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  • Waiting for Leopard Book V: Should You Just Wait?

    October 24th, 2007

    With worldwide Leopard coming out parties, and lots and lots of copies arriving the very first day Mac OS 10.5 is out — and maybe sooner if you can believe some reports — you’d almost expect massive upgrades being performed over a period of several days.

    This is a vision that seems real enough, although I have to wonder if some of you are going to be highly disappointed that you didn’t wait and take a breather.

    But why should that be, considering Leopard has some 316 new features and enhancements that cover the length and breadth of the operating system, from fancy eye-candy to increased levels of security? Whether you’re a consumer or businessperson, surely there’s plenty to delight in, right?

    At the same time, just because something is new and does more things that what it replaces doesn’t mean it’s better. I’ll grant that it just might be, and, in fact, I’m highly optimistic that it is.

    But I am absolutely going to ignore any comments from people who claim to have somehow been “privileged” to get their copies a day or two ahead of Leopard’s release date, or found an alleged “Golden Master” disk image on a peer-to-peer networking site. You see, I am not going to take any of that stuff seriously. While it’s possible a few copies of Leopard left Apple’s shipping plants early, by error or due to cute marketing trick, I prefer to wait for the real thing.

    When that happens, you’ll get a full report here, and, no doubt, you’ll be inundated with Leopard lore for weeks, and perhaps speculation about what member of the feline family will grace the installer DVD for 10.6. Indeed, some mainstream news outlets have already run official reviews of Leopard, since Apple relaxed their confidentiality agreements in a few cases.

    But should you “just wait,” as I said in the headline? Well, it’s look at this seriously.

    Many of you don’t use your Macs just to update your checkbooks, check email or organize your iTunes songs and videos. You actually use your Mac as a tool to get some work done. So you need something that is predictable and reliable, something you know will stay out of the way and allow you to be productive.

    It may well be that Leopard will be all that and more right out of the starting gate. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be some early release bugs that’ll cripple some functions or cause crashes with others. That’s the way with point-zero releases for any product, and when you find one that’s relatively free of such ills, consider yourself mighty lucky indeed.

    Even if Leopard is essentially devoid of a show-stopper — which would make it far better than Tiger when it came out — what about your third party software? Do you know that you’ll be able to process your images in Adobe Photoshop, prepare ads, books, brochures and magazines in Adobe inDesign or QuarkXPress? What about the “vertical” applications that you need to run your dental or legal office? Indeed, there are such tools on the Mac, even though a few Windows fanboys would prefer to tell you otherwise.

    Moreover, what about really old software that has served you well for years, through thick and thin and despite periodic updates to the Mac OS? Did know that the Classic environment will not be supported with Leopard? That’s not a conspiracy theory or just a guess (educated or otherwise) from some online tech commentator.

    Indeed, Apple has confirmed that Classic is history and not just for users of Intel-based Macs: “Classic applications do not work on Intel processor-based Macs or with Mac OS X 10.5. Upgrade your Mac OS 9 applications to Mac OS X versions. Check with an application’s manufacturer for more information.”

    All right, so you can add the end of Classic to the loss of support for the G3 and any G4 slower than 867MHz. I also understand that XPostFacto, the little utility that lets you install Mac OS X on unsupported hardware, probably won’t function at all under Leopard. I would hope this isn’t true, for the sake of those of you with older Macs that you want to keep running for a few more years with the latest and greatest.

    On the other hand, you cannot expect Apple to support older hardware and software forever. Consider Classic. Mac OS 9 came out eight years ago, and there has been more than enough time for most applications to get some sort of Mac OS X update. That, of course, doesn’t mean such updates will ever appear. Many companies that delivered products years ago are no longer in business, or have exited the Mac platform.

    If you depend on any of those applications to run your business, then you should stick with Tiger, at least for now. Yes, some third parties have experimented with ways to run Mac OS 9 on Intel-based Macs, and perhaps there will be ways to make it happen under Leopard. But I’m not expecting miracles, and no doubt there will be performance issues and unexpected bugs. Indeed, XPostFacto, through a great piece of work from programmer Ryan Rempel, had its share of issues, despite help from outside sources. On some Macs, sound never worked properly, and even then, performance was merely adequate.

    I realize that many of you will have to confront a serious dilemma here. Do you migrate to Leopard, even if you have to buy a new Mac to do it? Or do you stick with what you have, preserving the old applications that you’ve grown accustomed to all these years.

    Then, there’s nothing wrong with having an extra Mac around, right?



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    7 Responses to “Waiting for Leopard Book V: Should You Just Wait?”

    1. Jeff says:

      I had no idea that Classic support was going away. I hope that Apple makes 9.x a free download for those of us that still have a few older Macs lying around just in case we need to access an older application.

    2. I had no idea that Classic support was going away. I hope that Apple makes 9.x a free download for those of us that still have a few older Macs lying around just in case we need to access an older application.

      Well, one assumes you already have a system CD for the old Mac. I don’t think Apple is going to do that right away — though you never know with them. 😀

      Peace,
      Gene

    3. demiphonic says:

      hmmm after waiting so long there is another wait 🙁 …I need Adobe products to work with Leopard first & foremost. Hope that comes quickly.

      How soon till 10.5.1 on average?

    4. hmmm after waiting so long there is another wait 🙁 …I need Adobe products to work with Leopard first & foremost. Hope that comes quickly.

      How soon till 10.5.1 on average?

      We can start a new poll, but I’m going to suggest it’ll happen by December 1.

      Peace,
      Gene

    5. Dana Sutton says:

      What I’m going to do, if the installation disk will let me, is install Leopard on an external h. d., then boot from it. If all goes well, I have made a list of all the applications I need to get my work done. I’ll go down the list testing them. If all is well, then I’ll go ahead and install on my Mac. If something breaks, I won’t. And yes, a couple of key items are Adobe products and yes, that’s a bit scary in view of their recent foot-dragging. Way I look at it is this: it’s excusable that the developer of some utility gadget I use may need to play catchup, since he might not be able to afford registering as an official Developer. A big corporation like Adobe has no such excuse, no doubt they’ve had plenty of time to track Leopard’s development and react to any changes that affect the way their software works, so if some of their apps. break in Leopard they can’t claim to be surprised. Especially because of the prices they charge, users have a right to expect a very very swift updates.

    6. Matt says:

      We’ll, I am going to wait. When I left the dark side and bought my first Mac back in 2004 (iMac 17″ G5) it was already loaded with updated Panther and it worked just slick. I was so impressed at how little crashes I had compared to SE98, I really thought that Macs just worked that way all the time.

      So, I pre-ordered Tiger and the day it came out, it arrived in my mailbox. I installed it and lost my wireless connection. Nothing would work and I couldn’t “Undo” the installation. US Robotics said that it was Tiger; Apple said that it was the router. Nothing worked – except one thing – dumping everything and going back to Panther after doing a fresh re-install. Thank goodness I backed-up my hard drive before. Even after a few updates – Tiger still didn’t work with my router.

      So, knowing that the Tiger version I had (10.4.1) would not support my router, I waited until 10.4.4 was released, downloaded the update files (using Panther, stored them on my hard drive, and then installed Tiger and updated it off the saved downloads. It worked.

      I don’t need the same hassle and won’t be buying 10.5 until it gets to the 4th or later update. We now have 3 Macs in the hosue. Will I miss something? Maybe? But then again, as the article states, I want my Macs to work first, and be productive second. I can’t be productive if it doesn’t work.

    7. We’ll, I am going to wait. When I left the dark side and bought my first Mac back in 2004 (iMac 17″ G5) it was already loaded with updated Panther and it worked just slick. I was so impressed at how little crashes I had compared to SE98, I really thought that Macs just worked that way all the time.

      So, I pre-ordered Tiger and the day it came out, it arrived in my mailbox. I installed it and lost my wireless connection. Nothing would work and I couldn’t “Undo” the installation. US Robotics said that it was Tiger; Apple said that it was the router. Nothing worked – except one thing – dumping everything and going back to Panther after doing a fresh re-install. Thank goodness I backed-up my hard drive before. Even after a few updates – Tiger still didn’t work with my router.

      So, knowing that the Tiger version I had (10.4.1) would not support my router, I waited until 10.4.4 was released, downloaded the update files (using Panther, stored them on my hard drive, and then installed Tiger and updated it off the saved downloads. It worked.

      I don’t need the same hassle and won’t be buying 10.5 until it gets to the 4th or later update. We now have 3 Macs in the hosue. Will I miss something? Maybe? But then again, as the article states, I want my Macs to work first, and be productive second. I can’t be productive if it doesn’t work.

      You make some good points. For some of you, there’s no sense rushing until you have a better idea what’s going to happen when you click the Install button.

      Peace,
      Gene

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