Mac OS X Leopard still not ready for prime time

Mac OS X Leopard still not ready for prime time

Summary: If you haven't upgraded yet - don't!I bought my first Apple computer in 1978 - the original Apple ][ - and the obvious quality of the products has kept me coming back for more.


If you haven't upgraded yet - don't! I bought my first Apple computer in 1978 - the original Apple ][ - and the obvious quality of the products has kept me coming back for more. Good thing the Leopard upgrade wasn't my first experience of Apple quality.

10.5.1 isn't it, either. I had great hopes that the first dot release of 10.5 would fix most of the problems. Sadly, that is not the case.

Most Leopard installs are trouble-free. But if you rely on your Mac to make a living, you have to ask yourself if it is worth the risk to upgrade for nifty but non-essential features. I haven't upgraded my backup Mac and I won't until Leopard is stable.

Tales of woe I use my Mac for writing, research, Skype, web site creation, video production and much more. Since installing Leopard, I've had to re-install OS X 3 times, Final Cut Studio 3 times (it is on 8 DVDs, so it takes a while) and boot up into the Unix command line twice to re-create the user database.

In addition there are numerous other inconveniences, such as Keychain problems, out of date third party apps, broken application services and more. They slow me down.

But the biggest problem is not knowing if the system will start up reliably. I don't need that problem from my Mac. With OS 10.4 I didn't.

The Storage Bits take AFAIK, the vast majority of people don't have problems with Leopard. But if you are a power user who needs a reliable Mac, the problems are common enough to wait for Apple to resolve them.

I suspect that Steve's commitment to ship Leopard in October led to some corner-cutting in development. Once released developers also have to deal with the bugs customers report.

A few more months of development bake time would have brought Leopard up to Apple's normal high standards. Steve, next time let the developers, not the calendar, tell you when the release is ready.

Comments welcome, of course.

Topics: Operating Systems, Apple, Hardware, Software

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  • True but...

    Software is never ready. And there are so many possible combinations of different
    software and even hardware that it's hard to predict what kind of problems will
    show up. I am using Leopard since it's early betas and I am pretty happy with it. As
    for our Mac servers I am waiting a little bit before we upgrade;-) Leopard brought
    some major enhancements (time machine, real UNIX subsystem, spaces, very nice
    ichat and many more) and to me it's worth to suffer through some reboots (like one
    a week?). If I would have to re-install OSX multiple times I would be really mad
    too. But I fear that there might be something else very wrong with your system. At
    the end it's a nice BSD core. Why in the world would you have to re-instal it over
    and over again? I never had problems like that. Sounds strange to me.
  • RE: Mac OS X Leopard still not ready for prime time

    The Apple Fanboys Are Going To Have A Cry Over Your Opinion.

    Cult of Apple
    Steve Jobs
    • I calls 'em as I sees 'em

      Let the chips fall where they may.
      R Harris
      • Sorry to hear your transition was as bad as my Vista upgrade...

        Then again, I checked the apps and archived ones that wouldn't work. As always,
        though, I'm not surprised to see the negative crap being thrown on ZDNet.

        I've now used both Vista and Leopard for over 2 years (yes, even during beta
        periods for each). My experience at this point in time: Leopard currently functions
        more reliably and allows me to work my way (not a way that some non-technical
        user would attempt). I'm _still_ waiting on decent video drivers and some app
        upgrades for Vista.

        Yes, I am a software (and IT) developer. Yes, I use the big 3 (Linux / OS X /
        Windows). Yes, I'm more technically apt than the average 30+ year old. YMMV.

        My main point: 1 year on and Vista still has some issues that have been sorted for
        me by the latest .1 release (and my final issue has been handled in the forthcoming
        .2). While I eagerly await Vista SP1 and XP SP3, I am utilizing 10.5 right now.

        • I wasn't comparing Leopard to Vista

          Since I don't run Vista and my local Windows techs - I live in a town of 10,000 that
          is a 2+ hour drive to the nearest major city - don't recommend it, I don't have any

          The bottom line for me is that for whatever reasons, Leopard didn't have the bake
          time needed for typical Apple quality.

          As a developer you have little choice but to use the latest and greatest. I don't need
          to and I'm wishing I hadn't.

          R Harris
          • Where have you been?

            It's well known that a post not completely 100% favorable to Apple must be derailed into a discussion of Microsoft weaknesses. Time to get with the program :-)
          • Some feel the need

            Alleviate their feelings of being ?let down? (or the fact that their gloating over the issues of the competitor?s OS being premature and/or being thrown back in their faces) need to point out how much better it is broken compared to the afore mentioned OS, but that is a debate for another day.

            I find it odd as when I had mentioned to my brother-in-law and niece about some of the issues people are having with the upgrade, yet they have (to my knowledge) not had any issue with their upgrade to Leopard.

            What is it that these systems have in common (or do not have in common) that will cause many of the problems we are hearing, vs some people who have had no issues to speak of?
          • It is odd....

            I haven't had a problem with Leopard. Yet I hear that others have. I
            read where in it's end of year tally Leopard is considered a PLUS for
            Apple. Yet I find here an article written about it not being fully
            cooked. People write in response that they have had no problems yet
            the author replies read the blogs and web reports. Last night at a
            Christmas party I ran into a fellow who said he has a G5 running
            Leopard and Final Cut Pro in which he uses to edit local TV
            commercials. I would think that makes he a power user yet he gave
            me no indication that he was having issues with Leopard. Very odd

            Pagan jim
          • Not odd at all...

            It's not odd at all to have the vast majority of users upgrade relatively problem-free even on an unbaked release.

            The vast majority of Vista users I know upgraded perfectly seamlessly, and most enjoy it and have no regrets. But it's not the case for everyone, and MORE are having problems than did for XP, it's a very similar parallel for Leopard.

            Both MS and Apple seemed to release their OS too soon, just to meet market expectations. Let's see if MS's .1 release can do better than Apple's, though they are taking a lot longer to put a lot more polish in, so it's not a direct comparison, either.
          • One thing that Apple did

            They introduced a simple "upgrade" button on the installer.

            Since the beginning of time Apple had 2 methods of upgrading, or reinstalling, the OS and there were few, if any problems.

            One was the usual wipe the drive and install everything fresh. The other was "clean install", which Apple renamed "archive and install" with OSX. That one took your System folder, renamed it "previous system folder" and left it on your hard drive. Then the installer created a new "system" folder which would be the new startup system.

            It appears that the people with the greatest number of problems are those that used the new "upgrade" rather the "archive and install" or a total HD wipe.

            I have not read of that many problems with machines that came with 10.5 installed other than the usual problems with apps or peripherals that don't work properly with the new OS.
          • That might make for an interesting poll

            to find out wht percentage of people have had problems or not, and then to find out what percentage of each group had either upgraded or had done (or received a system with)a fresh installation
          • Robin:

            I may be ignorant of things "Apple", but why don't you simply re-install 10.4?
  • Scary Crashing

    I've got a new Mac Mini with Leopard loaded on it and every once and a while, the whole thing crashes and I get bounced out of my user account. I then have to log back in as if I had just booted up.
  • RE: Mac OS X Leopard still not ready for prime time

    I've been with OS X since 10.0.0 and Leopard is the first new version I haven't installed as soon as it was released. The delay in Leopard to get the iPhone out (4 months, as I recall) looks like it wasn't long enough. I'm going to wait for SP1.
  • We avoid just about all OS upgrades

    We have a very small fleet of Macs, with most used for general business and the rest for graphics. I?ve found that OS upgrades to existing machines yield very little, if any, actual benefit for productivity. In the case of OSX, I held off until 10.3 and then brought it in on new machines. That version has provided us with superb stability and has increased productivity ? simply due to that stability ? time between OS crashes measured in years.

    We bought some 20 inch G5 iMacs a while back, at the 10.3 to 10.4 transition. The machines came with 10.3 loaded, but Apple put 10.4 disks in the box. I never bothered with it.

    Last summer we brought in some Macbooks with 10.4 on them. They?ve worked just fine but the users didn?t notice any real difference from 10.3 and did not use any of the new bells and whistles in 10.4.

    I assume that I would upgrade the OS if it was required for a specific app or an upgrade to that app, but would probably just buy new machines with it installed. In fact, we brought in the original 10.3 machines to run Indesign. Other than that, I don?t see that much benefit to OS upgrades.
    • Completely agree.

    • We've only recently..

      gone over the XP for our mission-critical stuff.
  • For the record...

    I'm using 10.5.1 in a very heavy production environment (FCS, Logic Studio, CS3,
    Aperture etc) and have no problems aside from a few cosmetic annoyances (mostly
    related to Spaces). I did a CLEAN install and migrated everything back using
    Migration Assistant. Time Machine works as advertised (not with Aperture but I
    have vaults anyway) and the system is perfectly stable (iMac 24 non aluminum
    w/2gb ram).

    I'm not saying no one has problems, but the fear mongering is getting a little old.
    Plus we're due for 10.5.2 very soon. That's two updates within months of launch. A
    far cry from Vista SP1 over a YEAR LATER!

    If you're not sure, just have a working, bootable backup and test Leopard thoroughly before committing. It's what I did and I wouldn't go back to Tiger.
    • Fearmongering about Vista has been old for quite some time.

      Yet Mac fanbois continue to engage in it.

      "I'm not saying no one has problems, but the fear mongering is getting a little old. Plus we're due for 10.5.2 very soon. That's two updates within months of launch. A far cry from Vista SP1 over a YEAR LATER!"

      Microsoft has been releasing ".1" patches for Vista throughout the year through Windows Update.
  • There are several problems here.

    First, and foremost, is that upgrading an OS is
    [b]not[/b] a trivial matter. Microsoft and Apple (yes,
    and Linux, too, I guess) have made it seem so, but it

    At one time, the OS was much more separated from
    applications than it is now. Applications contained
    their own graphics routines and their own printer
    drivers. The OS was merely the go-between. You'd
    call a file subroutine from the OS, but really, you'd
    write your own interface.

    That changed with the GUI. Now, you call the OS for
    everything from file storage to printing to "Cancel" or
    "OK" buttons.

    Anyone using a computer for mission-critical
    applications is foolish to upgrade purely for the sake of
    using the latest OS.

    Secondly, Leopard is much more than a point upgrade
    to Tiger. The fact that it's now UNIX compliant shows
    that there was a lot that went on under the hood.
    Calling it OS X has lead to situations like yours.

    At work, we've had to specify Tiger, and, in some
    cases, PPC Macs, because of this issue. Protools plug-
    ins don't work with Leopard, and some of our people
    use Logic on PPC Macs and home, and, for
    compatibility, we specify identical machines for them
    to use at work. We're about to change our audio
    playback system from Windows to OS X, and we're
    specifying Tiger for those machines.

    [b]If it's mission-critical, you don't change what

    In your case, with video production, you should have
    realized, as a professional tech writer, that Core
    Animation [b]could[/b] wreak havoc on non-Leopard
    video software, and due diligence on your part would
    have save you a lot of aggravation.

    I've upgraded both of my Macs to Leopard, and have
    been incredibly happy. Quick Look is worth $129
    alone. For the critical apps, we've stayed with Tiger.
    For now.

    I'm sure this is the same thing that's happened with
    Vista. Certain applications (*cough* Quicken) broke
    the rules, and ran into trouble, and I'm sure that there
    were more changes under the hood that made some
    incompatibilities. But for most users, there was no
    problem (I haven't had any problems with Vista. I like
    the way it looks, and, after adding RAM, it runs just
    fine. The Start menu is a disaster, though. How do I
    turn my computer off?).

    In my experience, with fairly normal applications, I find
    both Leopard and Vista quite ready for prime time.