Well, I did my duty on Friday and went out and grabbed a copy of OS X 10.5 (Leopard). As I was finishing my SuperDuper backups, I was poking around on Apple’s support forums and heard about all the horror stories people have had. Two essential apps for me, DayLite and FileMaker, didn’t have Leopard-aware updates at the time; FileMaker won’t apparently until sometime next month and DayLite has a beta available now. Apparently, only a few minor things are wrong with FileMaker that are, for me easily circumvented (change the region from Canada to USA and I was up and running).

I’m not sure why so many people were having problems. I suppose most of them either do an upgrade or archive/install. I do neither. I use SuperDuper to make an exact clone of my drives, then do a complete fresh install. Yeah, it’s more time-consuming to re-install everything, copy preferences and other associated data over, etc. but you know what? It’s dang-near fool-proof. I’ve done three machines so far, and all three are up and running just fine.

My initial observations are that 10.5 seems a lot faster. Now, my desktop is no slouch… it’s a 2.66GHz quad-core xeon Mac Pro with 7GB of RAM (the rationale for the RAM is VMware). Whether this is due to 10.5 itself or the fact that a whole bunch of crap I had installed before that I no longer have installed (because I don’t use it, forgot to uninstall it before, whatever) — it remains to be seen if the system will feel faster 6mos from now or not.

There were a few issues I had read about. Keychains were a big item on the Apple forums. Pretty simple tho. Copy the old keychain (say, vdanen.keychain) from the backup to ~/Library/Keychains/. Open Keychain Access, add the keychain, then set it to be the default keychain. Voila, instant pre-upgrade keychain support. Not sure why so many people were having problems with it.

Copying relevant files from ~/Library/Preferences/ and ~/Library/Application Support/ took some time, but the preference files are pretty well named (for the most part). Whatever I missed before (easy to tell when you launch an app), I simply copied over after closing the app. Re-launch, and back to pre-upgrade settings. Don’t forget /Library/Application Support/ and /Library/Preferences/ too, for the system-wide stuff.

All applications seem to be working pretty good, with the FileMaker caveat I noted before. PathFinder seems a little sensitive and has crashed on me twice now. Everything else seems fairly solid.

Spaces is slick. Could be better, could also be a whole lot worse. I like it. The new Terminal completely rocks. I love the tabbed support, the Window Group support, and the themes. The preferences are also laid out in a more sane manner now. Totally impressed with it and have no need to use iTerm anymore. (Hint: for those who use mutt in the Terminal, Osaka-Mono 13pt is an awesome font to use (14pt, depending on your screen size and how large you like stuff… it’s in with the Additional Fonts package so make sure you install it (I believe it’s supposed to be a japanese font of some sort).

Mutt compiled fine, fink works. Irssi I had to compile without perl support… there doesn’t seem to be any perl development files installed, which is odd. Not sure if Tiger came with them installed, or if I obtained them via ActivePerl or fink or something, but a few pretty important header files were missing. I hadn’t realized that subversion came bundled, so now I have svn in both /usr/bin and /usr/local/bin; not a huge deal tho. Oh wierd. I just realized that the perl header files are in /System/Library/Perl/5.8.8/darwin-thread-multi-2level/CORE/. Sometimes the OS X way of placing files wierds me out. What’s wrong with /usr/include?!?

Using ssh is interesting… a dialog box pops up and asks for your ssh key passphrase and offers to add it to the keychain. This may allow me to get rid of SSHKeychain which, while being a decent app, had the nerve to start sucking up massive amounts of CPU every once in a while… a bug that’s persisted across multiple versions. I won’t mind if it’s gone, although I need to look into things a bit more as I’d like to know how it’s handling ssh-agent.

Other than that, it feels pretty much the same. The new dock is cute.. it’s so small on my machine that I only use it to note what apps are open; I never actually use it to launch anything (LaunchBar is way too cool not to use it). Time Machine looks interesting, although the drive I plan to use it on has my SuperDuper clone on it right now so I haven’t played with it much. The Stacks stuff looks… different. Can’t really see myself using it.

The new Finder is really cool. If it had tab support, I could probably replace Path Finder with it completely. I like the remote share browser, that seems to be working quite well although I haven’t tried screen sharing yet. Also seems a lot snappier than the Tiger Finder.

I’m sure I’ll find other issues and cool things over the weeks to come. Personally, I’m waiting for a new version of Saft to come out. The new Safari seems pretty much like the old one to me. It’s ok, and has been my default browser for a long time. I forgot how useless it was without Saft tho. Hello… Apple? Saving browser window sessions? This is an absolute must! If I have 10 sites open, I want those 10 same sites back if I have to reboot, or if Safari crashes, or whatever. I don’t want to start with a new blank window. Sheesh. Using Camino right now for the day-to-day browsing until Saft gets updated. I prefer the look of Safari (doesn’t feel so “alien”) to Camino (which is pretty good, but the clickable buttons look off), or Firefox (which is as alien as it gets). New version of OmniWeb out tho, so maybe I’ll see if the stability issues in previous versions has been worked out.

All in all, it doesn’t seem to bad to me. I don’t get what all the fuss is, but I guess with all these new Windows converts and other Mac users that seem to think Apple is “all that” but still don’t have any technical clue, there are a few who would have issues. For me, other than having stuff in weird locations, it’s no different than a Linux install (yup… unless it’s Annvix, it’s always a fresh install).

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