Wait To Upgrade To Leopard

Nov 6th, 2007 | By | Category: General

Podcasting pioneer Dave Winer writes on his blog that Leopard “is not a good operating system release.”

Winer compares the Leopard update to Windows:

“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.”

Our experience mirrors Winer’s. Leopard installed fine on an eMac, but lost many of our preferences on a iBook. Worst of all, Leopard bricked our Powerbook. The root of the problem we encountered updating our Powerbook appears to have been related to using passwords longer than 8 characters. That harkens back to Windows 3.1.

Winer’s experience and ours are far from unique. Others are pointing out bugs that could cause data loss and even comparing Leopard to Vista.

We didn’t lose any data from the updates because of backups, but we’ve lost a lot of time and haven’t been impressed by many of the tweaks to the OS and interface. The changes to the dock are a big step backward, the menu bar is borderline unreadable and the feature we were the most interested in, Time Machine, hasn’t proven to work reliably over our wireless network to a shared drive. In fact, Time Machine reminded us how much more capable third-party backup solutions for Macs were 10 years ago.

Because of the lack of compelling new features in Leopard and the inability to customize interface elements for better usabilty, you may want to wait until Leopard gets updated before you upgrade.

Update: We’re not the only ones suggesting waiting to upgrade to Leopard. Tony Celeste of Tom’s Guide writes “Mac OSX Leopard was released before it was ready. This operating system was not properly beta tested, and Apple’s customers are paying for it, with lost productivity and inoperative computers.”

Update 2: PC Week says Leopard is the new Vista, citing the unnecessary graphics glitz in Leopard, Leopard’s pointless interface “fixes”, like the excessive use of translucency (translucent menu bar, anyone) that can’t be disabled, and bundled apps that suck. We wouldn’t go that quite thatfar – but they make good points.

6 Responses to “Wait To Upgrade To Leopard”

  1. Murphy says:

    Hunh! My wife and I have had no problems at all with Leopard on either her MacBook or my PPC Mac.

  2. info says:


    Glad it’s working for you. Do you think it offers any compelling reason to upgrade immediately?

  3. Cali Lewis says:

    Dave Winer is a hardcore developer, so it makes sense that he’ll be more critical than the rest of us.

    Leopard has a few obvious, life-changing additions like Cover Flow and Quick Look, but for me it’s about all the tiny little changes that just make sense. There are so many that I discover a new one almost every day.

    Yesterday, I clicked on a file name to change it. When you do that in Leopard, only the filename (not the extension) is highlighted. That’s brilliant and obvious and one of multitudes of little things that make Leopard a joy to use.

    It isn’t bug free. I’ve had crashes, but it’s definitely worth the upgrade.

  4. Murphy says:

    Perhaps there aren’t BIG compelling reasons to upgrade, but like Cali, I’d have to say there are numerous small tweaks that make it worth it.

    I like Quick Look and Spaces a great deal.

  5. Rob Blatt says:

    Mail.app was a reason for me, alongside improvements to the OS. Spotlight is improved by leaps and bounds, Quick Look makes Preview obsolete imo, and networking amongst other Macs is much easier. The reason to upgrade is the evolution of the operating system.

    Again though, I point out that you’re not using the term brick correctly. Another thought: you haven’t changed your password since 2002? That’s the only people that the password bug affects. /snark

  6. Roy says:

    I had issues with Leopard as an upgrade install../ several big ones. Lost years of photos thinking my backup was in good hands.

    I did a downgrade to tiger… after speaking to a few people about it… the suggestion was to do a clean install… this was a big help.

    Thus far no issues… save one: There seems to be issues with external drives. Since the clean install I received a prompt saying that a file name was too big when trying to add a file to an external volume – obviously this was not the case. Moments later when I tried I got an error code (-51 or -55 not sure which).

    When this happened the first time under the initial upgrade install I went to Disk Utility and tried to verify permissions and Very Disk… it couldn’t complete the task.

    This time I simply restarted the issue vanished before doing anything else.

    My iMac 17 1.83 core duo 2gig ram is no doubt much more responsive than with Tiger. No official tests but it is not as sluggish. My Macbook pro 15 2.0 was painfully slow at startup under the upgrade install… the clean install made a big difference here too. I blink and there’s the desktop. Ah… that’s the way it should be.

    I must agree with the author… no rush to upgrade. I was happy with Tiger. There are things in Leopard I am not please with and the “improvements” are not really helping when they don’t work well – time machine for example. The only thing it did was thus far was waste time.

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