Advantages of Leopard

I am no “early adopter”, but I am curious to learn from the experiences of others.

So, question to those who are already in the realm of the Leopard: What do you consider - for you - the greatest advantage of using the new OS? Is there something that would make it worth it even if the rest was not there? Is there a “killer feature”?

And are there things that disappoint you? Things you miss? Things that were better in Tiger?

(I admit, I am an “early interrogator”. But maybe this thread is around for longer…)

Hi Andreas,

Well, because I pay for developer access, I have been using Leopard for a few months now, and for the past two or three months it has been mostly feature-complete. I have to say that I love it. I have just finished downloading the GM version (Apple seeded it to developers at the same time as releasing it in stores) and will install it as my primary OS later today. Though actually, I’ve been using it as my primary OS for a while.


For a start, there is nothing that was better in Tiger. At first I didn’t like the new darker interface, so I reckon some folk will complain about that to begin with, but now I much, much prefer it. Tiger looks washed out by comparison. It’s also great to have a unified interface at last (excepting the iApps… I have no idea why they have completely different scroll bars, but there you go).

Superb. At last the Finder feels modern and a joy to use. I hated the old, brushed-metal thing. And Cover Flow, which at first I thought was just a gimmick, is absolutely fantastic for quickly browsing through image and movie files. In conjunction with QuickLook, it’s great for browsing through pretty much any type of file. (Scrivener, for instance, will show the synopses of the draft in QuickLook.)

Much, much faster.

Killer Feature
Hmm… I’m not 100% sure there is one. To me, Leopard feels like a much more mature version of Tiger. Everything that was great about Tiger has been kept and the stuff that was annoying on Tiger - mainly the lack of a consistent UI - has been fixed.

• Time Machine. I don’t know what I was expecting when I saw this demo’d on the the 2006 WWDC video, but I guess they didn’t make it explicit that you would need an external hard drive. I suppose it makes sense, but this pretty much cripples the feature for me. I have an external hard drive, but I just make manual backups via iMSafe (or however you capitalise it). I just don’t connect to my external hard drive often enough for Time Machine to be useful to me.
• Mail. I was excited about notes and to-do items when I saw them demo’d on the WWDC 2006 video. On that video, Steve Jobs said something about how there was going to be an SDK for the to-dos so that they would be system-wide and developers would be able to implement them easily in their own apps. Well, I don’t find To-Dos and Notes half as useful as I thought I would. I expected to be able to drag e-mails into the To-Do area and have them automatically become a to-do item, and then be able to add some notes to them. No such luck. Notes, e-mails and to-dos all seem very separate, as though they are three separate applications banged together without much thought about true integration. Very much tacked on. I have used To-Dos a couple of times to try them out, but I think I’ll be using Jesse Grosjean’s TaskPaper instead from now on. Stationery is pretty nice, but I doubt I’ll ever use the feature.
• Text System. This is the main disappointment to me. There are a lot of under-the-hood tweaks and bug fixes, but from a user perspective the text system hasn’t really changed since Tiger. Tables are still a buggy mess, as are bullet points. There have been no improvements to RTF or DOC import or export, and, even worse, Apple have introduced new DOCX and Open Office import/export that has the same limitations as DOC etc (no support for images and so on). The only noticeable difference is the addition of grammar checking, and that’s a feature I never use anyway. What about better styles support? A built-in page layout view? And so forth. I was part-way through developing Scrivener when I upgraded to Tiger, and I was suddenly able to add support for bullets, tables and headers and footers while printing. Grammar checking is all that has come “for free” with Leopard.

All in all, when I sit down and try to think about what is great about Leopard over Tiger, I can’t think of much. There is nothing in itself that is an absolute killer. However, Leopard seems to be greater than the sum of its parts. As a user experience, it blows Tiger out of the water. It just feels so much more polished, modern, fast, smart… From interaction with the bug reporting system, I also know there are literally thousands of minor bugs that have been squashed.

Hope that helps. :slight_smile:

I’m going to hold off on Leopard for now because both of my current machines are nearing the end of their lives, but I’m also curious which features I’m going to end up liking.

When Tiger came out, I thought I was going to use Spotlight constantly but Dashboard was just a toy. It turns out I use Dashboard a hundred times a day and almost never use Spotlight.

Funny – for me it’s the other way round. What do you use dashboard for?

The interface is definitely an improvement. The Finder enhancements are also pretty nice. I generally use Path Finder but I really like the new Finder. Spaces is also nice. Finally OSX has a basic function that most Linux distros have had for years.

After 24 hours of experience with Leopard I can sum up my initial reaction (based on expectations) like this.

  • Speed: Snappier than Tiger. Not a lot, but feels more … fluid. Mail and Safari are definately faster.
  • Look: Mature, consistent - I like it a lot.
  • Finder: Yes, Cover Flow is more helpful than I expected, and the new sidebar seems to be useful, too.
  • Spaces: Not as useful as I had imagined, but I think it’s a keeper for my way of working.
  • Stacks: BIG disappointment. Earlier Apple had advertised them like this: Drag a few files in the dock and they become a stack. Not anymore - only possible with folders. And they work WORSE compared with Tiger - you can’t browse through subfolders anymore. You can work around this by using aliases … which is exactly how configured my Apple menu back in OS 8.6 … great. :confused: I hope stacks improve over time. They better do …
  • Killer Feature: For me that’s Quick Look, when I realized it does not only work in Cover Flow, but with any selected object anywhere on the desktop or in the finder. I don’t use Spotlight that often, I rather dig through folders and files, because I usually keep everything in place. :wink: Quick Look is the perfect help.

Haven’t used Time Machine yet, but will add another external drive for this purpose sometime … my 4th. Hm … I AM paranoid.

In the end - another release that successfully distinguishes itself from its predecessor by adding new features and offering general improvements in speed (at least in my case on a Core Duo) and UI. For my way of working it’s an improvement for sure.

This is worth a look if you are thinking about holding off on installing Leopard. … th_Leopard


Jolanth, the widgets I use on my laptop are Backpack, Weather, and Gmail. On my desktop, it’s also EasyEnvelopes, Delivery Status, and something else I can’t remember.

I’m loving Time Machine just because it’s there. Chronosync was my backup plan of choice most recently, but I like that TM does it pretty much all by itself - no real set up or anything other than to designate which hard drive to use.

What I was most looking forward to and what I’m now most enamored of is a combo of Coverflow and QuickLook. Even though I name my research files with fairly clear content names, I have so much that a quick flip through CF/QL will reveal the file I’m looking for remarkably fast. A great number of my research files are in the form of PDFs and it’s fantastic to be able to page through a PDF to find the info-bit I’m looking for without having to open any other program.

(Yes, I also use Devonthink Pro Office, but for a quick look nothing beats Quick Look. :wink: )

I jumped in with both feet and installed Leopard on Friday. Yes, it looks nice - I love the new Finder experience, but I had a pig of a time with the installation on my iMac and, judging from the Apple Support forums, so did many others. With hindsight, I wouldn’t be so quick to install a new OS next time!

My advice to anyone thinking about installing now would be:

(1) Do thorough backups first. I know this seems obvious but it’s easy to cut corners in this area, especially if (like me) you assume that because it’s Apple it will ‘just work’. This time it didn’t and I had a few anxious hours thinking about the stuff I hadn’t backed up!

(2) Read some of the discussion forums. It seems that the problem-free installs are those where an ‘archive and install’ is done, but this is not the default setting (standard upgrade is the default).

I’m not knocking Leopard, it’s really nice - I would just advise some caution and some good housekeeping before you dive in :slight_smile:

As has been mentioned on another thread, the source of many problems when “upgrading” (as opposed to a clean install, or archive and install) is older versions of Unsanity’s APE haxie framework, or other low-level system tweakers that play around with OSX’s internal organs, so to speak.

Anyone who’s ever run something so low-level on their Mac should of course do either a clean or archive installation, to avoid system problems.

The Upgrade method of installation assumes two things: [a] that your system is clean, and [b] if your system isn’t clean, then the haxie authors should at least have written their code so that it won’t work on a non-recognised system. Unfortunately, older versions of APE don’t do this :\

Spaces rocks. I love having my work in one window, and still keep my email and browser open, neatly arranged, and completely out of the way. And what’s even cooler? I can have Scriv (or WriteRoom) open in full-screen mode and still switch to another desktop-space-thing. I love, love, love it.

Quicklook is also very, very nice, and it will encourage me to do some of the cleanup I’ve been avoiding on my hard disk (I have a couple hundred articles downloaded from JSTOR all with stupid filenames like “0-1.pdf”). And it turns out that Coverflow in the finder is really useful.

The now super-speedy Spotlight and Dashboard have made my computer-life much easier, too. I’m using the Dashboard 10x more than I had previously, and it is fast enough that I don’t regret every time I tap F12.

Like Keith, I’m quite sad that the text system isn’t improved. I was hoping (and hoping and hoping) that Apple would support footnotes. Alas, they continue to thumb their collective nose at me.

Oh, of my installs (3 of them), two were default upgrades and they both went flawlessly. I’d recommend it again. The third, I’m blaming on playing with Linux via Bootcamp: the installer couldn’t install on my main partition at all. Luckily I had a 100% up-to-date clone, so I just wiped the drive clean, installed and then ran the migration assistant. The net result is virtually the same as a default upgrade.

Unless you’ve installed haxies (I have not), I wouldn’t worry about the default upgrade. Just run it and be happy. But as with anytime you’re making massive changes to your computer, back up first. You should back up anyway, as Time Machine seems to be teaching us.

Wanted to add that I did do an Archive and Install, not just a plain Install. I read around first to discover what was recommended; most of the geekier sites I read said to do a Clean Install (after a backup, of course!) but I just couldn’t bring myself to do that.

I did do a full bootable backup using SuperDuper! first. I also checked for any of the files that seemed to be causing problems. Since I rarely install anything other than main programs (I read about them, I just don’t install them), I didn’t run into the APE problem.

One note of ‘awareness’: toward the end of the Install it will say “about one minute” remaining. IT LIES! That one minute was 14 minutes long for me. Good thing I’m patient. :wink:

In concert with what others have said, I agree with the disappointments over TextEdit. I was hoping for some additions, not just tweaks. Alas…

I love love love Time Machine. I am one of these stupid people that never backs up because it’s too hard, or I don’t have any CDs on hand, or “My Mac never has problems!” I love that I just plugged in the external hard disk and my Mac asked, “Wanna use this for Time Machine?” And away it went… taking care of everything for me.

I really like Stacks, particularly in concert with my Downloads folder. I just click on Stacks to see the last thing I downloaded (which isn’t always at the top of the folder view).

I haven’t quite mastered Spaces yet, probably because I put all my work stuff (Scrivener, Word, Yojimbo) in one space and all my Internet stuff, like chat, in another space… and I am constantly switching between them. But when I’m not chatting with someone, the work space is quite nice.

QuickLook (which lets you peek inside a document without having to open the app) is wonderful.

But Time Machine is made of win, as far as I’m concerned.

ETA: I forgot the biggest win feature of all!

In now, if you get a mail message with a date or time in it, you put your mouse over the date or time and a little pop-up menu appears with a menu item “Create new iCal event…” Adding stuff to my calendar is now 100 times easier!

The most annoying thing about this whole APE situation is that a lot of people don’t even realize it may be installed. It’s all too easy to let oneself sound like “Bwahaha, you fool, installing unsupported haxies on your system, you deserve it!,” but that’s not always the case.

I haven’t installed Leopard yet, but on some weird whim I did a search on my fairly new and tidy iMac for “Application Enhancer,” and – lo and behold, it had been installed. Apparently Logitech’s mouse driver installs it, and I had briefly installed it before deciding not to use that mouse on the new machine. I’d uninstalled the Logitech driver, but it left the APE stuff installed.

Fortunately it was the “new” version that wouldn’t have caused the BSOD, but still, I stripped it out of my system. I would bet a lot of people suffering the BSOD problems don’t even realize they have a haxie installed on their system or that it’s something they should have looked into updating. :confused:

Absolutely correct, cooner. I’m a big fan of Unsanity - WindowShadeX is invaluable to me - but they screwed up big time here. And Logitech should be hauled over the coals for using something so potentially disruptive and wholly unsupported in their products without at least informing the user first.

Gruber has a good overview of the situation:

Wow, that’s insane that Logitech would base their driver on a haxie.

Antony - I miss the window shade feature available on nearly every unix window manager except OSX but have always been fearful of the APE. Now that I’m running Leopard I’m even more weary.

Well, to be fair to Unsanity, the Tiger version of APE has never caused me any problems. I’m confident that when they produce a Leopard version, it’ll be perfectly stable. And WSX really is brilliant.

Heh heh, Gruber is THE MAN. I was reading a bunch of Leopard reviews that afternoon but I’m pretty sure it was his article that got me to check for APE on my system in the first place …

I must agree,That was a cool interview :: I also encountered the same problem, although with the help of many people.
But I do not always feel satisfied.Apart from the outside you.