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Brier Dudley's Blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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October 29, 2007 9:52 AM

Word's out: Apple's Leopard still too buggy

Posted by Brier Dudley

A reader in Texas made an interesting comment on last week's post about Apple being rushed to finish Leopard:

Very disappointing. Leopard has bugs, bugs and more bugs. No print drivers survived the upgrade. Photoshop CS3 and InDesign CS crash when working together. ICC profiles are gone. Mail has no stationary [sic] as proclaimed, and if there is something to do to make it appear in the interface I can't find it, nor find documentation about it. I have had the system less than a day and am still exploring. Bottom line: I want my old system back, and I want to return the family pack of 5 licenses for a single license. It will not be installed on my notebook or children's computers.

I didn't call the comment out at first, because I wasn't sure if it was a firebomb. But now even the Apple priests are saying Leopard's buggy -- so much so they're advising people to hold off upgrading.

The Unoffical Apple Weblog summed it up on a podcast, then posted highlights today:

If you have only one computer and it's your production machine, don't upgrade. The 10.5 upgrade is a big one -- not a small update, not a few bug fixes. Lots of stuff gets broken and if you need to keep getting your work done, just wait. Let a few dot releases ease things out.

If you work with Adobe software and need your software to work reliably, don't upgrade. Apple didn't get its gold master out to third party developers in time for the upgrade path to proceed smoothly. Everything was rush, rush, rush. Developers simply did not have the time to work with the final product and make sure their apps would be compatible. If you need Acrobat (and I do) or In Design, you need Tiger. Don't upgrade to Leopard.

That makes it just embarrassing that Apple built a nasty jab at Windows into Leopard -- the visualization of a PC as a dowdy old monitor displaying a crashed system that Anil Dash ripped into Sunday, and he didn't even note the bugs or Leopard's own "blue screen" issue.

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Posted by Kevin

11:01 AM, Oct 29, 2007

Can't wait to hear the apple apologist's defend this one!!

Posted by Jeff Carlson

12:36 PM, Oct 29, 2007

Okay, I'll bite. (Glenn Fleishman and I wrote the review of Leopard that appeared in Saturday's Times.) Is the commenter actually using Leopard?

I upgraded my main Mac to Leopard Saturday morning. I'm at the end of a book project and using Photoshop CS3 and InDesign CS3 heavily without any crashes.

In the Mail application, click New Message. At the top-right corner is a button labeled Show Stationery; click it and you've got the templates.

As for the "blue screen" problem, the cause has been identified as a utility called Application Enhancer by Unsanity; the people experiencing this problem are running old versions (the latest, 2.0.3 moves aside gracefully during a Leopard install). See:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=306857
http://www.unsanity.org/archives/haxies/leopard.php

I have no doubt that people are running into problems: that happens with every OS update, on every platform. But wait before issuing blanket judgments based on a couple of people's experiences.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman

12:50 PM, Oct 29, 2007

As Jeff notes, Application Enhancer was updated after Leopard was released -- Apple didn't release the final version of the operating system to developers until Friday evening -- but the version that shipped in March 2007 also doesn't crash Leopard.

I was able to crash my first install of the full release version of Leopard, but I realized I was using a third-party video card that, although from one of the same firms Apple uses for its own video cards, had caused me some problems in the past. Removing the card solved the problem; not ideal as the vendor doesn't provide updated drivers as happens in the Windows world, often.

Given that Jeff and I received a bunch of angry email because we stated (accurately) that Microsoft had built a number of security features into Vista before Apple built similar or identical features into Leopard, we'll probably now receive angry emails for "defending" Apple.

There's a lot of fearmongering among Mac-oriented Web sites for reasons we're not sure of. Macworld is a notable exception. Their editorial chief, Jason Snell, noted that in their very popular discussion forums, they're not seeing waves and waves of problems reported. They have seen that in the past. Panther crashed my and Jeff's machine repeatedly -- the very first release of 10.3 was incompatible with the RAM upgrades we put in. INCOMPATIBLE WITH THE RAM. Just had to say that again. Panther resulted in lots of people's machines being put into unusable states.

Apple provided better guidance on RAM and suppliers provided swapouts. (Turns out Apple had been providing specifications for years, but RAM that didn't conform exactly would still work prior to Panther.)

I'm not sure where the idea that Apple rushed to finish Leopard came from. The fact that they opted to delay it to finish the iPhone doesn't equate to a rushed finish.

I'm currently running Leopard on a 4 1/2 year old Power Mac G4, and it's not crashing (since the video card fix) and works faster to my eye and hand than Tiger did before it.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman

1:03 PM, Oct 29, 2007

One more note: Although Jeff and I didn't explicitly note this in our review, I would suggest that anyone thinking of upgrading to Leopard wait until they are positive that all the applications and add-ons that they rely on are compatible with Leopard or that Leopard upgrades have been released.


For internally attached hardware or specific niche external hardware (such as my video card, which I just checked and ATI has released upgrades drivers for previous Mac OS X releases), I would recommend waiting until there is confirmation from the hardware maker that it's Leopard compatible.


For devices connected via USB or FireWire, there should be few or no problems, although a piece of scanning software could require an update.

Posted by Brier

1:17 PM, Oct 29, 2007

My p-tech pals weigh in, awesome. Thanks for providing more details.

I don't think it's fearmongering for the Apple enthusiast sites to note there are some problems.

The glitches are unusual for a company with a reputation for putting out such polished, consumer-friendly products (and harsh for one that gleefully points out the competition's challenges ...). The contrast between that reputation and the experience of Randy, the commenter from Texas, is pretty stark.

TUAW mentioned clashes with some pretty significant apps in the Mac world, seems like a big deal if it's not ready to run Acrobat and InDesign for whatever reason, although AAPL investors apparently could care less.

Posted by Shannon

1:23 PM, Oct 29, 2007

I've upgraded four systems now, all different. Mac Mini, white cased iMac, new Silver iMac and a MacBook Pro. All went perfect without a single hitch so I don't get what people are saying. I don't think I was just lucky, I think it's because Leopard is fine. I know there are going to be bugs but I haven't experienced any yet.

Posted by chris

5:39 PM, Oct 29, 2007

i wonder who spreads all this FUD...

installed 10.5 on saturday - and not even clean install or achive and istall, but just lazy upgrade (after cloning the disk obviously) - been playing around with it for two days now, no lockups, no crashes, very few interface rendering glitches, haven't found an app yet that will *not* run.

and yes, i've been working nearly all day today with photoshop and indesign CS3 open and even briefly checked acrobat (which was faster then ever!)

as for not installing it on a mission critical production machine, well, duh, words fail me that you even have to point this out.

chris

Posted by fog city dave

10:34 PM, Oct 29, 2007

Nice to see major newspapers condemning products based on anecdotal evidence and the advice of an unofficial blog. Good work.

Posted by zato

3:57 AM, Oct 30, 2007

"i wonder who spreads all this FUD..."

Microsoft. The grandmasters of FUD. Brier Dudley is a Microsoft tool. The person he quotes with the "problems" is just someone commenting here, named Randy Moore. Did Brian check out this guy? I'll bet he didn't. I'll even bet that Randy Moore IS Brian Dudley, if there really is a Brier Dudley. It's all very well done, very professional BLACK PR. Look at the comment Brier adds above after Glenn Fleishman responds. The one that ends-"although AAPL investors apparently could care less". Really, Brian? They couldn't care less? How do you know this?
This is UGLY Black PR.
It's what MicroSoft does best. If only they had Software writers half as good.
When it comes to computer/IT news, Microsoft controls almost all of it on the net. Even many of the Mac sites are controlled by MS.

Posted by Sky-Ho

7:04 AM, Oct 30, 2007

"Brier Dudley is a Microsoft tool. "

You can certainly say that again. "Swiftboating" operating systems, what a moron.

Posted by Kris

8:02 AM, Oct 30, 2007

It's entirely possible that some people installing this update are having issues. It's bound to happen with all the different software and hardware combinations out there.

Just for the record, I've installed Leopard on two machines in my house now and the install went perfectly, the first time I installed I wasn't even home for most of it - came back to a new machine :)

The features are great, it's the little things that I didn't expect (like Help, RSS in Mail, and built-in support for all my peripherals) that I appreciate the most.

No problems installing on a G4 Powerbook and a G5 iMac.

Posted by David Geller

8:33 AM, Oct 30, 2007

Installed on five computers so far. Painless process and flawless operation. I'm surprised there's not more written about how easy the upgrade process is compared to previous versions of OS X and Microsoft operating systems.

Posted by Lawrence

9:24 AM, Oct 30, 2007

"..seems like a big deal if it's not ready to run Acrobat and.."
Sounds like a double standard to me. Both MS and Apple have developer programs that provide ample technical information to ISVs developing applications for their respective platforms (I use both regularly). Yet Brier expects that Apple is responsible for Adobe's products? Any comments/blame about what didn't work on Vista when it shipped? In most all cases it's the ISV's fault, unless the OS vender breaks something in the final release build.
I put no value into comments like "bug, bugs, and more bugs", when the poster discredits themselves by blaming their own mistakes on the product. But the post has one truth: Apple does not do "stationary". In fact they are the best example of innovation in the industry today - which is why their investors are happy.
And the email "stationery" feature works just fine.
Brier's post is yet another example of how he fishes for and amplifies any negative comments about Apple without proper vetting.

Posted by Ken Anderson

12:00 PM, Oct 30, 2007

The "Archive and Install" option worked like a charm for me. No problems and Leopard is an excellent update. I love it!

Posted by Brier

1:53 PM, Oct 30, 2007

Great points folks, thank you for chiming in.

Glad to hear from people I know and trust, like David, that they're having a good experience with Leopard.

I don't have a Mac lab and the three Macs I have are too old for Leopard, so I referred to sources with expertise. None of them have denied the new OS has some glitches, so the question is how significant they are and whether they'll have a lasting effect.

Discussing this situation does not equate to FUD or cheering for Microsoft.

Apple has pole position and it's considered the leader in usability and quality. Companies throughout the PC and CE industries are studying Apple and learning from the company, and consumers have high expectations for Apple products.

Some people are having a great experience with Leopard, some are having challenges that could be painful, especially for less technical buyers.

The challenges need to be discussed and not swept under the carpet and dismissed as FUD.

I've given it to Microsoft as well for stumbling, but the story I'm mostly interested in isn't whether Microsoft or Apple did a better job (or Ford vs Chevy or UW vs WSU, etc.). The challenges both companies had with their latest operating systems raise some interesting questions about the future of big client systems and the ability of these companies to keep turning out and advancing these hugely complicated software projects.

Then there are the related stories about how these systems evolve with and without the big ecosystems they've built. Vista's graphics hardware driver debacle and now Apple's blue screen thing are examples of how this complicated situation is affecting users.

Lawrence, if you're an ISV you probably know more about this than I do, but as I understand this, MS and Apple aren't directly responsible for third-parties not updating their Vista and Leopard drivers on time. But when the operating systems are delayed and changed fairly late in the process, as both Leopard and Vista were, there's less time for third-parties to work with them and be sure everyhing's ready at launch. Neither OS vendor deserves a pass for that.

The blue screen story reminds me of what happens sometimes when we write about a big traffic problem that the state DOT is predicting. We'll run a big story saying watch out, paving on I-5 is going to make traffic horrible this weekend. Some people don't see the news and get stuck, others drive the road and it's not as bad as predicted. But 100s of thousands of people we reached are glad to know that there's a potential issue so they can take precautions. (Some readers may think we're just dumping on I-5 because we're really, secretly, trying to promote I-405 but the overarching goal is to provide public service...)

On Friday some people roared right into the blue-screen jam, but the word's getting out about the causes. Users, especially tech savvy ones, are taking precautions and not having the problem. The attention is also pushing the software companies involved to sort it out quickly.

So was the Swiftboat reference because I fabricated an issue out of thin air, or because there were sensitive issues to which someone didn't want attention called?

Posted by fog city dave

11:14 PM, Oct 30, 2007

So, Brier... in the end, nobody got through to you one little bit. You still think this hit piece is justified. Wow.

Posted by Mr. Designer

5:04 AM, Oct 31, 2007

I just installed Leopard 2 days ago. I haven't had any problems yet. I used Photoshop and Illustrator together. I'll go home and see if my print drivers are still there.

I used Time Machine for the first time too. What a great program. Took a while to do the first backup.

I did notice my downloads folder doesn't open like the demo on the Apple site, but I'm sure there is a way to make it open like in the demo. I just need to figure it out.

I was most concerned about the Safari upgrade because i am a web designer. Safari works great and now the New Yahoo mail works on it. :-)

Posted by Laurie

6:00 AM, Oct 31, 2007

Hi Brier

I have to add that I find your column needlessly alarmist. You wouldn't visit a hospital ward to form an opinion on the general health of the nation, likewise you shouldn't use the Apple forums to gauge the overall stability and upgrade ease of Leopard. People post on the forums because they need help - the millions who upgraded successfully wouldn't need to.

It's also important to remember that, no matter how user-friendly Apple try to make their software installers, an operating system upgrade is a major undertaking. It's quite often people lacking technical savvy or who don't do their homework who come unstuck.

Yes, there are a few minor glitches with Leopard which is to be expected with any new release - people should take personal responsibility when becoming a first adopter. It wasn't like there was anything wrong with Tiger.

I personally haven't encountered anything with Leopard to threaten my productivity and nor has anyone else I know who have upgraded - in fact the overall impression has been positive. Apart from a little needed refinement it's a delight to use.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman

6:18 AM, Oct 31, 2007

It's shaking out that the main cause of this blue screen problem is Unsanity's Application Enhancer, as noted earlier. APE doesn't follow Apple's rules for applications, installing a key piece of itself in a location that no other third-party software does. And, as noted, APE was updated in March in a way that made it Leopard compatible.


So why are we hearing about blue screens?


Because Logitech installed APE to make its input drivers work. That is a multi-billion-dollar firm chose to use a freeware package which violates Apple's software guidelines to handle their mouse input and so forth. Without alerting users that they were installing unsupported, hacky third-party software. And without, apparently, providing an upgrade mechanism for this.


http://forums.logitech.com/logitech/board/message?board.id=macmice&thread.id=755Here's some info in Logitech's own forums.


So it's hard for me to see why this is Apple's problem; they provided instructions almost immediately for how to disable APE if you found yourself in trouble. But, really, this is Logitech's very bad decision.

Posted by Doug

9:30 AM, Oct 31, 2007

Um I did a standard upgrade and nothing was broken. No bugs so far. No crashes. Everything runs better than it did with Tiger.

Posted by Joseph

9:49 AM, Oct 31, 2007

This article is FUD. Although I don't use CS3, it seems many people (including CNET reviewers) can use it fine. My upgrade took about an hour on my MacBook Pro and went without a hitch basically. And since then the system has been running great. OK, my printer was blown away, but I was able to add it again within a minute (right from the Print window in Firefox).

Posted by vespex

10:40 AM, Oct 31, 2007

HERETICS POLARIZE THE FRINGE!!... film at eleven.
OK, so no film, but some really clear photos... Well, maybe some sketches... Not on me, this guy had some... Oh screw it!... I just hate Apple people. Always in your grill with their pretty plastic. Just leave me alone... Why is it so hot in here? I'm burning up!!! Oh my God, I think I'm dying. I just knew this would happen. It's probably from all the toxic waste used to make my iPod. Bastards!

Posted by Shawn King

10:50 AM, Oct 31, 2007

"I don't think it's fearmongering for the Apple enthusiast sites to note there are some problems."

Perhaps not but it *is* fearmongering for *you* to do it. You're not, as far as I know, an "Apple enthusiast", are you? You write for a (supposedly) respectable newspaper and are held to a higher standard than an "enthusiast" web site, aren't you?

"The glitches are unusual for a company with a reputation for putting out such polished, consumer-friendly products..."

No, they are not. *Every* major Operating System, from *any* company, has glitches, bugs, incompatibilities, etc.

But read your previous story - you say, "It's not surprising...that Pogue found a few bugs..."

So, which is it? Surprising/unusual or not?

I don't have a Mac lab and the three Macs I have are too old for Leopard, so I referred to sources with expertise.

While you may have referred to them, you cite only one - And it's one you refer to as both "Apple priests" (I don't even know what that means) and "Apple enthusiast". Are those really the kinds of sources you should be citing? Why not contact/quote sources that are less biased? There are dozens of other people out there, some of whom write for your own newspaper (Mr Fleishman, let me introduce you to Mr Dudley. Mr Dudley, Mr Fleishman).

"Discussing this situation does not equate to FUD or cheering for Microsoft."

No, it doesn't. But "discussing" it the way you are (with specious sources and false assumptions) most certainly is.

Some people are having a great experience with Leopard, some are having challenges that could be painful, especially for less technical buyers.

Agreed. But are the two "some"s the same number of people? In other words, are you saying that there are as many people as having a great experience as there are having challenges? And do you seriously believe that?

"The challenges need to be discussed and not swept under the carpet and dismissed as FUD."

And they *are* being discussed in many places on the web - rationally, with details, advice and assistance.

"So was the Swiftboat reference because I fabricated an issue out of thin air, or because there were sensitive issues to which someone didn't want attention called?"

You're kidding, right? Is anyone commenting on your post saying you shouldn't point out the issues involved? Are you saying anyone involved in commenting on this post is trying to prevent you from discussing these issues?

--
Shawn King
Host/Executive Producer
Your Mac Life
http://www.yourmaclifeshow.com

Posted by Kevin

12:53 PM, Oct 31, 2007

I love these posts. It starts with there might be some issue with Apple's new OS and it ends with being Microsoft's fault. I guess it is common knowledge now that every OS has issues out of the gate.

Posted by Kelly

1:48 PM, Oct 31, 2007

Did you know that Microsoft also is responsible for world hunger, the Iraq War, bad coffee, and those fruit of the loom commercials where the fruit actually sing songs?

Posted by Abe

3:08 PM, Oct 31, 2007

The upgrade worked fine for me.

I had one issue where it wanted me to reformat the drive. On a hunch, I backed up and *removed my (beta) Bootcamp partition and everything went fine without me reformatting and losing data. I then ran the upgrade again and it went fine.

After the upgrade, I re-created a Bootcamp partition. Unfortunately, I had to re-install Windows because I couldn't find my XP CD. Instead, I had to install Vista, which doesn't let me format the drive as FAT32. FAT32 is important because I'm able to access the drive in read-write as opposed to read-only mode from the MacOS side. I needed to be able to write to the drive so that I can restore my large files from Steam (Half Life 2) instead of redownloading them. Oh well, at least I can read the NTFS drive. I can't say the same for viewing the Mac drive from the Windows side.

My stuff for work and gaming still runs correctly after the upgrade. This includes the Cisco VPN client, which hooks deeply into the OS subsystems.

Unbelievably, the hardest part of the Leopard upgrade was the Vista install. At least now I can play the newly released Halo 2, the flagship game of the Games for Windows platform.

Posted by Joe

3:22 AM, Nov 01, 2007

Oh, shoot. Why didn't someone tell me before I my upgraded 4 machines. Good thing I didn't have any problems....

Posted by joe

3:30 AM, Nov 01, 2007

Oh shoot. Why didn't someone tell me about all the problems before I upgraded my 4 machines.....

Probably because the problems are the rare exception. Funny how I could not tell this from this article.

I'm not going to call Dudley's article FUD. But I will call it

FUD lite!

Posted by joe

3:32 AM, Nov 01, 2007

Oh shoot. Why didn't someone tell me about all the problems before I upgraded my 4 machines.....

Probably because the problems are the rare exception. Funny how I could not tell this from this article.

I'm not going to call Dudley's article FUD. But I will call it

FUD lite!

Posted by joe

3:33 AM, Nov 01, 2007

talk about buggy. This posting mechanism should not be released

Sorry for the double posg

Posted by Richard Orlin

5:41 AM, Nov 01, 2007

I find it strange that you have done a review of an operating system without having used it. To depend on secondary sources for your information about Leopard is not good journalism. Your primary source is Leopard itself. You should be ashamed of yourself for this one. That's like doing a review of a new car without actually driving it.
I did an archive & install on both an iMac and Macbok and both completed without incident and both computers are running fine.

Posted by Pat

10:40 PM, Nov 01, 2007

As much as people talk about how fanatical FANBOYS are there are people like this that are just as fanatical about bashing anything Apple without any actual user experience or first hand knowledge. Shoddy journalism to say the least. I don't even know if you can call this JOURNALISM?

I installed Leopard and it has been the best OS user experience I have ever had. It is very fast and responsive. I'm sure that some people may have some issues but there is absolutely no comparison to the crap people go through with Windows upgrades. I do use both.

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