Thank you, Apple



I installed Macintosh OS X 10.5 Leopard on all my Macs today. When you upgrade an OS, you always expect to lose some system settings and have some applications that don’t like the new OS. As a result, I chose to install Leopard on my PowerBook G4 first. It has tons of software and I customized it to the max, so I naturally expected to spend a while tweaking it after the upgrade to get an idea of what I can expect when I upgrade my other computers.

The upgrade took about an hour, and when it was done, it was EXACTLY like it was before. I spent about 2 hours running every program, checking all my system settings, etc. Absolutely everything migrated perfectly. There was no learning curve either - the Dock and Finder look much better and have better features, but they are in the same spots you would normally expect them as an OS X user. The new features (Spaces, Time Machine, etc.) were easy to figure out in less than 10 seconds (Time Machine is very cool - the easiest backup system I have ever seen - I just need to wait for it to make more backups before I can play with it more).

The only thing that freaked me out right after the upgrade was that the CPU ran at 100% most of the time, but the applications in Activity Monitor didn’t add up to 100% (only about 30%), so there must have been some hidden process. Plus, the system still ran applications at regular (fast) speed while the CPU was running at 100% (which is not what normally happens when CPU usage is 100% - it should be dirt slow). I was thinking “Oh shit, they made the OS power hungry like Vista.”, but after 15 minutes, it went down to normal (about 5-15% CPU usage on my PowerBook).

After that time, ALL of my programs opened and ran faster than before! I spent even more time playing with every application I had to verify this - it was a big difference from before - I am guessing 50-100% faster in almost all my applications - THANK YOU APPLE! I noticed that when I rebooted the laptop, that there was a message along the lines of “Updating the Boot Cache”, so Leopard probably has some cool caching structure that speeds things up. This explains the 100% CPU usage right after installation that didn’t affect the system - Apple probably has a system process that doesn’t show up anywhere (e.g. Activity Monitor) that indexes certain things passively in the background - this would use CPU time only if no other process was using it. I wonder how long it will take Microsoft to rip this feature off…..

I upgraded the other Macs with the same result, except for my PowerMac G5. The upgrade said it was successful on the PowerMac G5, but when I booted I got a kernel panic and I couldn’t boot from DVD or in Safe Mode until I reset the PRAM and SMU (pain in the ass!). I actually had to do another install, disable my Moodle database account, and change the ownership of my files to the right UID using chown. This is not something a novice user could do, and I am sure there are some pissed off people out there. Of course, that is entirely Apple’s fault because it is a glitch that could have been prevented with proper testing.

Overall, I can’t really complain because Leopard exceeded my expectations. It has everything a good OS should have, more specifically:

  • It has application compatibility (I have yet to find an application that doesn’t work)
  • It makes your system FASTER! (It is like the Anti-Vista!)
  • It migrates all of your settings beautifully
  • It has no learning curve, so you can continue to do your work immediately after the upgrade

Not a bad piece of software. I am appreciating it more and more as I continue to use it (even to do this blog).