October 2007
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Day October 28, 2007

First Reactions to Leopard

I’ve been using OS X 10.5 (Leopard) for a couple of days now, and here’s a couple of reactions. On the positive side, I love the new Mail.app and how it ties into iCal with to-do items. Auto-recognition of addresses, phone numbers and contact info is brilliant. And of course I like Spaces, though since I’ve been using third-party versions for years on both Mac and Windows, and have always had multiple desktops in my Unix window managers, it’s not a big leap to have it built-in.

I haven’t set up Time Machine yet because I need to devote a whole external disk to it, but if it works well I’ll be switching from SuperDuper! to the built-in backup very soon.

Stacks and the new Finder bits are nice organizational tools and fine eye candy, which I’m sure will be second nature soon but I haven’t done much with them as yet.

On the whole I like it. But I have some negative points as well, that point to this release not quite being as fully baked as it should be given the hype.

First, the upgrade wiped out all my printer settings. No printers at all. I cannot imagine why this would be an intentional “feature” — the name, IP address or ports, and driver name for my printers isn’t exactly core to the operating system, so why did Apple decide they needed to be wiped out? And it’s not a ten-second fix here — I have printers at home and at work, at my place in Seattle, so setting all of them up and testing involves being in three different buildings and finding half a dozen sets of drivers (assuming Leopard doesn’t have them already).

Second, there’s some performance issues here. I’m not talking about the sluggishness while Spotlight rebuilt the index from scratch — that’s expected. I’m talking about a generally higher use of CPU all around, probably given all the QuickLook stuff going on anytime I’m in the Finder. Though I don’t really know the source.

Third, Apple needed to run the QA cycle a bit longer. I’ve had to Force Quit a bunch of apps quite a bit — and at least half were Apple’s own apps. System Preferences has spun off into the vortex a couple of times, as has Activity Monitor. C’mon guys — I know I have a lot of software on this machine, and sure, I’m used to Parallels with Vista vortexing occasionally, but I’m killing off hung apps quite a bit for a well-polished major OS release. The goal here is for you to be better than the average Microsoft Windows release, not emulate it.

So that’s where things stand. We’ll see if they improve. Time Machine and Mail.app might be worth the irritations mentioned above. I hope so. And I hope there’s some software updates to fix some of the other bits fairly soon. Because at the end of the day, Time Machine and Mail.app are just apps — the notion that I had to upgrade the OS itself for such functionality is a bit suspect, unless Leopard gives me better stability and performance in the long run.