Leopard: The First Two Weeks

I did think twice before upgrading my Mac Pro to Leopard, but I’ve been looking forward to Time Machine for too long. I had to take the plunge. I wouldn’t say that I regret the decision, but there’s no doubt that certain aspects of my OS X experience have taken a step backwards. In particular, my computer is now substantially less reliable.

  • I have to reboot typically once per day. (Previously, I went for months without restarting.) Most often, the problem is an unresponsive application that can’t be terminated, even with Force Quit. Common offenders are System Preferences, Parallels and Mail.
  • There’s a connectivity problem with Mail. Many times each day the retrieval of email via POP3 from Gmail fails, but unlike in the past, Mail doesn’t appear to recover. Sometimes it retries and recovers, but it appears as though under certain unknown circumstances it gives up trying until I manually Get Mail. I can’t tell if it’s an application issue or a networking problem, but it’s new. Similar thing happens on outbound (Sent) email. I used to have a problem sending about once a month. Now it happens many times a day. And unlike the reception of email, it appears there are no retries for sending. You get a modal dialog box that waits for your input.

I do like Time Machine. I bought a 1TB drive for about $350 at Best Buy. It’s already 2/3 full with the various rotating backups. I’ve only retrieved one file so far, but it worked reasonably well. Time Machine’s backup algorithm isn’t particularly sophisticated and it has some flaws, but I love that it’s built into the OS and I don’t have to think about it. And the UI is reasonably straightforward although rather over-the-top full of itself.

Of all the applications I moved over, I was surprised that the Apple Apps such as Final Cut Pro and Sound Track Pro required me to re-register. Nearly all third-party apps worked without that step including Adobe Creative Suite 3 stuff.

Update: It appears that Leopard gets into a state where any newly launched application gets stuck in limbo: The application has started, but it can’t display a UI and it can’t be terminated via Force Quit. Once in this state, any application you try to start (or started by another app) only gets as far as limbo mode. The only solution is to power-off the hardware.

Update: Looks like there are many others with the same problem on the Apple discussion forums.

3 thoughts on “Leopard: The First Two Weeks

  1. Hmm Doug – I find it really stable. I haven’t had to reboot once. I find iCal a little unstable, but other than that, it’s purring quite nicely on my MacBook Pro. Everything launches just fine (pretty fast actually). I don’t use Parallels though (VMWare). I use Mail a *lot* – no connectivity problems to the four servers I use, and no crashes either.

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  2. I get mixed results, too. Mail is reliable – mostly. I get the occasional certificate-mismatch dialog box and a failure to send dialog box (suggesting retry with different carrier). The odd bug I see is that up-scroll stops working on he scroll ball – down-scroll works and clicks, but up-scroll stops working and clicking (up == toward beginning of document).

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