Leopard and Vista - More alike than you might think

Summary:When Vista was released the chorus of complaints and criticisms quickly grew from a low hum to a near deafening roar. A little more than a week since Apple released Leopard and that low hum of discontent has already been amplified to the point where it's starting to hurt my ears.

When Vista was released the chorus of complaints and criticisms quickly grew from a low hum to a near deafening roar. A little more than a week since Apple released Leopard and that low hum of discontent has already been amplified to the point where it's starting to hurt my ears.

Within weeks of Microsoft unleashing Vista on the buying public the issues facing those making the switch from XP to Vista were clear and you could sum them up in a few bullet points:

  • UAC too intrusive
  • Too many bugs
  • System slow-downs
  • Too many compatibility casualties
  • Glitchy interface
  • Baked-in vulnerabilities
  • Install buggy and prone to crashing
  • Systems that were rock-solid under the XP now falling over regularly

Now that Leopard has been in the hands of users for a little under ten days and you can draw up a similar list for Apple's latest OS:

  • Too many bugs
  • System slow-downs
  • Too many compatibility casualties
  • Glitchy interface
  • Baked-in vulnerabilities
  • Install buggy and prone to crashing
  • Systems that were rock-solid under the Tiger now falling over regularly

Dave Winer does a good job of summarizing the problems affecting Leopard:

I've given Leopard a chance, but it's pretty clear, this is not a good operating system release.

I've been out of the Mac loop for most of the last decade, just got back in a bit over 2 years ago. I don't know if early OS releases are generally as crappy as this one, but I wasn't prepared for where we're at now. If I had known, I would have waited, instead of upgrading most of my Macs to the new system.

In fact, Winer also goes on to compare Windows to Mac OS X:

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). The user interface is quirky. The new networking interface is a big step backward. The firewall moved and lost features! That's simply never done, you don't charge customers to remove features, esp security features. I think Apple doesn't understand how many people depend seriously on their Macs.

I'm guessing that the root cause for these problems echoes Vista too - a rush to get the OS out of the door. It makes me sad to say it but we as consumers are now having to put up with buying far too many flawed products because companies are rushing to get products out to market and leaving us (the poor saps stuck with the defective product) to road test it properly, I'll bet that the road to fixes for these problems will be as long and rocky as the one for Vista. Something else that the two operating systems will have in common.

Leopard's not generating good press for Apple at the moment (actually, when you stop and thing about it for a moment, not much is generating good press for Apple lately) and it might help is affected users were given a timetable of when to expect robust fixes to come down the tubes.

The strange thing is that I'm quite happy with my Mac and Leopard. I'm guessing that this is because I'm still near the bottom of the Mac OS X learning curve and not pushing the OS too hard.

Thoughts?

[Updated: Nov 06, 2007 @ 11.45 pm - Paul Thurrott seems to have become a little emotional over the fact that I said that Vista was rushed out of the door:

"I'm sorry. But that is the most ignorant thing I've read in a long time. (Mostly because I don't read Mac fanatic blogs anymore.) And as noted above, it's demonstrably false. Microsoft repeatedly delayed Vista in order to ensure that it was as good as possible. Repeatedly. And these delays were widely denounced in the press, and of course in the blogosphere. How anyone could claim that Vista was "rushed out the door" after five years of near-constant delays is beyond me. It's absolutely untrue."

Of course, Mr Thurrott is entitled to his own opinion, but that's a pretty ridiculous statement. The fact that a product takes five years to develop doesn't mean that it can't be rushed out of the door at the end of the cycle, in fact, a rush is all the more likely. If not, how does he account for the fact that bugs that were reported to Microsoft during the beta cycle weren't fixed in the final release (and how bugs that were fixed suddenly reappeared in the RTM release). Were these bugs there "by design?" No, there just wasn't time to fix everything. The pressure to get the product out the door outweighed the incentive to get everything right. The fact that Vista took five years to brew was a big part of the problem - yes, the press (and more importantly, investors) were getting tired of the delays and there wasn't any more wriggle room left.

And really, pulling that "Microsoft repeatedly delayed Vista in order to ensure that it was as good as possible" really doesn't cut it with me given the volume of bugs uncovered.

And while we're on the subject of ridiculous comments, here's a twofer for you:

"That there have been lots of complaints about Vista, of course, is also obvious. But then most of the people complaining make a living complaining, so it's kind of hard to draw any conclusions about that, given that Vista is the most compatible and successful release in the history of Windows."

I'm not sure what circles Thurrott revolves in, but in the circles in which I work, most of the people I've come across who are complaining about Vista are people trying to get some work done using it and not being able to because something gets in their way.]

Topics: Software, Apple, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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