28 October, 2007

Apple OS X 10.5 Leopard Upgrade Experiences

Just a few days ago, on 26 October, 2007, I received my 5 license copy of OS X 10.5 "Leopard" via FedEx. I quickly wanted to share my upgrade experiences to this, the newest incarnation of Apple's Unix operating system. I say Unix with a capital U because as of this newest version, Apple joins the ranks of HP, IBM and Sun as having a fully certified (Unix 2003 Standard) Unix operating system. No longer is it simply "Unix based" or "Unix Like", huzzah to Apple for this endeavour.

The upgrade was simple enough on my primary machine, a Core Duo MacBook Pro with 2 GB of ram. Inserted the Dual Layer DVD and walked away. Everything was updated when I came back, and after all of that, only two simple plugins didn't work 100%, Growl, and SizzleKeys for iTunes. Either way, the Growl team is working on this, so no worries.
Before I go into my experiences, I will state that when I went to upgrade my son's Quicksilver (PowerMac G4 933), I found that the DVD drive (being a previous generation) was rejecting the DVD so, being thankful that this was a Macintosh, I didn't panic. I pulled out a firewire cable, plugged on end into the PowerMac and the other into my MacBook Pro. Held the T key down on the MBP, Powered on, and the PowerMac now booted into Leopard from the MBP's DVD Drive. I decided to do a full install from scratch for this computer and it proved to be almost as quick as the install on the MBP.

The first thing I noticed upon booting was the finder, and how it auto mounted all the computers in the network that it could find. This was all done in the background, via separate threads in the OS, so no locking up like previous editions. It even found and mounted window shares (I have to say that the icon for a windows share (a BSOD or Blue Screen of Death)) is rather an amusing jab at MS. As juvenile as it is, it made me laugh. In our house, serious machines for Software Development, Art, Music, Work, et al, are all Macs and the game machine (for Civilization 4) is a windows box. Accessing any of those machines was simple and quick. And since I had setup my son's machine with Parental Controls on, I was even able to click a button to share his screen via a VNC connection. Very smooth Apple, VERY smooth.
Time Machine is as simple as it gets. There happens to be, connected to the PowerMac, a 160 GB firewire external drive hooked up which Time Machine instantly saw and after accepting its choice, everything was done in regarding to backing up the machine on a regular basis. I've yet to restore any documents, but I don't doubt that it will work exactly as advertised by Apple, as so many other things do (if they didn't, I wouldn't be working on Apples, but back on a FreeBSD machine).

Coverflow and Quickview are options that I can already see as coming in handy. While graphic intesive and eye-candyish, they are nonetheless very useful.
The multiple desktop features which has been around in KDE and Gnome amongst other window managers for ages is finally available on the mac, though now that I work on a multi-display setup most of the time, I don't see myself as using this. My 1440x900 & 1600x1200 displays provide sufficient real estate.
There are many more features which I could discuss in great depth, but I'll leave that after I've utilised them more.

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