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Apple's OS X Leopard In Depth 624

jcatcw writes "Computerworld begins its Week of Leopard with an in-depth review and image gallery covering Apple's newest version of OS X. Is it worth the wait? Well, Yes. It trumps Vista, of course; the Finder, Quick Look and Cover Flow provide better functionality and eye candy; Time Machine is the biggest undelete ever and the restore function is one of the coolest things we've ever seen; it has iChat; and has lots of updates under the hood. The answer might be no if you're lacking in the hardware department - an FAQ on how to get ready for the new version will help."
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Apple's OS X Leopard In Depth

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  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @06:40PM (#21120739) Homepage
    Yes. It trumps Vista, of course

    Is that really a big accomplishment? I mean, really? XP trumps Vista.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Wolfrider ( 856 )
      --Dude - Windows Two KAY trumps -Vista-! :P
  • Multiple Desktops (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chris_Stankowitz ( 612232 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @06:42PM (#21120771)
    Does anyone know what holds MS back from adding the Multiple Desktop feature? I know it can be had with 3rd party software, however last time I used one it really slowed down my machine and caused some crashes.

    The lack of such a feature that has been around for eons in the Unix/Linux world drives me crazy!
    • Re:Multiple Desktops (Score:5, Informative)

      by chuck ( 477 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @06:44PM (#21120797) Homepage
      It's available with 1st party software. It's kind of lame, but it does the job.

      http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx [microsoft.com]
      • Re:Multiple Desktops (Score:4, Informative)

        by Liberaltarian ( 1030752 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @06:59PM (#21121017)
        It is quite a hack indeed. Microsoft's Virtual Desktop Manager relies on bundling groups of windows that are minimized and expanded simultaneously (along with a different desktop background for each bundle). Not only do most programmers not anticipate this (and due to the hacky nature of the implementation it can cause major headaches for end users), apparently MS programmers don't either, as even IE acts ridiculously with it. You also can't move a window in one "desktop" to another.

        I'm happy XP finally brought real multiple-display support (something the Mac has had since System 7 at the latest), but who knows when robust multiple-virtual-display support will come along.
        • Re:Multiple Desktops (Score:5, Informative)

          by david.given ( 6740 ) <dg@@@cowlark...com> on Thursday October 25, 2007 @07:46PM (#21121631) Homepage Journal

          I'm happy XP finally brought real multiple-display support (something the Mac has had since System 7 at the latest), but who knows when robust multiple-virtual-display support will come along.

          I don't think it will. I've been hunting for a decent virtual desktop manager for Windows for ages now, and they all have horrible issues. The best one I've seen so far is Dexpot [dexpot.de], but even it is annoying to use.

          As far as I can make out, the problem is this: Windows doesn't have a window manager in the traditional X sense. Applications handle their own resize, show and hide events. This means that for the desktop manager to switch desktops, it has to send the appropriate show and hide events to the applications... and the applications can take their own sweet time dealing with them. If the application's busy, the window won't change state. One desktop manager I tried to use (briefly) would actually wait for all the applications to process the events, which meant that if you tried to change desktops with an unresponsive application visible, the desktop manager would hang. Not great on a developer machine.

          It gets worse: Desktop managers don't appear to get the opportunity to mediate when an application tries to show or hide itself. Certainly, it was all too common in Dexpot for an application to make itself visible when it was already visible on another desktop, with the result that Dexpot would get confused and think that the window was visible on two desktops simultaneously. I tend to run Thunderbird in #1 and Firefox in #2. Clicking on a link in Thunderbird would cause Firefox to become visible in #1 and #2, which isn't really what I wanted.

          I eventually gave up and now when I have to use Windows I don't use a desktop manager. The irritation of having to deal with all my windows on one desktop is actually less than the irritation of having to deal with a broken desktop manager.

      • by Mahjub Sa'aden ( 1100387 ) <msaaden@gmail.com> on Thursday October 25, 2007 @07:43PM (#21121601)
        Finally, a multiple desktop application made by Microsoft itself. Now I don't have to put up with half-assed, buggy, slow 3rd-party solutions! I can use a half-assed, buggy, slow 1st party solution!
    • Microsoft is asserting its stranglehold on the real solution to the multiple desktops problem- excellent multiple physical monitor support. Get a nice big second monitor and install UltraMon.. you'll be totally unable to go back to mere "multiple desktops"
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 )
        Microsoft are *years* behind everyone else on multiple desktops.

        I was working with multiple monitors on System 7 many years ago (and the implementation was *better* than the one that XP and Vista have - you could move your desktops around, even lay them out vertically or in a grid.. on Windows the position is hardwired to the graphics card and they must be next to each other).. around the era of Windows 3.1
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drsmithy ( 35869 )

      Does anyone know what holds MS back from adding the Multiple Desktop feature? I know it can be had with 3rd party software, however last time I used one it really slowed down my machine and caused some crashes.

      Lack of customer interest.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 25, 2007 @06:44PM (#21120801)
    Of all of the new features of Leopard, I really cannot appreciate the addition of translucency to the menu bar. As a long time Mac user this really seems like one of those "because we can" features rather than it making any sense.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 25, 2007 @06:48PM (#21120859)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Someone has got to take the time machine visualizer [computerworld.com] and change the background image to Goatse :D
  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @07:22PM (#21121319) Homepage
    A quick question for those of you who have been running the Leopard betas... will I need to dedicate an entire drive (or partition) for Time Machine's exclusive use, or is it possible/okay to tell Time Machine to put its data into a subdirectory inside a drive/partition that is also used for storing other data?
  • by ShooterNeo ( 555040 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @08:31PM (#21122217)
    How is this possible? Unfortunately, I haven't been able to google for exactly how MANY developers Microsoft has versus how many apple has....but Microsoft had at least 5000 developers that worked on Windows Vista. While they must have lowered their standards in the last few years, originally microsoft was only hiring top graduates from top schools like MIT and CMU.

    They have a gigantic number of some of the best people they can buy.

    So why does their stuff suck so much by comparison to a small corporation? Apple cannot afford nearly the resources Microsoft has...I wouldn't be surprised if their OS X team had 1/5 the people.

    I know that skill matters...but surely the top of the class people at Microsoft are no worse than the hippies at apple?
    • by Kent Recal ( 714863 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @09:05PM (#21122605)
      It's all about the vision. And the people in charge.
      Just compare Steve Jobs to Steve Ballmer (or Billy, fwiw).

      Which of these personalities do you think is more
      likely to design an OS that you would like?

      Ofcourse it doesn't boil down to individuals but looking
      at the heads of a company gives you a good idea of the
      companies mindset.

      Apple is "cool and hip" because the people working
      there *know* what "cool and hip" is.

      Microsoft is not cool and hip because, well, it is
      driven by people like Steve Ballmer.

      The sheer headcount, on the other hand, means
      nothing in the world of software developement.
      Small and well focussed (on the right goals)
      teams will outperform large teams everytime.

      You can read up on that in "the mythical man month"
      and just about any other ressource about project
      management in the software industry.

      In fact, developing "good" software (by any metrics)
      becomes much harder the larger your team gets.
      Programming is not like selling cars. It's more
      comparable to an orchestra. More instrumentalists
      don't necessarily improve the result but definately
      increase the effort to manage them.
    • by wodgy7 ( 850851 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @09:33PM (#21122885)
      I won't comment on the quality of the programmers -- both companies draw from similar pools -- but the way they manage those programmers is significantly different. Probably the biggest beef I have with Microsoft's management is their devotion to Jack Welch's (of General Electric management fame) idea of doing a company reorganization ("reorg") roughly every 16 months. Not everyone moves around, since certain people don't make sense to move, but there is disruption. This kind of management "theory" makes sense when everyone is viewed as unskilled, interchangeable production units, but it doesn't make sense in software where the value is in slowly acquired knowledge of the source code base, and knowledge of how to interact with everyone on the team to minimize team issues. Reorgs flush some of that away, every time. I realize they teach from Jack Welch's playbook in most MBA programs, but Microsoft needs to abandon this practice. There are other major differences between the two companies attitudes and group dynamics as well. You really have to have worked inside one (or preferably both) to get a good comparison.

      Another, more minor beef, is Microsoft's philosophy that others will put up with things that they wouldn't personally put up with. For instance, internal to Office, Clippy is known as TFC_* in function names... based on a comment from Bill Gates that "I don't want to have to deal with That F*cking Clip every time I want to print." Bill hates it, but he nevertheless still shipped it. In contrast, Jobs would never ship a feature he hated; he'd view it as a personal affront. This attitude pervades Microsoft. For instance, everyone at MS realizes the overly tiered pricing scheme is customer hostile -- they know many customers realize they're being either nickle and dimed or had -- but they still ship it because it maximizes revenue in the short term, regardless of damage to long-term company goodwill. Jobs won't dish out something he wouldn't personally put up with. Perhaps it's ego, or perhaps he understands that Apple's success depends almost entirely on goodwill. This all sounds handwavy, but it's another major difference in the the two company philosophies.

      I could spend all day comparing the two companies; it's fascinating. And no, not everything about Apple's culture is superior.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dprovine ( 140134 )

      In 1963, CDC released a computer called the 6600, which was far better than the machines being made by IBM at the time.

      Thomas Watson, IBM's CEO, wrote a memo saying "Last week, Control Data [...] announced the 6600 system. I understand that in the laboratory developing the system there are only 34 people including the janitor. Of these, 14 are engineers and 4 are programmers[.] Contrasting this modest effort with our vast development activities, I fail to understand why we have lost our industry leadersh

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mikeplokta ( 223052 )
      Two main factors here.

      First, Microsoft is fanatical about backwards compatibility, and Vista has to continue to support every crufty little hack that worked on Windows 3.0 fifteen years ago. Apple will throw you overboard after five years or so -- for example, Classic mode has been removed completely from Leopard and so Mac programs from before the OS X era will no longer run on Macs.

      Second, Apple controls the hardware, and so has to do vastly less programming of device drivers for every motherboard, graphi
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      While they must have lowered their standards in the last few years, originally microsoft was only hiring top graduates from top schools like MIT and CMU.

      I know a lot of people who have worked at MS. They do hire a lot of people directly out of school. Mostly, the culture promotes hiring people who have "drank the kool-aid." People straight out of school have often not been exposed to a lot of different, real-world solutions. Smart and experienced are both valuable characteristics, but MS seems to actually avoid the latter intentionally as part of their culture (for standard hiring practices, not in all cases).

      My company is really picky about hiring. Occ

  • Double Standard (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MBoffin ( 259181 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @08:53PM (#21122483) Homepage
    "If your computer doesn't meet those specs, it's time to upgrade your hardware or stick with Tiger for now. And if you're still running Mac "Classic" OS apps, forget it. Leopard drops support for what was once Mac OS 9."

    So when Vista needs beefier hardware and some Windows 98 apps are broken on it, the reason is because Microsoft sucks and it's their fault for requiring a current computer to run their current OS. But when Leopard needs beefier specs, it's the user's fault they haven't upgraded by now and it's all taken in stride.

    I get it. Makes total sense.
    • Ther is a bit of a double standard, yes, but dropping support for OS 9 isn't like droping support for Windows 98. The Win32 API in Vista is basically and ancestor of the Win32 API in Vista. OS 9 apps, on the other hand, are a whole different kettle of fish.

      OS 9 wasn't a modern operating system. As an OS it was, in many ways, decades behind Windows 98. The OS 9 API was based on a model where memory management and scheduling by the OS simply didn't happen... the application got a chunk of REAL memory and until it voluntarily gave up the CPU noting could touch it. To work around this, they created a really gimpy partition model. Multitasking in classic Mac OS was handled conceptually through the window system... there really wasn't an OS underneath it at all, not even as much as there was in Windows 3.1.

      Jobs wanted to get rid of the ghastly classic Mac OS API in 1997, but Adobe and a few other big manufacturers dug their heels in and told him they'd abandon the Mac if he didn't come up with a way forward.

      So first of all he came up with a bridge API called "Carbon". Carbon applications got an API that couldn't do all the fugly old classic stuff, but were ready to at least run on Rhapsody (what OS X was originally going to be called) once it was revamped to support it. Carbon was introduced for OS 8 and became a standard part of OS 9. After OS X came out people really pushed developers to switch to Carbon... but there were still a bunch of die-hards that insisted on running some software from 1994 that had no Carbon version.

      Several times in the early 2000s Jobs pulled the last G4 Powermac capable of booting OS 9 and running classic apps native, rather than under the "classic" emulation environment. Each time there was an outcry... until 2005, when it vanished and nobody complained. Six months later he announced the Intel macs that would not ever be able to run pre-carbon "classic" apps from the dark ages.

      MOST apps released *for* OS 9 are not "classic", they're carbon-based, and run under Rosetta.

      Most apps released before OS 9 have been carbonised.

      NO intel macs have ever been able to run pre-carbon apps.

      Don't think of this like Microsoft abandoning Windows 98 apps. Think of it like Microsoft abandoning apps that needed direct access to hardware registers and video memory. The kind of stuff you have to run under Bochs even on Windows XP. It just sounds worse because Apple left it SO late to get rid of that old "application-centric" environment and actually ship an operating system that was actually an operating system.

      The real double standard is the resistance of Apple fanboys to admit just how bloody awful OS 9 was.
  • by TeamSPAM ( 166583 ) <flynnmjNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday October 25, 2007 @09:21PM (#21122773) Homepage

    Unlike my general experience with OS X, I've been having to reboot my dual G4 desktop every other day for the past week. I've repaired the disk via the install disk, but the lock up are still happening. Since Leopard is coming out this week, I've bought a new HD to install on and will try the migration assistant.

  • by ChangeOnInstall ( 589099 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @09:22PM (#21122787)
    I was thinking about picking this up tomorrow evening, but I was first curious to know if it had any new anti-piracy features like Vista? Is there any activation/mandatory phoning home of any kind? Is there anything preventing me from installing it on more than one computer (I do not intend to, but anything that does this is likely to prevent some fraction of people from using it legally). Are there any new MPAA/RIAA-oriented features in it similar to Vista's protected video path?

    I only want to buy this thing if it's a step forward from 10.4.
  • by 5n3ak3rp1mp ( 305814 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @10:24PM (#21123381) Homepage
    It amuses me that 90% of the comments here that are above my minimum-score filter are intelligent retorts to completely unfounded or inaccurate Apple slams.

    This is like a testament to a new phenomenon- battered-user syndrome. You won't get a divorce because you've already invested so much...
  • by GrahamCox ( 741991 ) on Friday October 26, 2007 @09:33AM (#21127687) Homepage
    Leopard was launched here at 6pm in stores too - so nyah-ya!

    One thing I am noticing having installed it is that a) Spotlight reindexes all your stuff and b) if you enable Time Machine it also does a heavy-duty initial copy. These two processes happening simultaneously hit the disk pretty hard and doubtless cause it to zap all over the place. The upshot is a lot of disk thrashing and rather stuttery performance on things like the dock animation for the first two or three hours. YMMV (MacBook 13" 2GHz here). I expect it to settle down after this - but still in that initial period as I write this.

    Also, the initial run of the Set-up Assistant failed to recognise my existing wireless network, and got thoroughly confused when I tried to enter the information manually as it requested. In the end I simply quit it to find that by default Leopard had turned off Airport. Turning it on again found my network and connected without any problems, so if you run into this, just tell Setup Assistant to get lost and enable it yourself.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin