I’ve been using Leopard for well over a week now, 11 days to be precise, so what are my thoughts now?
OS X is going the right direction for an OS, with this release Apple are empowering developers with great API tools for optimal FS management and easier access to OpenGL graphic manipulation. I’m really looking forward to what FOSS and shareware developers are going to come up with over the next year.
An example of what their enhanced file system services is going to help with is the Mozy online backup app which I use to ensure that I still have my files even if Sheffield explodes. At the moment when it does a scheduled backup it has to scan the whole drive for changes. With Leopard and with the appropriate changes to Mozy’s code it will only have to ask the OS what files have changed since the last time it backed up.
With the re-tooled Spotlight I haven’t once pined for Quicksilver, which I have to admit I pretty much only ever used as an application launcher. Not only is the new Spotlight much much faster but it behaves in exactly the ways you hope. For instance if I type “Command+Space…F…I…R…E…Return” in quick succession (probably less than a second for the whole sequence) spotlight won’t bother to try and catch up in the GUI but will immediately close and load firefox. Perfect!
I haven’t found stacks useful at all. In fact the only idea I’ve come up with for using it turned out to not even be supported. With spotlight now being awesome I suddenly wanted to create a smart folder that showed all documents modified today, similar to “Today” under the “Search For” section of the finders sidebar, but with a few extra specifiers to lose some dreg. Problem is, drag a smart folder onto the dock and it doesn’t become a stack. It just sticks there as an alias. Poo.
I love the transparent menu bar when I use un-saturated background, hate it when I use colourful ones. I’ve gone all black-and-white for my desktop, it’s actually pretty cool, very seventh seal. The leopard dock is still a mess to my eyes, my favourite oddity is that those orbs that show which apps are loaded aren’t even orbs, if you look more closely they’re actually supposed to be spotlights with a reflection going through the glass. But the design is so fucked up that no one has even realised.
Many hate the new folder icons. I actually like them, I didn’t think much of the old pin-stripe ones, they always reminded me of random linux distributions. I’m all for subtle standard icons.
It’s nice to have Apache2 and PHP5.2 as default now, still not sure why mysql isn’t installed by default. That’s probably a me thing.
I’ve barely had any beach balls all week. Bliss!
It just seems to do stuff the instant you want it to!
The only performance related issue I have had is a network one. Apparently Leopard has some bandwidth shaping of sorts, it trys to priorities downloads and all that. Well, I think they need to check those notes because if I have Azureus download a torrent it cripples all other internet activity. Even if the torrent download is only coming very slowly and upload is capped at something like 5K it still fucks all internet activity up.
Really happy with it. Which is odd. When I was a windows user I would look forward to each new windows release even though expecting a slower system but hoping for lots of minor differences that I could explore and track down and go “woo that bit of text has changed.”
This is my first Mac OS upgrade (my first mac was just after Tiger) and it feels almost perverse for an OS upgrade to actually be optimized and faster. Those crazy 1 infinite loop guys.