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Summary:

Being a long-time Mac user (MS Word on a Mac Plus still beats anything today in terms of writing flow and productivity) and someone who usually dives in head-first on new technologies, I was faced with an agonizing decision on October 26: to install, or not […]

Being a long-time Mac user (MS Word on a Mac Plus still beats anything today in terms of writing flow and productivity) and someone who usually dives in head-first on new technologies, I was faced with an agonizing decision on October 26: to install, or not to install Mac OS X 10.5 on my primary production system. As a registered Apple developer, I plunged head-first into the early Leopard releases on my secondary machines (or at least tried to – it didn’t work at all for quite some time on my PowerBook), griping all the way about how the Finder was still the same, clunky beast and how Apple should have done this-or-that differently. Unfortunately, the work that pays the bills picked up and I had to leave Leopard behind just before summer got underway, confident in the knowledge that there would be a polished, shiny new toy to play with in the fall.

Thankfully, Jobs did not disappoint and I joined in with the throng of other folks who increased Apple sales by a quarter of a million dollars in just two days. When the shipment came, I opened it up, removed the disk from the packaging and did something that even surprised myself – I put it back in the box, making a conscious decision to wait until Apple added a dot and released 10.5.1. I suspect that I’m not the only one who is holding off, and the reports I’ve been seeing seem to indicate that delay may have been prudent (at least in my case).

I rely heavily on my MacBook Pro Core2 Duo (4GB/160GB) for both work and personal computing. My work VM (Vista+Office 2007) has to be 100% functional and the various bits of software and hardware that support my personal mobility and productivity all need to function with a minimum of interruption. During the week leading up until the official release, I kept reading vendor reports that they had to wait to test their wares on the final release version and then kept seeing reports during the first week after from some of my favourite tools that they were just adding compatibility. Not to mention Brandon’s post.

As if third-party software qualms weren’t enough of an issue, along came the security reviews. I’m an IT security professional by trade and was looking forward to the promised enhancements that would really put OS X even further on the security map (and ahead of Vista, which did include many real security enhancements). Sadly, the independent analyses showed what I suspected: Apple rushed out this release. The fact that we’re now seeing evidence of 10.5.1 seeding (which I’m not at liberty to confirm or deny given the legal verbiage tossed at us Apple Developers) seems to prove that conclusion.

I tried convincing my wife and daughter to let me install it on their systems (we buy family packs of all Apple s/w) and they both asked me why they should upgrade. This was the first time I did not have an answer.

So, I will take the plunge this weekend and put it on a dev box (MB Pro Core Duo) to see just the state of this latest predatory cat for myself. I’ll be paying very close attention to how some of the open source security tools I use compile and work and also what needs to be done to make the firewall as secure as possible. Hopefully, my core apps will all work so I can feel a bit more confident about moving to 10.5.1 when it’s released in a few weeks.

  1. “Waiting to change ‘it’s’ spots”??? ARRRRRGGHH!!

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  2. Yeah, I too am waiting for 10.5.1
    It’s oh so tempting though x_X

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  3. Waiting for TAB to implement a spell checker. ;)

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  4. Wow my experience has been quite the opposite. I couldn’t imagine what I did before Leopard. I personally have four macs and I’ve also installed it on my immediate family’s macs.

    There have been zero problems and everything is running great. The incredible speed boost of the OS is worth the upgrade on it’s own let alone Time Machine and how much quick look has improved my workflow speed.

    My family have been amazed at how much better Leopard is and certainly I don’t need to “think of a reason” to install it for them. Like I said previously, the speed boost alone has made a huge difference on their machines.

    I definitely recommend a Leopard upgrade to anyone. Sure there’s a couple minor issues that will be ironed out in the next update but for 99% of people those aren’t deal breaker issues and the current release will blow you away.

    E.

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  5. Christian Kaas Monday, November 12, 2007

    I was in the same situation like you and did the opposite!
    Leopard is now running on all of my families macs.
    I had trouble with installing it on my iMac 17″ though.
    But the machine was backup up, so i did a clean install there and restored the users from the backup.
    there are some glitches i came across:
    – parental controls killed my admin accounts dashboard (but could fix this with some trickying)
    – parallels needed an update to build 5540 (but runs now fine for me)
    – some “special” hardware behaves a little bit different (some USB smart card reader)
    – firewall behaviour is fine for me – little snitch is doing the rest

    Otherwise here are the benefits:
    – Spotlight is much faster
    – OS seems “snappier”
    – Quickview is GREAT, so is Finder coverflow, when you have to work with folders full of docs or screenshots
    – TIME MACHINE makes me sleep wonderfull (even though i always synced my 2 machines MBP and iMac with chronosync and do so)
    – new Mail with embedded IMAP Idle – this alone is a “bringer” for me
    – Dock & Preference syncing via .mac
    – SPACES anyone!?

    So far i don’t have to regret my decision.
    In contrast to you i already know my key applications work! ;-)
    You still have all the migration work to do… :-))

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  6. Parallels coherence mode + spaces will change the way you work.

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  7. I agree with Entica:

    I’ve had a flawless experience with Leopard so far (admittedly I did a clean install, but I always do that with a new OS). I always find it funny that everyone pines for a dot release of an OS assuming that Apple basically released a Beta OS when 10.5 came out. I realize there were problems like this when 10.0 first came out that basically necessitated the dot releases before any sane person would consider installing, but we are on 10.5 now folks.

    I understand that people’s mileage will vary, but all of the crowing about edge case weirdness with Leopard won’t affect 80% of the people that will use it. Yet stories like this, with headlines like this would imply that there is something seriously wrong with 10.5 and you shouldn’t consider it until 10.5.1–which is hooey.

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  8. I joined in with the throng of other folks who increased Apple sales by a quarter of a million dollars in just two days

    I think you mean quarter of a billion dollars …

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  9. Hello,
    I have not taken the plunge, just testing out on external Firewire HD (on a clone via archive&install) because too many small important (software-)pieces are still missing. Nevertheless, you mentioning the firewall issues make me aware that I really donot knwo how to deal with them: set up a secondary ipfw-firewall (via Waterhouse) in addition to Apples new one? What rooles to give it – I am NOT a developer or computer-geek at all? Could you give zi some thought and provide simple folks like me with tutorial or guide on this?

    Thanks a bunch,

    Rolf

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  10. Eric Ellenberg Monday, November 12, 2007

    I’m waiting on 10.5.1 for a couple reasons. First, because I don’t want to deal with #.0 bugs. They are there, they are real, and there’s no reason to upgrade into them unless you just really enjoy being the first on your block to see the new shiny. Not to say there’s anything wrong with buying something new, it’s just that –> Secondly, and more importantly, I need all my apps to work when I upgrade. I do a/v editing and processing, and I’m keeping a close eye on the developer’s blogs and/or release notes for those magic words, “Leopard compatibility.” Waiting on 10.5.1 also gives Apple time to fix bugs in the OS which affect these applications, so even the problems that some of your apps may have had with the retail release will be (potentially) resolved with the dot release.

    An avid reader,
    Eric

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