Letting the cat nap some more

I never planned to upgrade to OS X 10.5 (Leopard) this weekend. Eric is out of town, and I have too much going on.

I was thinking about swinging by the Marlton, NJ Apple Store early next week and picking it up. I changed my mind. I’m going to sit this one out for a while.

Why? Some thoughts:

  • As with any major OS upgrade, there are bugs and gotchas. For this one, there are a bunch of reports of Blue Screens of Death. Unlike the Windows version of the dreaded problem, it’s literally just a blue screen after startup. The login window never loads. Chances are I won’t have that problem, but if I do I can’t afford the downtime in troubleshooting. Let’s wait until folks definitively target what’s causing the problem first.
  • If it ain’t broke…my MBP has been quite stable lately. After I repaired permissions from the Tiger install DVD, I haven’t had anything to complain about. I’d like to keep it that way for a while.
  • I just got a Sprint EV-DO USB modem. It works great. Does it work with Leopard? I have no idea and I’m not holding my breath for Sprint or Sierra to say anything on the subject. Let someone else find out first.
  • While Adobe was nice enough to put out a PDF regarding Leopard support in their products, they didn’t go into detail as to why Acrobat 8 Professional requires a patch:

    Requires update to 8.1.2 for full compatibility. Expected to be available in English, French, German, and Japanese in late January 2008.
    Additional languages expected shortly thereafter.

    What does “full compatibility” mean? Is it some obscure feature or something mission-critical that doesn’t work? Let someone else find out first.

  • There are over 300 new features in Leopard, and that’s great. But are there any that will make a tremendous difference in how I work? No, not so much. I already backup my drive religiously so Time Machine is not that tempting. An operating system is just the foundation. The magic comes in the applications. With Tiger, I waited until enough truly useful tools were coming out that required 10.4 to make the upgrade hassle worth my while. CoverFlow in the Finder, while fabulous, is not reason enough. And can I say it? I don’t love the Stacks feature in the Finder. One of the first things I’ll be doing when I eventually upgrade will be switching the grid view to be the default.
  • Leopard’s best features are the ones that require your family/colleagues to also be running Leopard. The kids’ Mac Mini is 2.5 years old and Eric’s MacBook is 2 years old. They’ll run Leopard, but not great. So that rules out a lot of the sharing and parental control features that are improved over Tiger.
  • I have a 120 GB drive. At one point recently, I had only 8 or 9 GB free. After careful pruning, I managed to get up to 21 GB free. More than enough for Leopard, however I’m constantly pushing older files off to external drives to get more breathing room. I’ve read reports that Leopard grabs ~3 GB of space more than Tiger did when all is said and done. Do I want to give up that space without a really clear reason other than it being the “new shiny?”
  • The final nail in the coffin? I won’t be able to sync my Blackberry using MissingSync until a patch is released.

    Q: Is Missing Sync compatible with Leopard?

    A: Not yet. We’ve been testing on pre-release versions of Leopard and have determined that updates will be required for Leopard compatibility. We are well underway in making the required changes to support Leopard and expect to post free updates to the most current versions of The Missing Sync for Palm OS™, The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile™, The Missing Sync for Blackberry™ and The Missing Sync for PSP within 90 days of Leopard’s commercial release.* We recommend that The Missing Sync not be used with Leopard, pending the official release of these planned updates.

    I only sync contacts and notes with the Blackberry, but still, it would be a huge hassle to have to maintain my address book on the Blackberry separately.

Finally…I’d like to ask a favor of my fellow bloggers…STOP COMPARING LEOPARD TO VISTA AS A LEOPARD SELLING POINT. That means you, too, Apple. It’s like trying to convince someone to move to New York City because the bagels are better. Yes, that may be true. But there are one or two other factors that go into a decision to pack up your entire life and move to a new city.

I’ve switched. Both ways. It isn’t easy and it shouldn’t be done simply because there’s a new bell or whistle that caught your eye. Anyone who runs out to buy a Mac instead of a Windows PC just because Time Machine seems like a nifty way to backup is going to be sorry in the long run. You have to think about your current licenses, including fonts and utilities. You have to think about your peripherals. You have to think about your colleagues and work processes. There are many, many good reasons to switch to a Macintosh-based workflow over a Windows-based one (or visa versa!). The fact that Apple just came out with an operating system upgrade isn’t one of them.


3 responses to “Letting the cat nap some more”

  1. I too won’t be upgrading to Leopard until all my favorite and most important applications are patched. I waited a long time to finally switch to Intel so I can wait just as long to upgrade to Leopard if I have to.

  2. Judi,

    1) Your EVDO Sprint modem will work fine. I have verified the USB 720, the Verizon 620 and the AT&T 875U and they all work fine.

    2) The issues with both Gizmo Project and SightSpeed have been resolved in a matter of hours by both companies. Hats off to their teams of Extreme Programmers.

    All the best,

    Andy Abramson

  3. […] It’s been about 7 months since Mac OS X 10.5 was released. More than enough time for all the apps I use to update to Leopard-happy versions. More than enough time for Apple to fix the big bugs. And more than enough time for the early adopters to document everything that could possibly go wrong for those of us who decided to sit back and wait a while. […]