Sunday, 16 December 2007

Leopard Cannot Change It's Spots

WARNING: Apple fanboys, look away now.

What is it with OS upgrades recently? Vista. Don't make me laugh! Ubuntu Gusty seemed to cause me more problems than it solved. And to make matters worse, I upgraded my Intel Mac Mini from OS X Tiger to Leopard a couple of weeks ago.

That's the first and only time I'll pay for an Apple OS "upgrade". There is simply nothing in Leopard worth having. Here's a quick look at some of the features that would have been useful, had Apple taken time to design and implement them properly:

  1. Spaces. Aka, virtual desktops. These are an absolutely must for me. They're just something that you get used to and then wonder how you ever did without. For example, I might have a browser full screen on desktop 1, email full screen on desktop 2, Eclipse ful screen on desktop 3, etc. Linux desktops have had these available for years, yet Leopard still manage to produce a half baked version. In Leopard, I either have to click a toobar icon and select a workspace number or launch spaces from a dock icon and select one. Both of those require at least two actions on my part. Compare this to KDE (or GNOME) where one click takes me to exactly the application and/or desktop I want. In Linux, I can right-click any window or toolbar icon and move the application to another desktop. The point here is that Spaces are just not very usable in Leopard, compared to their Linux counterparts.
  2. Stacks. What a mess in Leopard! These are supposed to make navigating folders easier. What is the point in having the dock icon change, depending on the first item in the folder? That just serves to confuse the user. Again, KDE has had this idea implemented for years and they did it much better. If you're going to copy existing ideas, at least improve upon them.
  3. 3D Dock. How anyone at Apple thought this was an improvement on the previous version, I'll never know. It's just too difficult to see the icon that shows whether an application is running or not. I ended up moving the dock to the left hand side of the desktop, just to make it usable.
I could go on and on. Some people have noticed significant performance improvements, I haven't. The "upgrade" lost my printer details and I had to reconfigure it again. The xserver still has the yellow cursor bug. However, applying that fix to Leopard totally hoses the xserver. I had to revert to the xserver that was shipped with Tiger to solve it. My keyboard has never been detected correctly by any version of OS X, ad infinitum.

All in all, Leopard has been one big disappointment and I didn't even suffer any of the more troublesome upgrade woes. I find it ironic that Steve Jobs has spent the last few years slagging off Vista, yet it took Apple two years to come up with Leopard.


Anonymous said...

The usual reason for people to upgrade their Mac OS is usually because Apple stops providing updates for the older version and/or fixes bug features only in the new one.

Case in point is Java, the only place it comes from for the Mac is Apple (check the Sun site and you will see the link back to Apple), the latest version is usually only available for the the latest OS. Period. Another has been SMB support somewhat broken in 10.2 and much improved in 10.3, there are a lot of these minor annoyances that get settled in the next OS, though there is always more fixes to be made (in a future OS).

Yeah it's lame. Then again if you have a choice between Windows and Mac only Mac still is the choice to go - you aren't battling major security flaws where just running the machines puts you at risk.

Rory Curtis said...

Thanks for the comment. I don't have an issue with Apple *fixing* issues in newer releases. However, some of the things I was describing were *regressions*.

For example, I still can't use my printer wirelessly. It worked fine in Tiger but still doesn't work in Leopard. It's a HP 3310 and neither HP nor Apple seem to be doing anything.

Windows is not an option :-) It's either Linux or Mac. Both are miles ahead of anything MS can offer.