An Architect's View

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An Architect's View

Leopard Compatibility

October 27, 2007 ·

I know a lot of people rushed to installed Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) last night and my friends found it very odd that I was not one of those early adopters. I've owned and used Macs day-in, day-out for almost two decades, since the early System 6 days. I've been through two changes of hardware (68000 to PPC, PPC to Intel) and several of the "major" O/S upgrades (I skipped System 8 and System 9, for reasons that anyone who actually used them will happily expound upon for hours!). I'm on my sixth or seventh Apple laptop and my fourth Apple desktop. I'm a huge fan boy. So why did I not pre-order Leopard and rush to install it?The same reason I haven't rushed to install any of Apple's major operating system updates: there are always compatibility problems. I love Apple but the fact is that they are not as concerned with backward compatibility as Microsoft (Vista not withstanding!). Apple break stuff and expect software vendors to play catch up because each O/S is (usually) a major step forward in user experience and productivity. Microsoft are terrified of breaking stuff and it's held them back with their operating systems. In fact, for all the bad press about Vista, I'd say it's the biggest improvement in user experience from Microsoft in decades - and of course it's the least compatible version they've ever released. Lots of stuff didn't run on Vista at first and, for all the jokes about the UAC and the additional resources it requires, it's selling well enough to to boost Microsoft's profits substantially. I run Vista on VMware and I don't hate it entirely. I run it in full default mode with UAC enabled and after the first couple of "Are you sure?" dialog boxes, I stopped being annoyed with it. So, back to Leopard. Why haven't I upgraded? Well, several of my favorite utilities don't run on Leopard (yet): Unsanity Software Compatibility Status (FruitMenu, ShapeShifter, WindowShade), MacRumors' list of incompatible applications (Growl plugins). Adobe has published a detailed CS3 compatibility guide (everything works except a few workflows in the video products and some minor stuff in Acrobat Reader and Professional). What about server software? What I'm hearing is that ColdFusion 8 won't talk to the updated version of Apache on Leopard (and some people can't even get the built-in server to run) and that MySQL has some problems starting up (until you manually create a symlink). My timeline for upgrading to Leopard is probably going to be January, once Adobe release Acrobat 8.1.2 and assuming Unsanity and MySQL both release compatibility updates. And maybe there will be a ColdFusion hotfix or updater by that point that addresses the Apache issue.

Tags: adobe · coldfusion · osx · personal

16 responses

  • 1 Michael Long // Oct 27, 2007 at 11:25 AM

    I used WindowShade for two things: window management and to "float" movie windows so I can watch stuff while I'm working at home.

    The float issue has been solved both in the DVD Player and in iTunes. Both have settings that let you keep the window on top.

    Much of WindowShade has to do with complexity management, and Spaces has handled that portion of the problem rather neatly. I have an "email/web" space, a development space (DW), a file management/system management space, and a graphics space (PS), each just a keystroke away.

    As to a ColdFusion hotfix, I'm not holding my breath...
  • 2 Sean Corfield // Oct 27, 2007 at 12:01 PM

    @Michael, I use WindowShade most often to make windows transparent so I work in one window while watching what is going on behind it. I rely on FruitMenu more than WindowShade - I have customized the Apple menu extensively and the context menus. And of course ShapeShifter is mostly to make the Mac "prettier". GrowliTunes would also be a pain to lose. I've tried a variety of virtual desktop products over the years and none of them really work for me so I don't know how I'll get on with Spaces. I'll find out in a few months once all the issues are sorted out to my satisfaction.
  • 3 Nitai Aventaggiato // Oct 27, 2007 at 12:32 PM

    Hi Sean

    I have upgraded my machine and all is running well. If you install Apache 2.2.4 and ColdFusion 8 you won't have any problems with the build in Apache. Anyhow, I never used the build in Apache since it always was a version 1.3 release.

    If you want to compile and get Apache nicely run on your MacOS X you can follow the instructions I wrote over at my blog. Here is the direct URL to the post:

    Hope this helps.
  • 4 Michael Long // Oct 27, 2007 at 12:45 PM

    Ummm... care to explain more about how you use FruitMenu?

    You know, of course, use System Preferences to add your own keyboard commands to most applications. I've also made a "shortcuts" folder for applications and documents that I need or frequently use and put it onto the new dock as a stack.

    Spotlight has also been sped up significantly, and with the first items dedicated to applications, makes a pretty good application launcher. Do command-space, type "disk", hit return, and bingo, Disk Utility is running.

    I think part of getting used to a new OS is letting go of old habits and experimenting a bit and seeing what it can do for you. Kind of like learning a new version of CF... (grin)
  • 5 dave // Oct 27, 2007 at 4:26 PM

    I totally disagree about the windows deal. You been an Apple boy I was a windows nugget and upgrading on windows was like sticking my p*cker in wood chipper then jumping in a pool of alcohol all while listing to Vince preach about MySpace, it was never even close to a decent experience. This is my 2nd upgrade on a mac and both have been pretty damn flawless.

    Leopard upgrade was pretty much as good as it gets. Put disk in, answered the few questions and bout 40 minutes later it was done & upgraded and all my stuff was right were it was.

    I have 156 programs installed and 2 (TWO) of them didn't work, if this was windows the number would be like 155 out of 156 wouldnt work lol.

    But seriously, at least in my case it couldn't have gone any better and this actually was the first time in my computer life that I actually wasnt afraid of upgrading an OS and Apple didn't let me down:)

  • 6 Sean Corfield // Oct 27, 2007 at 4:49 PM

    @Nitai, the whole point is I don't want to download and build a new copy of Apache. When an updated version of ColdFusion runs on Leopard, I'll upgrade. I can't be bothered wasting time screwing around doing manual crap when I have a perfectly good working system right now!

    @Michael, I don't use FruitMenu for keyboard shortcuts. I use it to restructure the Apple and context menus, adding items, making it easier to do certain organizational tasks. As for application launchers, I use QuickSilver (which does, mostly, run on Leopard I gather).

    @Dave, like I say, when ColdFusion, MySQL and a host of utilities that I use have been updated to work out of the box with Leopard, I'll put it on my shopping list...
  • 7 Russ Johnson // Oct 27, 2007 at 5:08 PM

    @Sean, Im not sure I completely agree with your statement about apple leaving 3rd party developers to play catch up. They do have the ADC program with those builds of the new OS released to the members of that program. Now I know that not all Mac software developers want to pay what Apple charges to have early access to those builds but at least they do make it available for those that want to have their applications working on the platform.
  • 8 Sean Corfield // Oct 27, 2007 at 6:55 PM

    @Russ, several software vendors have pointed out that between the latest pre-release builds and final release, Apple made changes that broke their software. This includes SoundBooth from Adobe, for example.
  • 9 dave // Oct 27, 2007 at 8:45 PM

    I shoulda guessed you were a "fruit menu" kinda guy!

    Fruit menu lol, i remember that one, I liked tiger menu better but have since taken all that out and gone to launchbar.

    I but I know.. I know... that you are just into fruity software ;)~
  • 10 Scott Barnes // Oct 28, 2007 at 5:52 AM

    Nice post Sean :)

    One of the big delays around Vista launch was we had to reset the code 2 years in. That pushed things back as the architects opted for a better approach.

    UAC is one of these things that people throw out there, but I often wonder why not turn it off if it irratates you? I put it to all that it's the devil you know, instead of the one you don't (UAC may annoy but it's like security at LAX.. total human violation, but apparently it's safer that way).

    My question is "what huge gains does one get going from Tiger to the Leopard?". I've just got an iMac, about to buy a Macbook Pro and my Leopard CD's are on their way.. Yet I look at the website and do a bit of a gap analysis and i'm wondering what the real gains here are? (So far some UI updates and versioning?)

    Does Apple involve software vendors in the pre-release cycle(s)? in that at least with Windows Vista we gave folks lots of time to 'catchup' (driver certification, software compatiblity testing etc).

    Scott Barnes
  • 11 Sean Corfield // Oct 28, 2007 at 7:45 AM

    @Scott, re: UAC - the first Vista install I did, I turned it off (along with lots of other stuff) to see if I could coax more speed out of Vista on Parallels. Then I switched to VMware Fusion and reinstalled Vista (on "new" hardware so I had to reactivate - but the MS support lady was very nice and helpful on the phone!) and I left UAC on. I find it only marginally more annoying than OS X's "authenticate" dialog (when you need administrator privilege). And, yes, I feel much safer with UAC enabled.

    re: involving software vendors in pre-release cycle(s)... based on the posts on some of the CS3 Adobe blogs, it sounds like they were pretty involved with Leopard prior to release.

    re: what huge gains... spaces, stacks, time machine, dashboard web clip, screen sharing...
  • 12 Scott Barnes // Oct 28, 2007 at 9:11 PM

    I turn my UAC off as at times it can screw with Install Wizards that are automated per say.

    I get my feline next week, i'll update my blog from a .NET / CF geeks perspective as It would be good to share the learnings etc.

    Totally into VMWare I find memory allocation better than parallels.. don't ask why.. just *feels* better.
  • 13 Adam Haskell // Oct 29, 2007 at 4:05 AM

    Not to start the jboss talk <a href="">again</a> but couple of us upgraded to leopard running jboss + apache with no issues ;) Of course given the choice of jboss or websphere installed on my computer jboss will always be better haha!
  • 14 Scott Stroz // Oct 29, 2007 at 5:55 AM

    I actually applaud Apple for putting the onus on the software vendors to update the software for newer OS versions. They feel they have a superior product and will not allow sub-par products to bring down the rep of the OS.

    However, could you imagine the sh*t storm that would occur if MS did the same thing?
  • 15 Sean Corfield // Oct 29, 2007 at 8:59 AM

    Question: would you upgrade your production server to a new O/S without testing it on at least one test server first?

    If the answer is "no" (and I sure hope it would be), why would you upgrade your critical development machine without doing the same testing? Especially in the middle of a project (as at least one person has done).

    I guess I don't understand why people don't seem to treat their primary development box with the same sensibilities they (should) apply to their production box...
  • 16 Sean Corfield // Nov 1, 2007 at 9:06 PM

    Joannou Ng posted an insanely long link to their blog post about getting MySQL working again after an archive and install upgrade to Leopard. Here's the tiny URL: