Leopard and Vista - More alike than you might think

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.

SHARE:

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

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

225 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Leopard and Vista - More alike than you might think

    I have to take some exceptions with your list...

    1) To Many Bugs (Vista/Leopard) this is a silly bullet
    point. Both have lots of bugs including XP, the
    bullet point might be better described as
    "To Many Critical Function Bugs"

    2) Systems that were rock-solid under the OLD OS and
    Falling down regularly, Please provide some data
    on this for both ???

    3) What are baked in vulnerabilities ?? Sounds like
    someone was cooking during the coding of the OS's
    mrOSX
    • Good question

      "What are baked in vulnerabilities ?? Sounds like
      someone was cooking during the coding of the OS's"

      Good question - what in the world is a "baked in vulnerability"??
      CobraA1
      • It's a borrow from chip design

        You could say that it means "inherent vulnerabilities in the code." In tech talk: "baked in" use to refer to the part of the Bios that was hard-coded into the chip itself and could not be changed.
        alaniane@...
  • Puts a perspective into the Ubuntu 7.10 Release

    Which was, comparatively, very slick. I think the Linux model of lots of incremental releases rather than the Big Bang release of Vista and Leopard might be the way of the future.

    This would mean we would get from XP to Vista (as an example) over a number of years through incremental service packs. It would probably be more robust and, given that MS makes money from 99% of the PC manufacturers through the virtue of a PC or laptop sold, I doubt it would affect their profits too much.
    BanjoPaterson
    • Exactly!

      "I think the Linux model of lots of incremental releases rather than the Big Bang release of Vista and Leopard might be the way of the future."

      Unfortunately I don't think Microsoft understands this. They've already committed to releasing a major upgrade every four years.
      ye
      • I seem to remember an article...

        ...a couple of weeks ago about the next Windows, which would be based on a small kernel, with the rest layered on top. This approach would allow a more modular Windows, with updates to specific modules, leaving the kernel relatively intact except for necessary security patches. This should allow more frequent updates, breaking from the 4 year cycle.

        What advantages does this approach provide for Microsoft? I see several. First, the kernel could easily be rewritten for newer processors and technology, allowing Windows to follow changes in hardware more nimbly. Second, with government meddling in Microsoft's affairs, it would be relatively easy to add or remove "features" based on requirements. This would also work for different versions of the OS, allowing stripped down versions for OLPC, full featured versions for home or office use, and even making it viable for embedded applications. I would expect that this applies to their server offerings, as well.

        In short, I wouldn't write off Microsoft just yet.
        itpro_z
        • We'll have to see. After all some of what you mention already exists.

          The core of Windows is already fairly modularized. For example NT was designed
          with a HAL to allow for easy porting to different processors.
          ye
      • Its a no brainer

        Yer and how are these going to cream us every few years for new = better? .Linux is Open to this incremental increases.
        morrig
    • While that sounds good...

      To get some of the stuff that Microsoft wanted added to Vista, it could not have been done as a service pack, Things like burying the DRM deep inside the OS, and getting the Video driver out of ring 0.

      Iam not sure if there is anything in Leopard that could not follow that approach this time.
      mrOSX
      • Re: While that sounds good...

        The incremental releases in Linux are not Service Packs as you have attempted to describe them but actual RELEASES. Thus the term "incremental releases". Example, OpenSuse 10.3, 10.2., 10.1... et al...

        Service packs do not change the version of OS (generally speaking of course.) So it would be an upgrade rather than an SP. Thus, if MS wanted to "bury DRM deep inside the OS", they would do it in the next incremental OS update. Then the one after that, they'd do the Aeroglass thing or whatever it's called... Each piece is proven to work and entered into the foundation of the OS.
        yyuko@...
        • Well Linux to it's credit is far more granular than...

          Windows or even OSX. Which makes it easier to do incremental updates. But even Linux has issues when there are major Kernel changes example 2.4 -> 2.6 This required lots of changes outside the kernel.
          mrOSX
          • But the sweet spot on the 2.4 >> 2.6 update

            is that you could load both kernels and select whichever one you needed during the transition. You can't really do that with Windows, you can have the two OS's but not just their kernels... ]:)
            Linux User 147560
          • Yepper Linux is far more granular than either...

            NT
            mrOSX
    • Naw, that only works when your work is so low

      in value that you give it away.
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • I was so sure you had something meaningful to say...

        ... that I read and thought and pondered your reply; but was disappointed to find only a trite sound bite that does not reference anything at all in my original post.

        Some days your arguments are well informed, well reasoned, and a pleasure to read. This day is not one of them.

        For the free == low value proposition that you ascribe to Linux please refer to:

        http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2007/10/linux_will_be_w.html

        Looks like the development cost of Linux will soon be, as far as can be estimated, near $1 billion dollars (granted, with the US dollar tanking that may not buy you as much of an OS as before!).

        The bigger question is how much has Linux cost Microsoft? I know it is more than nothing (I did not upgrade any of my PCs and laptops to Vista, but to Ubuntu instead - hence Linux has cost MS AT LEAST $2000; but I truly suspect it is at least many orders of magnitude more.

        Shut up I say! Sorry, just talking to the little man in my head who's telling me that it is useless to respond to someone as closed to reasoned argument as you are.
        BanjoPaterson
      • Watch out for that bridge up ahead!

        No_Ax The Troll lives under it!
        OButterball
      • Like your comments

        NAG!
        jorjitop
    • OS Bugs

      I've been doing IT professionally for 15 years and I have never seen any OS or major infrastructure upgrade that didn't come with new features that some people didn't like, major showstopping bugs for some people, changes to the way you work and higher hardware requirements.
      I've used DOS since 4.0 Windows since 3.1, Netware, OS2, Linux (OpenSuse and 'buntu/debians) and they all have features I love, things I hate, some clunky interfaces in places and applications I can't live without 8) (OK, except for under DOS and Windows 3.1, they just sucked)
      Under Linux I love the fact that if KDE suddenly made changes to their GUI I didn't like, I could still use the latest kernels and applications and not worry about upgrading the GUI. I like Vista because I can install it on my wifes PC, add a CD burner and AV software and it mostly just works. (Personally, I can't stand its still primitive UAC and poor command line, so I prefer to stick with 'nix) I haven't had the plpeasure of playing with OS-X in any meaningful manner, but I do love Apple's hardware design. I just wish I could buy a 24" iMac without the OS and install linux on it 8) I think their mouse even has two buttons now, but I could be wrong on that.

      I'm sure in 4 years time there will be stories saying "Wow, VistaR2 fixes some major issues in the old version, but it breaks many poorly coded applications and drivers, OS-XI is pretty, but some mac users are still confused by the second button on their mouse, and Linux kernel 3.15.22.16.7776 in 'ubuntu/suse/slackware/redhat/centos sure is ready for the primetime desktop now, and can be booted from the flash BIOS in your PC in just seconds!. And they will probably all run on my openmoko/iphone/WindowsMobile2011-Live! PDA, (unfortunately I think Palm will complely loose the plot and will be gone in 4 years. A pitty, I love PalmOS 8(


      Either way, I'm sure OpenOffice2.4 will work on all of them 8)
      chromeronin
    • except 7.10 killed my iBook

      That's excepting the fact that the 7.10 update rendered my iBook
      UNABLE TO BOOT. The only way I can get it to run right now is to
      manually select the old kernel. If I keep Ubuntu on there, I'll probably
      have to re-install from the v6 cd to get it back to normal.
      Htalk
    • Incremental improvements work ...

      ... very well, as demonstrated by Volkswagen with their incredibly long run of the Beetle, and as demonstrated by the Japanese, who've eaten the lunch of U.S. companies in the automotive and consumer electronics fields.
      Tony R.