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.