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Mac OS X Leopard Review

After a relatively painless installation, I can now give an initial review of Mac OS X Leopard. Total upgrade time was roughly 1.5 hours.

Here’s a quick list of items that aren’t stressed in Apple’s marketing:

  • Terminal.app has tabs! No more messing with the slight quirkiness of iTerm.
  • My desktop background changed to a previous setting. Every time I changed it, a few minutes later, it would change back. I had to delete my desktop plist file then set the background again for it to stick.
  • Spotlight seems much faster.
  • Help menus have a search box as one of the menu items.
  • PHP 5 is installed but I still use MAMP. With PHP 6 right around the corner, MAMP will have it available before Apple does.
  • Spaces is very nice. It doesn’t have the nice transitions like Desktop Manager but it integrates nicely. Moving windows between desktops is easy. Clicking on a web address in one application will first bring you to the desktop where your browser is, then open the link. Clicking on a dock icon of an open app brings you to the desktop where the app window is open.
  • iCal doesn’t have the side pane anymore. Details for events and Tasks are viewed by double clicking and viewing a pop-up. I like the old way better but this isn’t too much of a hassle.
  • There is a red line going through the day and week views in iCal that marks the current time. Makes it easier to re-schedule all the stuff I missed earlier in the day.
  • The correct date is always displayed in the iCal dock icon even when iCal is closed.
  • The upgrade caused all printer settings to be lost.
  • Some of my Java apps randomly don’t hide when when pressing command-H.
  • Cover flow in the finder is really nice but not an efficient way to navigate by any means.
  • Overall system performance seems marginally faster.
  • System Preferences now auto-detects if I’m using an external keyboard or integrated MacBook Pro keyboard and uses the correct key-mappings.
  • VMware Fusion 1.1 beta works fine.
  • Image attachments in emails can be viewed easily as a slide show with quickview.
  • You still can’t build HTML signatures directly in Mail but it’s easy enough to do if you follow the steps outlined here.

So there you have it in a nutshell. One strange issue I do have is that I can’t seem to make a bootable backup of the Leopard DVD. I use a dual layer DVD, create an image, lock it (via ‘Get Info’) and it just never succeeds in burning the copy. Strange.

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