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  • The Leopard Report: Another Look at 10.5 Bugs

    December 11th, 2007

    It's got to be a strange world out there, with some folks reporting that Leopard has driven them crazy, while most of you appear to have had great experiences with Apple's latest operating system.

    Include me in the latter camp.

    In recent articles, I've tried to put this confusing picture into perspective. I know there are Mac troubleshooting sites that are designed to keep tabs on such matters, and you can certainly find lots to chew over, such as unexpected crashes, and Wi-Fi connection problems and printing issues. Any one of these items ought to be sufficient to cause deep concern, particularly if your Mac was working just great prior to the Leopard upgrade.

    Now, to be perfectly fair, the furore has died down quite a bit since the 10.5.1 update came out last month. Little has been said about the immediate requirement for a 10.5.2, and some of the latest reported bugs appear to be downright eccentric. One calls for Command- or right-clicking on a blank column in a Finder window, and selecting Get Info from the popup menu. This particular act will usually cause the Finder to crash and relaunch. Big deal! Since it doesn't represent an action one might take in the real world to perform a real function, it's not a bug that ought to rank high on Apple's list of problems that need to be fixed.

    On the other hand, crashes are serious, and it's important to find out what's going on. Without having had any to speak of myself on my various Leopard installations, I might suggest that it's probably an interaction with third-party software in most cases. The solution would be to look out for an update to the offending application. Unfortunately, such matters are quite normal in the early days of a new system release, and not just from Apple.

    In saying that, however, Apple isn't innocent of having incompatible software. For example, I ran into problems with their sprawling Logic Studio suite until a recent update was installed.  Certainly, Adobe had to address a few problems with Leopard, and QuarkXPress received its own 10.5 updater recently.

    But I am troubled by published reports that Apple didn't provide the Golden Master version of Leopard to developers until after it officially went on sale, even though it was evidently completed a week or two earlier. If true, it means that developers weren't able to test their code with the release build of 10.5 until it was too late to come out with timely updates.

    So why would Apple act in such a paranoid fashion to the developers it reportedly courts so enthusiastically? One possible reason is rampant piracy. Within hours after Leopard officially went on sale, peer-to-peer sites were already posting copies of the DVD disc image. Now I understand that an awful lot of people have financial difficulties these days, but I don't think pirating a $129 product is necessarily a solution. Besides, you can get Leopard at a discount if you shop around. Regardless, I think it's clear that BitTorrent versions would somehow appear regardless, so Apple ought to concentrate its attention on taking care of developers and getting them new product as quickly as possible.

    As to those reports of Wi-Fi connection problems, I'm in a quandary about that. If anything, the AirPort system in my 17-inch MacBook Pro -- which was upgraded by a third-party to provide 802.11n support -- worked fine with Tiger and with Leopard. Yes, I have always had occasional connection issues, but fine-tuning the settings in my AirPort Express base station, by selecting an individual channel rather than using the "Automatic" setting, has alleviated most of those symptoms.

    Then again, Wi-Fi is never 100% dependable unless you are real close to the router, or are situated within a hot spot. Otherwise, connections can vary all over the place. In part, it depends on the construction of the building you're in, obstacles in an open space, and even whether the signals are competing with other radio waves in your vicinity. It doesn't necessarily have to be due to some soft of Leopard defect.

    It's also apparent that Apple did lots of tweaking with their AirPort systems, so it may well be that what worked before doesn't work now in some situations, whereas the signals are more reliable in other installations. If you check the Mac troubleshooting reports for the last few years, you'll find that there have always been Wi-Fi issues of one sort or another. That, my friends, may not change until a better standard is achieved -- and maybe not even then.

    In my own case, the one connection issue I've yet to completely overcome is the "Back to My Mac" scenario, which allows you to use your .Mac service to screen share between two Macs even over the Internet. It usually works if you are using an AirPort system or wired Ethernet for both systems. But when it comes to other brands of wireless routers, all bets are off. Different companies use different chipsets, and software may differ sufficiently to make something that works in one place fail in another. Even Apple has admitted they have work to do, but this isn't a Leopard-killer by any means, because you needed to install special software for screen sharing up till now. From here it'll only get better.

    As to printing, the only issue I've seen involves Microsoft Word 2004, where page margins are reported by the printer driver as out of range. I'm not terribly concerned about this conflict, since Word 2008 is just around the corner, now that it has been released to manufacturing, so I'll be seeing a copy soon. I suspect, without having checked anything in particular, that Microsoft has resolved all or most lingering Leopard issues.

    With other output devices, it may just be the state of the drivers, another common side-effect of a new operating system release. In fact, Apple includes hundreds and hundreds of built-in printer drivers for many popular products as part of the standard Leopard installation. Updates for some makers, such as HP, will actually appear in Leopard's Software Update application when they are available. For the rest of you, keep tabs on the maker's site.

    There is, of course, that ATI Radeon XT1900 graphic card I bought for my Power Mac G5 Quad some months back. The drivers are a year old, and AMD, ATI's parent company, says that I have to ask Apple about compatible drivers. But the ones provided with Leopard don't work. So I'm back to square one, although one reader told me that he got his ATI card to function reliably in Leopard with the old drivers that shipped with his card. Perhaps I should try that as a last resort, one of these days.



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    21 Responses to “The Leopard Report: Another Look at 10.5 Bugs”

    1. Jeff says:

      "So why would Apple act in such a paranoid fashion to the developers it reportedly courts so enthusiastically? One possible reason is rampant piracy. Within hours after Leopard officially went on sale, peer-to-peer sites were already posting copies of the DVD disc image. Now I understand that an awful lot of people have financial difficulties these days, but I don’t think pirating a $129 product is necessarily a solution. Besides, you can get Leopard at a discount if you shop around. Regardless, I think it’s clear that BitTorrent versions would somehow appear regardless, so Apple ought to concentrate its attention on taking care of developers and getting them new product as quickly as possible."

      I really wouldn't be surprised if this is the last major OS release from Apple that doesn't require a key to unlock it. You've already got to get a key to unlock iWork '07, and that product sells for 2/3 of the price of Leopard.

      From what I saw on the torrent sites, many of the people that were downloading Leopard could afford to pay for it ... they just didn't feel that they should have to.

    2. Adam says:

      I have had the issue of page margins reported to be out of range many times, always off and on, with several different versions of Office (back to the days of MS Word on the Mac when there was no Windows on the market) and different printers. This is, from my perspective, an on again, off again bug with Word and not really a Leopard issue at all. With Office '97 printing to a Lexmark ink jet I always got that error. Multiple OSes, multiple printer driver versions, every single Word document I printed. I have not seen this behavior with Office 2004 and OSX 10.5 or 10.5.1.

    3. Dave says:

      Since upgrading to 10.5.1 I have seen entire Address Book entries disappear, an installed application vanish from the Applications folder and even more frequent internet stalls. I even lost the missing Address Book entry when I attempted to restore it with Time Machine. I sure hope Apple posts 10.5.2 pretty soon... these are nasty issues.

    4. Since upgrading to 10.5.1 I have seen entire Address Book entries disappear, an installed application vanish from the Applications folder and even more frequent internet stalls. I even lost the missing Address Book entry when I attempted to restore it with Time Machine. I sure hope Apple posts 10.5.2 pretty soon... these are nasty issues.

      First and foremost, the key is whether these are problems that affect a number of people or just a small number, such as yourself.

      Which application disappeared, by the way?

      Also, I wonder if this particular situation doesn't involve drive damage, rather than a general bug in Leopard. Have your checked your startup drive recently with Disk Utility?

      Peace,
      Gene

    5. Lantrix says:

      I'm still holding off. I'm even using iLife 05... heh. No bugs for me on 10.4.11 - rock solid as it is.
      When my G4 lease runs out the new laptop will be my upgrade to 10.5.

    6. Czarlisle says:

      Well, I've just spent several hours mucking about trying to get an airport connection to work. Nada. Zilch. It refuses to connect to the wireless router. None of the "fixes" have worked.

      (By the way, this was after having to do a re-install after the first round resulted in the Blue Screen of Death.)

      This isn't the minor glitch you seem to think it is. It just doesn't work correctly.

      "It just works." This has always been the magic of the Mac.

      Example: the time I was in a WiFi hotspot demo (for airline WiFi service) in the Munich airport, and mine was the only machine flawlessly connecting with the system--the other dozen machines there were, of course, windows boxes. Well, now I know how all those poor suckers piloting Widows boxes felt. And it ain't pretty.

      Macs don't "just work" any more.

      I think we'll probably just re-install Tiger. Meanwhile, I will *strongly* suggest that people forgo the Leopard installation until Apple gets its head out of the sand and fixes the problem.

    7. Anders L says:

      I have finally found the solution to the wireless problem with Mac Leopard! This is a fix that really works for people who need to work productively with their computers. I have an Intel MacBook from late 2007 with 1 GB memory running Mac OS X 10.5.1 and a D-Link g/n router.

      1. Turn off the Mac.
      2. Unplug it from the power supply.
      3. Disconnect the mouse.
      4. Stuff the computer in an empty bag. Close the bag and put it away.
      5. Power up a Windows computer running XP or Vista and use it instead.
      6. This way, you do not have to change any settings on the router or anywhere else, and you will enjoy fast and reliable internet access.
      7. Do not recommend Mac OS X Leopard to any serious computer user.
      8. Don't even think of using the Mac again until Apple has resolved the wireless issue.

    8. As much as I respect your right to express your opinion, I have no wireless problems with Leopard whatever. Most people I know do not have a problem of that sort either. In saying that, I do not regard the D-Link routers as best of the breed -- far from it.

      I'm also sure that any lingering wireless issues will be resolved before long. Apple would never allow those things to persist.

      Peace,
      Gene

    9. Adam says:

      I have finally found the solution to the wireless problem with Mac Leopard! This is a fix that really works for people who need to work productively with their computers. I have an Intel MacBook from late 2007 with 1 GB memory running Mac OS X 10.5.1 and a D-Link g/n router.

      1. Turn off the Mac.
      2. Unplug it from the power supply.
      3. Disconnect the mouse.
      4. Stuff the computer in an empty bag. Close the bag and put it away.
      5. Power up a Windows computer running XP or Vista and use it instead.
      6. This way, you do not have to change any settings on the router or anywhere else, and you will enjoy fast and reliable internet access.
      7. Do not recommend Mac OS X Leopard to any serious computer user.
      8. Don't even think of using the Mac again until Apple has resolved the wireless issue.

      Another possible solution would be to follow steps 1-4 substituting D-Link for Mac.

      I know D-links are very popular and in use all over the place. Personally I have never had any success with them for longer than a week whether using Macs or Windows (NT through Vista) computers. I may be in the minority here, but Mac users with your obviously very real problem are also. The difference is that my experience says Apple will fix their issue, D-link will not. Why start now after 7 years (for me anyway).

      My Macbook has run nearly flawlessly since day one of the 10.5 installation. In my case anything that did not stay the same, performance wise, has improved a LOT - including 802.11 b/g usability.

    10. Alex says:

      The problem simply isn't D-Link and it is certainly some kind of issue with Leopard. I'm using a MB on an Airport Extreme network and ever since I've upgraded to Leopard, places where I got 1-2 MBPS, I know get .2 MBPS and frequent disconnections. This is not a minor bug and really makes me consider Leopard a buggier system than Vista simply in that I could perform work using Vista, with Leopard's connection issues, I can't.

    11. The problem simply isn't D-Link and it is certainly some kind of issue with Leopard. I'm using a MB on an Airport Extreme network and ever since I've upgraded to Leopard, places where I got 1-2 MBPS, I know get .2 MBPS and frequent disconnections. This is not a minor bug and really makes me consider Leopard a buggier system than Vista simply in that I could perform work using Vista, with Leopard's connection issues, I can't.

      I appreciate that some people are having problems. But I have an AirPort Extreme -- the very latest model with gigabit Ethernet support -- and I have only seen my connections improve since upgrading to Leopard. The same holds true for others I know.

      I do realize there are issues yet to be resolved, and hopefully Apple will have a 10.5.2 that will tackle any remaining WI-Fi connectivity issues.

      Peace,
      Gene

    12. John says:

      After a lifetime dealing with Windows crashes and faulty software, I finally converted to a shiny new iMac running Leopard 10.5. Had an exceptional first 12 hours. Then I tried to run Software Update, and it crashed my router (Netgear WPN824). So I tried manually downloading the OS updates - crashed my router again. Great problem to have - even if they fix these wireless issues, I can't download the damn update file... My iMac sure does have a pretty screen, but otherwise, it's as faulty as a Windows PC. Terribly disappointing.

    13. That is peculiar, but I fail to see that it's the fault of your new Mac. The router has its own software, and if downloading to a Mac causes it to crash, it's a router that's sadly in need of replacement.

      Peace,
      Gene

    14. Lantrix says:

      I agree with Gene. A software update on your Mac can in no way (currently known) crash your router.
      A bad analogy would be:
      You are driving your car through an intersection and the traffic lights failed while you travelled through. Are you and your car the cause of the failure? No as you are only transiting the intersection.
      In the same way the software update is merely data travelling through the intersection that is your wireless router.

    15. Anders L says:

      I did not follow my own advice. I retrieved the MacBook from the bag and tried it once again - and made an interesting observation. The antenna in the MacBook seems to be less sensitive than the one in my PC laptop (ThinkPad T61p). I have my wireless router in the basement, and when I am sitting in the room situated directly above it, the Mac will not pick up the signal (the indicator is at 100% for sure, but there is not actual connection to the internet). The T61 picks up the signal just fine anywhere in the house. If I move to the living room, which is still above the router but at an angle, the MacBook works fine again. So it seems to be a case of the Mac being a piece of inferior hardware sold at a premium price ... I wonder how long they are going to get away with that? For my own part, it looks increasingly likely that my first Mac will also be my last one. Unless the 10.5.2 update does wonder with the machine, of course ...

    16. I did not follow my own advice. I retrieved the MacBook from the bag and tried it once again - and made an interesting observation. The antenna in the MacBook seems to be less sensitive than the one in my PC laptop (ThinkPad T61p). I have my wireless router in the basement, and when I am sitting in the room situated directly above it, the Mac will not pick up the signal (the indicator is at 100% for sure, but there is not actual connection to the internet). The T61 picks up the signal just fine anywhere in the house. If I move to the living room, which is still above the router but at an angle, the MacBook works fine again. So it seems to be a case of the Mac being a piece of inferior hardware sold at a premium price ... I wonder how long they are going to get away with that? For my own part, it looks increasingly likely that my first Mac will also be my last one. Unless the 10.5.2 update does wonder with the machine, of course ...

      Maybe, maybe not. There are things you can do to enhance reception and different sensitivities to outside interference may be responsible too.

      Peace,
      Gene

    17. Adam says:

      it is also true the wifi signals are shaped like a donut. The perimiter of their disc is a better connection as a result. There are dozens of variables here but be short sighted if you like. It is easier that way.

    18. it is also true the wifi signals are shaped like a donut. The perimiter of their disc is a better connection as a result. There are dozens of variables here but be short sighted if you like. It is easier that way.

      Yes, and the other issue is that different computers may have different antenna setups, because of different chipsets and antenna positions. Ideally, the proper way is to configure the router for best overall reception, which may require adjustment on the router, and perhaps repositioning. But it's easier to blame everyone else.

      Peace,
      Gene

    19. Jeremy Summers says:

      I have a new D-Link router that runs fast as hell, and it worked fine with my mac until I re-arranged my room in which I use it the most. It just would not connect to the network, and I found out later that this was because I was using the Mac almost directly over the spot on the floor below where the router is. If I move the mac a few feet to the side, I can connect and move back where I was and it works fine. Very sensitive, it seems.

    20. tarun jung says:

      Since upgrading to 10.5.1 I have seen entire Address Book entries disappear, an installed application vanish from the Applications folder and even more frequent internet stalls. I even lost the missing Address Book entry when I attempted to restore it with Time Machine. I sure hope Apple posts 10.5.2 pretty soon... these are nasty issues.

      I am running Leopard 10.5.3, and I am encountring a very similar bug like the one dave suffered.

      First my apps like IPhoto and Preview began to dissappear from the Doc and the Application folder, and then to my horror i discovered that my entire Iphoto library had also dissappeared.

      Then my other Apps like Photoshop and VLC player dissappeared from the doc (got a question mark icon on them), and from the Applications folder.

      Re-installed the OS from the Installation Disks yesterday, everything seemed fine, now today my Safari app vanished from the doc and from the Applications folder.

      Am working on a Mac Pro, but these bugs seem totally un Mac like.

      Fucking pissing off.

      Been installing and re-installing the entire fortnight. never know what is going to crash next.

      Not on man.

      Tarun

    21. Cyrus says:

      having the same problem as tarun am on a imac g5 leopard 10.5.4....strange as it seems, its true and yeh he's rite its dam well pissing off..........

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