappears for long periods of time. Systems that didn’t used to crash now crash regularly. On one system three hard disks were rendered unusable, and I lost a couple of full days restoring them (luckily I had good backups).”

Wow, that does not sound good at all. I guess for me I’m just not sure what Leopard does for me beyond being the new latest and greatest. I mean, what problems does it solve for me that are not solved now. Like Dave I switched to the Mac because I hated Windows so much and hated all the constant errors I would get when I used Windows. My Mac experience thus far has been delightful. But my first impression of Leopard came when Kristopher Tate, our CTO and lead developer of Zooomr IM’d me when he found that Adobe’s Flash wasn’t compatible with Leopard (he blamed Adobe for this one). The result was that if you upgraded to Leopard you couldn’t upload photos to Zooomr anymore. I will tell you that uploading photos to Zooomr for me is 1000% more important than any tweak to the OS that Apple might through at me.

Subsequent reports that I’ve heard about Leopard have not been good. The experience by many is described as buggy and unreliable.

The thing about a Mac, the value of a Mac is contained in a single phrase: “It just works.” But if it *doesn’t* just work then the value of the Mac goes out the window. And it sounds like for a lot of people Leopard just *isn’t* working. I’m glad I waited for the upgrade.

Now for the truly creative person out there I’ll give you the killer video that you can make if you are unhappy with Leopard. I suck at video so I won’t be making this myself, plus I haven’t actually tried Leopard (I’m a scardy cat). But… if you want to make a cool video, you could remake the Mac vs. PC Apple videos but with Mac OSX as the Mac guy and the fat sick dude as Mac Leopard. There you go. Have fun with it and it’s not my fault if your video goes viral and Apple ends up suing you — even though parody ought to cover you there.

But seriously folks — why should I upgrade to Leopard? Is there any compelling reason beyond just trying the latest and newest gadgetry?

19 Replies to “Boy I’m Happy I Haven’t Upgraded to Leopard Yet”

  1. Spaces. For me, it’s worth the price of admission being able to tag specific spaces by functionality (web, design, etc.)

    While purely anecdotal, my experience with Leopard has been flawless aside from the initial issues (getting to know it, so to speak – same issues I had with 10.4 / 10.3, etc.)

  2. In their typical way, the echo chamber of Mac-fanatics is blowing this out of proportion. Install problems are few and far between, and while it’s not quite as rock-solid as Tiger, give it a month or two for a few bug-fixes and it’ll be there. There’s stuff you just can’t find without millions of consumers hammering on it.

  3. i’ve installed it on a macbook and an iMac erm c2d non aluminium and i’ve had no problems so far, odd bug here and there but overall it’s super speedy and uses less memory

  4. i agree. i bought my first (and so far only) mac not quite 2 yrs ago. A Macbook Pro. i LOVE it. it’s rock solid stable. i hated all the gliches and tweeky-ness of Windows. When i was asked by a fellow mac lover over the weekend if i’d gotten Leopard yet (he had but had not installed it yet), i replied, “i’m not sure why i need it, whenever i bought the latest and greatest Windows, it was in hopes to fix issues i had with it. but i have no issues i want fixed with OS X.”

  5. 10.5 has been rock-steady stable for me so far. I’ve been a fan of virtual desktops for a while and Spaces is one of the better implementations. Adobe has an updated flash plug-in on their website, so that shouldn’t be an issue. Its been seriously optimized for Intel Macs, so you should see big speed boosts all around. There are a lot of things that make 10.5 a worthy update, but its not really necessary yet. However, once you do update, you’ll wonder how you ever got by on 10.4.

  6. You can wait a while on the update but in a year or so there are going to be so many amazing applications that only run on Leopard that you will want to upgrade. Development on Leopard is a dream. If the application developers had their way everyone would have to upgrade to Leopard, and support for anything before Leopard would be dropped.

  7. I didn’t have the problems Dave seems to have had. I regressed to Tiger for other reasons. First, Leopard seems visibly darker than Tiger. It’s oppressive. Then there’s the fact that some of the software I use daily hasn’t been updated to work correctly in Leopard. That’s changing, of course, but it’s been a slow process.

    But honestly, the biggest problem I’ve had with Leopard overall is the negative reaction from the fanboys to people with legitimate complaints about Leopard’s useless glitz and glam. It doesn’t affect how I use the system, but it colours my perceptions.

    Even though I “downgraded”, I do like Leopard. I was astonished by how many applications worked correctly under Leopard. I was pleased by how much faster and responsive the UI is. The install process (an archive & install) went quickly and flawlessly. Bugs were few and far between. If it’s not quite ready for prime time, it’s certainly at a very late beta stage. But then, so was 10.4 when it first shipped, and today 10.4.10 is the best OS on the market. It will get better.

    I expect I’ll re-install after I see the whites of 10.5.1’s eyes, but not before.

  8. Surely the upload page on Zooomr should degrade gracefully if Flash isn’t available and present the user with a standard upload box?

    Flash should be used to augment the site, and shouldn’t be a requirement. In fact, the site should still be 100% usable with all stylesheets and javascript turned off.

  9. There are plenty reasons to upgrade (Time machine, Spaces, but also a lot of the smaller under the hood changes)
    However if you were doing fine with Tiger yesterday, you’ll do fine today.
    I upgraded my home laptop and it works without a hitch.
    I’m not upgrading my work machine until 10.5.1 or so as I depend too much on it.

    Every Mac OS X version is rough around the edges on release.
    These days there are just a lot more people watching, making the problems more obvious.

    Just upgrade in a few weeks/months if it feels safer

  10. Thomas,

    Leopard is a major architectural change. It is bound to break things. I am not having any major problems once I got through the install. It killed my computer. Dead! Needed to reformat and reinstall it clean. This would have been bad if I didn’t backup. Still a pain reloading all apps from scratch.

    Now that I am up and running with my MacBook Pro I wouldn’t go back. Sure there are little things here and there that bother me. As with previous updates that little things are worth dealing with to get the benefits of the new OS. With every update from apple and third parties the little things start to disappear and before you know it everything works again.

    PS I still haven’t updated my main computer yet I am not crazy. Anyone using their computer to make a living should wait a while.

    PSS Dave Winer would find a huge list of things to complain about after winning the lottery.

  11. I must say, I have upgraded both a G5 iMac and a new MacBook and could not be happier. I did, as I always do, an erase and install and then imported back in user settings. I have not had one issue.
    The things I love are Spaces, it needs a little tweaking but is awesome. I love how it automatically finds shared comptures, easy as pie, one click screen sharing.
    My only suggestion form what I have heard is not to Upgrade, do the Archive and Install or better yet a fresh istall. Most likely you have a lot of apps and stuff you have tried and dont need and this is a great time to get a fresh slate back


  12. I did the upgrade right away, but by accident actually. I really wanted to do a fresh install but I managed to miss that step while doing the set up. And I’ll have to agree that doing the “upgrade” definitely did seem to have issues. The moment the system booted up it felt very sluggish. Since I knew that wasn’t the upgrade path I wanted to take I went ahead and did the installation again, this time erasing my hard disk first.

    The experience was night and day. Leopard is faster and smoother on my Macbook Pro than Tiger ever was. There definitely were some things (software) that didn’t quite work (I had to recompile Apache to get other things working), or needed upgrading (just needed to get their respective upgrades) or needed tweaking but that is expected with an OS upgrade of this magnitude.

    I’m a software developer and my Mac is also my main machine. I took the plunge, took a few bruises but it was worth every moment.

    You could wait it out a few months for everyone to iron out their kinks. I would say the system is pretty stable right now. Spaces is great, as is the new finder with cover flow and quick look. Oh quick look, I can’t say enough about that. The new Finder takes a little getting used to but it has all kinds of little improvements that are really handy.

  13. I have heard a few things here and there, mostly beefs with the terminal, the firewall, and X11 stuff, but nothing disastrous.

    I’ve been using CodeTek VirtualDesktop for a few years now and it’s given me pretty much all the functionality of Spaces already, so Spaces is not such a tempting feature.

    TimeMachine is interesting for sure; my beef with it is that you can’t (apparently) back up from different sources to different volumes. It seems any of a number of volumes are backed to a single source. If you have more than one drive you need to buy a third that is at least as big as the sum of all the ones you currently have. I like backing up my internal to a separate bootable disk (SuperDuper), and my external (which I mirror anyway) to a 3rd source.

    I think it’s a step forward in backing up, certainly for the population at large but it doesn’t do anything for me.

    I’m waiting myself. My Mac is humming right along and I’m happy with it. If you want an intense review of the upgrade check out ArsTechnica:

    I’m not too enthused about some of the user interface changes Siracusa points out and criticizes in the article.

  14. Test it in your environment the way I tested it in mine…

    I cloned my boot disk to an external FireWire drive using SuperDuper! Then I booted from that drive and upgraded it. I tested this on both my MacPro and MacBook Pro.

    I found a few issues with sound which were quickly resolved (I upgraded SoundSource and moved my USB headset to another port… don’t leave it in while upgrading)

    I then ran a quick test on all of my apps. I found a few non-critical ones that didn’t work (i.e. Google Earth, Gimp) which will probably be updated soon.

    This gave me enough information to make me comfortable upgrading the actual machines themselves.

    Only time will tell how stable it actually is (no issues thus far).

  15. i have always upgraded my Mac OS with no problems. i remember reports of Panther giving people similar issues although at that time i didn’t experience any. this time my system just got hammered. the erase and install option worked the first time i tried it though. i didn’t lose any data, but i would have saved a lot of time if i had just done the clean install right away. i did have an interesting experience of installing 10.5 to an external drive after my first install had rendered my internal drive unusable for system boot. i copied all my data with the booted external drive and then noticed that there were some software updates available. i ran the software update utility and it hung . the updates were not very large so after letting it sit about 20 minutes i hard booted. bad idea! then i couldn’t boot from that one either. other than the install issues i haven’t noticed anything that seems abnormal. it seems like a nice OS. i’m definitely not a user that pushes the limits. i just edit photos!

    always back up your data before a major system upgrade though.

  16. I’ve upgraded one MacBook Pro and one iMac. Both beave very well. No crashes. Everything goes faster. Spotlight is insanely much faster. The way Leopard handles network drives etc. is better. Spaces are extremely useful.

    But hey. Dave Winer and his friend was disappointed. Go ahead and wait.

  17. Since the release of 10.5 I have upgraded 16 laptops and desktops and have installed Leopard Server on 3 machines. Each and every install was flawless and all have been running without a single glitch. Time Machine was probably the finest addition of any OS I have ever worked with starting all the way back to DOS 2.0. Apple once again chose the high road and refused to release the software until it passed all the benchmarks not unlike Microsoft whose philosophy is ‘Release it today, then start fixing the problems tomorrow’. If Leopard is a battleship, then Vista is the Exxon Valdez, spilling toxic debris into a pristine environment.

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