Leopard and Vista - Has the photocopying gone too far?

Leopard and Vista - Has the photocopying gone too far?

Summary: Remember that "Redmond, start your photocopiers" jibe back when Tiger was released? Are Vista and Leopard all the proof we need that the photocopiers have been running flat out both at Redmond and Cupertino?


Remember that "Redmond, start your photocopiers" jibe back when Tiger was released?  Are Vista and Leopard all the proof we need that the photocopiers have been running flat out both at Redmond and Cupertino?

Leopard and Vista - Has the photocopying gone too far?Oliver Rist of PC Magazine wrote a piece called "Leopard is the New Vista, and It's Pissing Me Off" which looks at a number of similarities between the two operating systems.  But before looking at the similarities Rist offers up his assessment of the new platform:

I'm not sure what ticks me off more about Leoptard (I can't take credit for that nickname—some Brit coined it): the fact that so many of the semi-important changes don't work, the fact that Apple turned a stable OS into a crash-happy glitz fest, or that the annoying, scruffy Live Free or Die Hard actor infecting my TV (and our Web site, by the way) is pretending that Leopard is better than Vista. It's not better than Vista. Leopard is Vista. And Tiger is better than both of them!


A month of using Leopard with the same software I had under Tiger and the OS has dumped six times. That's six cold reboots for Oliver. Apple isn't even honest enough to admit that Leopard is crashing: The OS just grays out my desktop and pops up a dialog box telling me I've got to reboot. Like the whole thing is my fault.

I'm not sure that I'd complain if my PC fell over six times a month, but then again if an upgrade had taken the platform from not crashing into crashing more than once a week, that's something that I'd probably notice, and which would probably annoy me too.

Onto the similarities.

Wait for a Service Pack—Perpetually

This is an interesting one:

Even our own reviewer, who loves Leopard, says not to upgrade until 10.5.1. And now that Apple has coughed that up, he'll probably say to wait for 10.5.2. Or .3. Now where have I heard that advice before? Oh yeah, every time I reviewed Vista.

What makes it worse is this convoluted argument that my Apple friends give me: They're more upset at Microsoft on account of it being in perpetual service pack limbo because Vista was supposed to be a ground-up redesign, whereas Leopard is really just a juicy point release. That makes zero sense to me. As far as I'm concerned, they both suck.

My guess is that operating systems have become so complex that serious bugs will be inevitable in the x.0 release.  If you want any guarantees relating to compatibility or stability, wait and see what other suckers users have to say.

The other issue that's facing Apple is that the Mac ecosystem is growing.  One the population consisted of a bunch of elitists (some would say self-proclaimed elitists) who subscribed to the teachings of the Cult of Mac.  Now that core of devoted followers is being diluted by ... ugh ... consumers.  These people show little loyalty and just want things to work, and when they don't work, they complain. 

Also, as the Mac ecosystem grows it has to support more and more hardware and software.  The problems of scale (in the form of reduced compatibility and reliability) that have caused problems for Windows users for years are now causing problems for Mac users.  The OS is a victim of its own success.

Needless Graphics Glitz

Poof, here's Leopard, and the first thing the Apple folks want to show me is window transparency. Now all of a sudden that's the coolest thing ever and an obvious example of cutting-edge OS evolution. I had to check to make sure my ears were working when I heard that one.

Does all this interface glitz that Microsoft and Apple have crammed into their respective OSes make the OS any better of easier to use?  I have to be honest and say that I'm not all that convinced.  Sure, it looks cool but there's much more to usability than how something looks. 

The other issue is that while the interface is the bit that you see and interact with, any changes done to it can't really be considered to be improvements, because while some people will hail them the best thing in the history of best things, others will think that they suck and impact productivity.  When I look at the list of features that were dropped from Vista/Longhorn, I would have happily exchanged Aero for, say, WinFS.  The more we become focussed on the packaging, the more we lose sight of what's important.

Pointless User Interface "Fixes"

Who's responsible for Apple's redesigned dock? I could understand a programmer thinking a mirrored dock would look great on his résumé. But I can't imagine that a UI expert looked at it and said it was more functional than Tiger's. A stupid cornflower-blue fuzzball is no replacement for Tiger's clear, dark arrow that let me know what apps I had open. I could actually see the arrow. The blue fuzzy thing just blends in with the pointless mirrored reflections of the app icons, so now I've got to squint for the same information.

Again, it's style over function. 

Nuked Networking

Leopard's networking sees the physical part of the network just fine, wired or wireless. And if there's an AFP share, that pops up like a puppy for a doggie treat. But the Web abounds in complaints—plaintive cries as to why Leopard seems to ignore Windows shares, and semi-effectual fixes. Or it sees Windows shares for a little while and then in a fit of pique decides to drop them again. It's like the French waiter of networking. Oh, but who cares, Oliver? After all, it's not as if networking were in any way related to business functionality. Or that interacting peaceably with Windows is in any way required. As long as we can talk to the iPod and Apple TV we're good, right?

It seems to me that neither Apple nor Microsoft has done a good job of revamping the network stacks - I find that both Vista and Leopard are picky when it comes to seeing other systems.  For people who are trying to make these platforms work (as opposed to just playing with them) this is a real deal-breaker.  Networking is so critical to both home and enterprise users that to get it wrong, and so badly wrong, is simply incredulous.

Bundled Apps as New Features That Suck

Sidebar is a decent example of a New Feature That Sucks, but SideShow is a great example.


For Leopard, the sad bundled app-as-feature is Time Machine. To hear Mac moonies tell it, this is the best thing to happen to backup since the letter b. In reality, however, it sucketh and it sucketh huge.

Yep, Sidebar sucks.  SideShow sucks whole lemons.  But I have to say that while Time Machine could be a lot better, it's not the suckiest bundled Leopard app by a long shot.  That prize in my opinion has to go to iTunes.


I've come to the conclusion that what's holding back adoption of Vista is XP.  XP was around for too long, became too entrenched and was too good in comparison to Vista.  I'm detecting hints that the same might be true for Tiger.  It was good and around for a lot longer than any of the previous Mac OS X incarnations, and that allowed it to become the norm.  The longer that something is considered the norm the more resistance there is to change.


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

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  • Typical bias

    Describing XP as "too good" is the obvious MS-slanted viewpoint. In comparison to OS X, it was-- as EVERY SINGLE version of Windows-- an attempt to copy the latest from Apple's OS, and a twisted, poorly-executed one at that.

    I don't excuse Apple for its shortcomings in Leopard, but I **do** have a level of confidence that they will remedy the most onerous problems reasonably quickly, unlike MS.

    Finally, the absolute swiss-cheese foundation of every Windows version is so often ignored by the MS-friendly tech pundits, including here, as expected. The thousands (millions?) of PCs that are bots-- guess which OS allowed this to occur?
    Mike Cox, Sr.
    • Another myth brought to you by the Cult of the Mac.

      XP was not a copy of an Apple OS and it is every bit as good as OSX and better then Leapord. When will you guys lose the RDF and start making sense?
      • You have no standing...

        I have long used both platforms. On my latest "XPerience" with a **new** HP notebook with XP Pro/SP2 (constantly updated), I could not just close the cover and pack it up (but I can on my 3-year-old+ Mac PowerBook G4). I had to go Start--> logoff/shutdown-->sleep. When waking up, it takes at least a minute to find the Wi-Fi and connect. And during this time, it presents several annoying balloons to tell me how hard Windows is working for me. :-) My PowerBook, on the other hand, just connects to the Wi-Fi in less than 10 seconds, and doesn't annoy me with needless "updates" of the process.

        These are just 2 of the most obvious differences-- it goes right down to the very philosophy of the OS-- Windows is always needlessly getting in your face.

        When (if?) you are competent on both platforms, come back and see if you can post something intelligent.

        RDF?-- There's none bigger than that of MS.
        Mike Cox, Sr.
        • My XP laptop has no problem

          going to standby when I close the lid. It wakes up fine as well.

          Must be a user problem.
          • Agreed.

            I think he has the IDIOT vulnerability. I know macs have been plagued with that lately... hopefully they get around to a patch.
          • Sniff Sniff

            Wow, I think I smell bacon on that one....

            But Seriously, The article is about the shortcommings of both OS's The writter is not favoring one over the other. The point the Writer is trying to bring home here is that there is alot of resistance to the new OS's because the Older versions were the norm for too long and users generally resist change. Because as we all know "If it's not broke, don't fix it."
          • not a user problem

            Actually, I've been a hardcore user of Windows and Linux for 15 years. I develop software for a living and have built PCs.

            The problem that user described was very much like the one I had with a Lenovo. About 1/2 the time when I closed the lid, reopening it caused it to either 1) not wake up (had to power down), or 2) wake up with Windows system errors that caused me to reboot.

            I replaced that with another Lenovo (same model) and never had an issue.

            The problem was most likely the hardware. That laptop is, for the most part, garbage.

            Then again, that's the good AND bad with PCs....Since anyone can build a PC, you get many companies that produce horrible hardware and slam Windows onto it. Microsoft gets blamed for many issues which are really beyond their control.

            With Apple, they control the hardware specifications. That leads to better quality control but costlier computers.

            Pick your poison. I have all 3 platforms in my house now. My career choice compels me to keep up with technology trends and stay familiar with all 3 platforms.
          • weird

            Those asterisks in my message were not mine. I had used the word "hard" and "core" (can't type it as one word without it being replaced).

            Apparently, some bot thought that might be a bad word.

            What else is the bot replacing????
          • XP Laptop problem

            My HP laptop suffered a catastrophic failure about a year ago when it went to sleep. It corrupted the registry and became unbootable except in safe mode. After hours of research, I found some help files on MS on how to boot, copy over new registry files, and get the unit to boot xp. However, this was like a rescue boot (no drivers, video minimal, no network, etc). In the mean time, I was able to boot into Knoppix off the CD, and copy the files from the hard drive to a USB flash drive. This saved my documents and other critical stuff. For about 6 months after the sleep prpoblem, the only operating system that I ran on the laptop was Linux and it worked fine. I still run the machine dual boot so I can use it if the XP croaks. Bottom line: Always have a boot disk handy and a flash drive to save your files to.
        • Your the one with no standing!

          You can't even come up with an original moniker! I can assure you I frequently am forced to dabble in Apple products to keep abreast of what the competition is doing. So I am competent on both. There are no significant advantages to one over the other.
          • Re: Your the one with no standing!

            [i]I can assure you I frequently am forced to dabble in Apple products to keep abreast of what the competition is doing.[/i]

            So Apple is your competition? Then you must work for Microsoft. That explains a lot.

            none none
          • One of the top 3 PC OEMs.(nt)

          • That would be HP, Dell or ... Apple?

            Those are the standings in the US. Apple may not make the Top 5 in the "world",
            but they are #3 in the US. And they have hardly any share of the Enterprise niche,
            so those are sales to the people who will actually be using the systems.
            My dual G5 is running Leopard but my wife's Al iMac is still running Tiger, as is our
            iBook. She always hesitates and insists she can't give her system up for the hour+
            the update will take. Yes ... I bought the Family Pack. Tiger IS Very Good and there
            is need to upgrade, but the arguments in the article - AND it's source - are over-
            wrought. And that's being gentle.
          • Actaully,

            HP Dell or Acer. Acer's acquiring of Gateway put them in the top 3. When I said to p 3 i meant the world however. Nice try at spin though!
          • HP Dell and Acer. ROTFLMAO!!!!

            HP Dell and Acer all suck the big one. I cannot stand prefab, Bios tweaked, fubar'd brand name PCs. Hence the reason I build my own. HP Dell and Acer all use the cheapest parts they can find and slap them together after they have been up on crank for weeks tweaking the Bios and seeing how many headaches they can cause to anyone STUPID enough to buy one of their hunk of dung.

            There is only one company that has ever existed that can and does build a better computer than anyone else can, individual or company and that is Apple. Hence the reason I buy my Apple computers and build the rest. Alienware came close to what I could build myself, but for more than they were worth and then Michael Dell decided to buy the competition and screwed that up. I used to be able to tell people go buy an Alienware PC, but now I can't even do that.

            Shadetree, you are sooooooooo stuck on Vista that it's disgusting. Vista Sucks... If you have to go winderz, than XP is where it's at for right now. I don't see Vista getting any better in the foreseeable future. And I do see it going the way of Winders ME.

            As for your lies about knowing the competition... Stop trying, your arguments are pitiful. You know nothing about any flavor of OS X, and you are in total denial about Vista and XP. No one is buying it. People are hating Vista. I hate Vista. I have to support the POC and try to find print drivers that don't exist for it, wrestle with it to just make it functional. Turn off the Microsoft nag. etc. etc.

            Haven't you heard... According to PC World... The fastest Windows Vista notebook ever is a Mac.


            Gosh golly gee.. you mean to tell me it's not HP, Dell, nor Acer???

            How can that be if they are the top three? Sounds to me.. Like you need a wake up call. HP Dell and Acer all suck.

            Yup.. that about sums it up.... Oh and if you are looking for some good reading when you decide to start being honest with yourself about Vista....


            Coffee is ready sweetykums, come up from the basement cus mommy made you your favorite breakfast... Yes she did... yes she did.. nothing is too good for monmmys wittle sweetykums.
          • So...

            if you only dabble in Mac, how can you be competent with it? ]:)
            Linux User 147560
          • Good point.

            How can someone say that driving a McLaren or a Pl?thore is awful if you just sat in
            the drivers' seat?
          • Hey Kool-Aid drinker.

            Apple is far from being a McLaren or a Pl?thore. More like a Yugo.
          • Some people can dabble in something and ...

            ... be quite competent. Still others can use it all the time and not be competent. I know which I am. So what is your story?
          • Message has been deleted.