Leopard vs. Vista: Take two

Leopard vs. Vista: Take two

Summary: Let me try this again.Seeing that so many readers misunderstood my blog post from earlier this week about my take on Apple CEO Steve Jobs' keynote, I'd like to try to clarify what I was trying to say.


Let me try this again.

Seeing that so many readers misunderstood my blog post from earlier this week about my take on Apple CEO Steve Jobs' keynote, I'd like to try to clarify what I was trying to say.

But first, let me say thanks for the many interesting e-mail messages and comments on the original post. And special thanks for the unsolicited advice, which ranged from "find a new career," to "see a doctor about your time/space problem you seem to have," to "you should be running a car wash in Frezno." I have been trying to respond to all of my e-mail correspondents, but unfortunately many of you seem to be using fake e-mail addresses and names that aren't your own.

I heard from some interesting corners. I heard from Windows users who think the Mac OS X is far superior to Vista. I heard from Apple users who said they thought Leopard would be a weak Mac OS X release. And I heard from quite a few Mac folks who thought Jobs' keynote was too much of a rehash from January and was a lame representation of what Apple has coming on the operating system front.

My original post was not an attempt at a Vista vs. Leopard product review (in response to the reader who said s/he'd contact my managers to make sure this ZDNet reviewer was fired!). Nor was it a news story. It was my plain, old, biased opinion, as most blog posts tend to be.

Admittedly, my headline choice ("Leopard looks like … Vista") for my original blog posting was poor. A lot of folks immediately assumed I was asserting that Leopard -- the version of Mac OS X coming this October, which Jobs demonstrated at the Worldwide Developers Conference on July 11 -- was copied from Vista. And seemingly read no further.

That isn't what I was saying at all. In fact, I consciously stayed away from the whole "who copied whom" discussion, which has been debated for years now. I had nothing new to observe there and didn't intend for this blog post to be a timeline. (I also didn't expect it to be a forum for Linux users, yet still heard from a reader who told me that I was a fool not to mention Linux, since it was obvious Apple and Microsoft both had stolen their interface ideas from Linux. I'm not kidding.)

Instead, what I was attempting to ask was whether users out there, especially those who've had a chance to play with the closed Leopard betas, believe there are features and functionality in Leopard that will leapfrog what's available in Vista. I was curious because I often hear Apple officials and users assert that Leopard will be light years ahead of Vista once Leopard ships. Yet in the demonstration I saw on Monday, I didn't see much of anything -- other than the beautiful eye candy, as noted by LifeHacker -- that seemed to go beyond what Microsoft is doing with Vista.

As I noted in my original post, I am not a Mac user. Please excuse any Mac OS X subsystem names I bungled in my post; I simply used the terms Jobs used. For a better use of correct Apple terminology in comparing Leopard to Vista, I'd suggest readers check out Microsoft Watch's follow-up post from July 12.)

A number of readers said they thought the Top 10 Leopard features list I cited was weak and chose to make Leopard look bad. Just a reminder: This wasn't my list. This was the list of features that Jobs chose to highlight.

Yes, I have seen Mac OS X Tiger and, thanks to the kind loan of an iMac from Apple a year ago, had a chance to dabble with it. It wasn't my cup of tea. I am too set in my Windows ways to switch. (At the same time, I seriously doubt anyone at Microsoft would call me a "Vista fan girl.".)

At the risk of having my inbox flooded again with more love mail and thoughtful career suggestions from all you enthusiastic Mac users out there, I'd like to re-ask my original question. What features coming in Leopard do you think will leapfrog Vista? (Not in terms of what they look like, but in terms of what they will do.) I am asking because I want fodder for my next interview with the Windows team and -- as so many of you suggested I do -- to educate myself.

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


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • To be honest, I don't really know

    I know ZFS is a big deal, yet Steve didn't even mention it.

    Perhaps Steve didn't want to hype up the OS too much, or maybe this is only an inter-rim upgrade down-trodden because of the Vista Release.

    I look forward to Leopard and am waiting for it to buy a new Mac Book Pro, also I want to save some money before I actually buy one of those pricey toys.
    • ZFS will be available for Leopard .

      From what I read the other day on an article the ZFS file system will be available on Leopard but only as in read mode .
      • No it isnt

        10.5 will have the ability to READ ZFS partitions, but not WRITE to them. Apple is still testing it as a viable alternative to HFS+.
        • That's what he said(nt)

        • wrong

          zfs its been tested as a large format, its not intended to replace hfs.
  • Good for you...

    Most of us realized that you just drew some stupid flames from some equally stupid, and unfortunately scary, individuals out there.

    If you are that passionate about these so-called "OS's", you geeks need to get a life.
  • To be honest

    From Joe Average users stand point the two interfaces are almost interchangeable.
    • For the most part yes.

      Each OS has a few features the other doesn't, and I don't really think it matters who had what first at this stage in the game. Do I prefer OSX? Yes, because I feel it has better integration with the hardware and I personally enjoy using it. But thats not to say Vista would not be just as enjoyable to somebody else. I really think it comes down entirely to user preference. Because from a features standard, they are pretty similar from a day to day use standpoint. Vista has some more options from a corporate standpoint, but OSX has the ability to easily run and port any *nix software and they come preloaded with really nice video editing software which I have not seen a counter for on the windows side of things (WMM is clunky and a pain to use, and not nearly as powerful). And yes I realize not everybody cares about video editing, but it has surprised me how many people I know bought a mac because they wanted to easily do YouTube (or similar) videos or just family videos.
      • Have you compared VirtualDub?

        If so, I'd appreciate your comments.

        VirtuaDub is not a full editor, but does the best job of to the frame mpg editing I've seen, and turns each frame to jpg quickly and well. It's quirky and idiosyncratic, but what else do you expect from a free, open source product?
        Anton Philidor
        • I've used vdub

          It was nice and easy. I took video from Fraps of in game footage and used vdub to cut it up. I then used WMM to add transitions and music. As easy as one can ask for, but the Mac would have made it look more professional with the transitions and text, with much more ease. Your video editing skills show when using WMM and vdub, and I apparently have none :)
        • Virtualdub rocks

          It's been in my video editing toolkit for years now.
      • While not proloaded

        I did get nice video editing software when I purchased a Camcorder. And more when I purchased a better DVD burner. And some not so nice editing software when I got a video capture card.
        So, as is typical in the Windows world, as you pick up the other devices needed, people will throw lots of software your way.

        The main problem is sorting out the junk from the useful stuff.
      • Video editing on Windows - Vegas Video

        I have never used WMM. Why would anyone use that anyway? But there are several video editors and DVD authoring prtograms available for Windows that should be mentioned.

        The best of these came from SoundForge and were bought by Sony. Vegas Video has evolved significantly and is one of the best multi-track video editing and composing programs available to amateurs, hobbiest and even some professionals. Vegas Movie (mass consumer level - $90), Vegas Movie Platinum (hobbiest HD support - $120) and the full blown Vegas product (advanced hobbiest, low end pro with HD and AC3 5.1 audio - $545) all allow keyframe events and sequencing, transition effects, text effects, titling and scrolling, and picture in picture with multiple video and audio tracks. I started with Vegas before the Vegas Movie offerings were created, so I am not that familiar with those lower end programs.

        If one really wanted to go to the high end, try looking at Canopus for their software and hardware solutions. Edius Pro is well known in professional circles and operates with or without external video processing hardware for faster composting and encoding operations.

        Come to think of it, the MovieStar and DVDComplete software that I got with my Dazzle DV bridge are first rate for 480i video editing when used with Procorder Express from Canopus. I believe that video editing on the Mac is a powerful and pleasing experience, but [b]I don't believe that the Mac represents the only platform for advanced and professional video editing.[/b] Buying a Mac just to make YouTube videos seems a little shortsighted to me but I still want to buy one.
        • Nice post <NT>

        • I have not used Vegas Video

          But I have heard it is a pretty nice app in comparison to many other windows video editing apps. Although for a little bit more than the full blown version of Vegas you can buy a copy of Final Cut Pro, which is professional software (granted FCP is mac only).

          And I didn't mean to say you can not edit videos on a PC well, simply that in stock configuration it gives the Mac a step up. As iTunes and iPhoto are seamlessly integrated into iMovie, so you can add music and photos with the click of a button. No converting or importing required.
          • I checked into Final Cut Pro

            because my neighbor uses it professionally (he works for Hulk Hogan of all people). It's a great, world class application. Unfortunately, you can't buy Final Cut Pro by itself anymore.

            You must buy the Apple Final Cut Studio 2 and this has a monumental price tag - $1,299. Comparing that to full blown Vegas ($545), it's hardly just "a little bit more."

            Did I mention that Vegas allows for fairly advance audio editing, filtering, effects and noise reduction using DirectX compatible plugins? Also, Vegas includes a subset of Acid Pro that allows for looping and audio track synthesis from professional musician sampled tracks.

            In addition to these audio capabilities, Vegas has a [i]render over the network capability[/i] that allows the user to distribute the composting and rendering load over properly configured Windows PCs on your LAN. Not too bad for less than $550.

            I will probably buy Final Cut Express when I get my MacBook Pro but I may end up rendering the titles and effects in Vegas to be used as clips by Final Cut Express. I guess I will have to wait until I evaluate Final Cut Express to know for sure.
          • Final Cut Studio

            All of the capabilities you just listed as being part of Vegas are also present in Final Cut Studio - except that you'd distribute rendering to other Macs rather than Windoze boxes (That's what QMaster is for - you'd distribute using Compressor while preparing your final content for inclusion on a DVD or whatever distribution format you're using).

            Instead of DirectX plugins for audio, Soundtrack Pro can use Core Audio's Audio Units. It provides some very powerful recording, enhancement, noise removal, and effects capabilities and integrates fairly well with Final Cut Pro. And Soundtrack Pro has all of the loop-based audio production capabilities as well.

            Add in Motion for motion graphics creation, the often-far-too-overlooked-but-way-cool LiveType program which comes with Final Cut Studio, and various other factors, and Final Cut Studio really is the incredible package deserving of its price tag.

            And yes, I do own and use Final Cut Studio 2, and no, I've never even tried using Vegas - why would I bother?
          • "never even tried using Vegas - why would I bother?"

            Well that's just peachy. What a closed mind you must have.

            And all that sooo cool stuff you mention for Final Cut Studio seem to be present in Vegas too. It sounds to me that they pretty much represent the same features and capabilities. So why the significant disparity in price tags?

            I haven't tried Final Cut Pro, but I am more than anxious to give it a try in spite of its mind bending price tag. And some day I will too, because I would like to know why the price is so different...

            But at least I don't believe that I know everything and that other people and other stuff is just bunk.
        • re: Video editing on Windows - Vegas Video

          Good post - just a minor correction... Vegas (as well as Acid) was purchased from Sonic Foundry - not SourceForge.
          • My mistaske but I said SoundForge - my bad [nt]