Living with Leopard

Living with Leopard

Mac OS 10.5, aka Leopard, may be the most analyzed release of an operating system upgrade in Apple’s history, coming as it does into a flourishing blogosphere after a multi-month (and leaky) beta cycle and an extra six months of rumination, contemplation, and investigation.


There's a lot to like about Leopard - and a few things we don't like.


Apple has done their part to stoke the excitement, as well. If you’re a true MacLifer, you’ve watched the Guided Tour and have pored over the oh-so-comprehensive list of Leopard's "300+ New Features." You've also perused Leopard's system requirements and have taken note of the more-demanding requirements for iChat. If you're a tech type, you've dug into the Leopard Dev Center and have given the Leopard Technology Overview more than a passing glance.


But the question remains: What's it like to actually use Leopard for day-to-day work?

Well, after picking up my copy of Leopard at a briefing in the Apple mothership on Thursday afternoon, I've spent over 30 hours communing with the big kitty. (I'm writing this on the morning of Sunday, October 28th.) I've worked in Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Microsoft Office, iWork, and more. I've emailed, surfed, and iChatted. I've FTPed and PDFed. I've even taken a couple of breaks, listening to tunes and podcasts, and watching The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.


But part of that emailing was of head-scratching messages back and forth to my contacts at Apple, trying to ferret out reasons for the cat's occasional misbehavior. And part of that iChatting was with Mac|Life reviews editor Roman Loyola, trying to get some of iChat's much-vaunted new features to work as advertised. And then there was simply time spent rebooting, hoping that a fresh start would quash a bug.


Bottom line: There's a lot to like in Leopard - a lot - including a gorgeous new Finder, efficiency-boosting Spaces and Quick Look, enhanced support apps such as Mail and Preview, under-the-hood muscle such as Core Animation and a broad range of security advances, and - finally - improved font management.


But Leopard is buggy. If you're a geek like me and can handle the slings and arrows of a version .0 release, go for it - but be prepared for the bumps you'll find in the road. But don't install Leopard on your mom's machine. Not yet, at least - keep your eye on Software Update and wait for the bug fixes that are sure to arrive sooner rather than later.


Click the Next link below to read on.


Next: The Finder & the Desktop


If you want to skip around, click on one of the links below.


1. Introduction

2. The Finder & the Desktop

3. Screen Sharing, Stacks, & Spotlight

4. Quick Look & Spaces

5. Bugs

6. Time Machine

7. iChat

8. Other Apps (Mail, Safari, Preview)




+ Add a Comment


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Its a good idea. I wont too more GB's for my new game spore spore.


Leopard Tips

Visit for daily posted Leopard tips for Mac OS X Leopard 10.5 users!!!!!


Brian Knoblauch

Relieved to see I'm not the only one out there that has crashes while emptying the trash! I'm on PowerPC. Intel users that I know haven't seen the issue yet (they don't also seem to have the TimeMachine issues either that I do).



Mine's locked while emptying the trash now. I'm on Intel, so sadly, it's an issue with both. What's the safe way for me to shut down with it like this? The x button isn't responding.



Белая оптимизация

eSATA PCI card, manufactured by Promise Technology, that was bundled with their drive (and I concur)y.



I want the biggesst HD I can get which is 250 GB but it is has a 5400 rpm drive. I do mostly picture editing. How much slower is this drive than the 200 GB 7200 rpm interms of real world performance. Is the differance
Many Thanks, Steve



While the features in this system are nice (I, for one, feel that Stacks has some great potential in the future) I really wish I could actually *USE* it.

Installed it on my Dual Core 2.3 G5 last night... I shouldn't have, it just plain refuses to work there, I've seen the "Your computer has to be restarted" screen about a dozen times...

Oh Apple, why have you forsaken me and my PowerPC?

For the record while it is still buggy it sure works a lot better on my Core2 MacBook.

My advice would be to wait, especially if you have a PowerPC. I just hope that a significant update is in the pipe soon because I really don't want to have to muck with going back to Tiger...

Okay, venting over...



A Proud Christian

You wrote that "There's no way on god's green earth..." Don't you think that the Creator of the universe deserves a capital letter on His name? Or maybe you California poeple try to keep His authority at arms-length.


A Humble Catholic

I'm sure the lord can forgive the occasional un-capitalization of his title (god is not a name). Think about how many times You've had to reenter a password because You failed to hold the shift key. Or think of how many typos You see on this website. If god has the capacity to forgive such a transgression then why can't You?

BTW: I am a practicing Catholic. Previous uses of "Lord", "His", and "God" without proper capitalization are not meant to deride God, but to contrast my intentional disregard for capitalization to the author's possibly accidental disregard for capitalization (Run-on sentence. I know. Lay off.).

Oh, and directly to "A Proud Christian." If you really wanted to draw attention to the fact that the author disrespected God, then you should have used "you california people."


Jon Angel

I was really disappointed with stacks. I loved how the dock used to respond to folders, as a matter of fact I put the whole hard drive down there and was able to navigate quickly though subfolder after subfolder. You can no longer do this BOOOO!


Hunter McConnell

Maybe I missed the mesage somewhere along the line but does Leopard not support Classic applications?



Hunter McConnell asks if Classic is supported in Leopard. Sadly, the answer is no. The last version to support Classic was Tiger -- Classic has gone the way of the dodo.



Right. Apple announced this WELL in advance of the Leopard release, that is, that Leopard would no longer support the 'Classic-within-OSX' feature.

Meanwhile, Rik, I discovered a bug related to this--my mirror-drive-door dual 1 GHz G4, which is Classic-bootable, wouldn't boot in Classic after Leopard was installed. And it wasn't a nice refusal.

Upon setting the Startup Disk to OS 9.2.2 and restarting, I got the dreaded blinking-"?" Mac icon. After finding out how to open the drive door with MacOS not running (hold mouse button down during startup--thanks, Apple, for the paper manual!), I used my Apple-supplied OSX CD 1 of 2 (which says on it that I can "boot from this disk"), but it wanted to force me to INSTALL 10.2. Maybe at this point I should have tried the Leopard DVD, but instead I started up my iBook G3 in Target Disk mode (hold "t" key during startup) and FireWire'd it to the G4, setting my startup disk to the iBook's HD (with 10.3.9), and that worked. I reset my startup disk to the G4's 10.5 and restarted successfully. Phew!! Lucky I had a spare Mac handy!

So Leopard apparently doesn't recognize a Classic OS system partition as bootable, and locks up (or out, actually). Yet it allows you to set your startup disk to that Classic OS and thus lock you out of your machine. This is a bug, plain and simple, and a somewhat nasty one at that.

Makes me wonder what the 10.5 installation did to my Classic to disable its bootability. And why.



Hi there,

There used to be two problems with e-mail from Mail when viewed in Outlook. #1 there were question mark symbols throughout when more than one space was used between sentences. This is fixed. #2 is that the HTML font was not set in an HTML e-mail. In the 2.5 years since Tiger, this still hasn't been fixed?! I just checked by e-mailing Outlook on XP.




In your spotlight screenshot of the list of Beatles songs, "Gerald R. Ford" was the user listed in the menubar.

And I thought he was dead.



Of two glitches I've come across in Leopard so far (one being the trash issue), Permissions Repair seems to go on endlessly....they will repair from the OS X Leopard Disc "Disc Utilties" folder, but not from the Disc Utilities Folder on the Hard Drive.


Karl Rowley

Thanks, Rik, great review. You mention the 4 possible connections for Time Machine and the fact that a NAS will work fine. I'm in the process of buying one (4HD-RAID1) for my small business and I'll probably hook it up by Gigabit Ethernet to maximime speed... Does that mean that yes, TM could work on such NAS but no, because it's through Ethernet? Weird. I'm presently hooked up by USB2 and frankly, it's too slow for our 2 macs sharing it from an AEBS. (is eSata faster?) Thanks.



In answer to your questions, Karl, about Time Machine backup-drive connections.

1. Yes, you can most certainly use Time Machine to back up to a NAS over Ethernet (and to a server as well, for that matter). Thanks for pointing out that lack of clarity in my write-up -- I asked Roman to post a clarification.

2. Yes, eSATA is a lot faster than USB 2.0 - even faster than FireWire 800, in my experience. If I could only get my Seagate eSATA drive running under Leopard...



I finally tracked down a solution for the Seagate Promise card installation under Leopard and thought I'd share since Seagate doesn't seem to care!

From the install disk, pull the eSATA300.pkg file from the eSATA300.dmg image to the Desktop. Right click and choose "Show Package Contents". In \Contents\Resources\, delete the file called "VolumeCheck". Run the installer and everything should work without the annoying "Index 17" message.

VolumeCheck is a file that checks the volume to see if it can accept the installation and apparently the Seagate installation doesn't find the correct checksum under Leopard.

Also, you can use the eSATA ports for Time Machine backups, but if you have to reinstall an entire volume using the Leopard boot disk, the Disk Utility in there won't see the eSATA ports to restore, so you have to use USB for restoring when on the Leopard boot disk.



It's good to see I'm not the only one having problems with my eSATA hard drive working under Leopard. I have the WD My Book Premium ES hdd. I've had no problems before I had upgraded to Leopard. Now, I just get all these errors.



I've been in communication with Seagate about my eSATA woes, with the result being that they're certain that the problem lies in a Leopard incompatibility with the driver for the eSATA PCI card, manufactured by Promise Technology, that was bundled with their drive (and I concur)y.

Both the exceptionally helpful Seagate tech-support guy (kudos, Alan!) and I tried to get satisfaction from Promise, but got nowhere. I gotta hand it to Seagate though -- when it became clear to them that trying to get an updated driver from Promise was a no-go, they offered to swap my eSATA drive for a higher-capacity FireWire drive.

I'd prefer to have a high-performance eSATA drive, of course (that sucker flew!), but Seagate is to be commended for giving me a drive that actually works in exchange for my not-happenin' eSATA drive. Call me one happy customer.



Maybe Leopard simply realizes that The End is truly the final showcase of all 4 Beatles talents in one song. Gotta admit no other Beatles song allows 4 separate solos. But of course there's that damned reverse logical order that stsacks uses as well lol.



If I ignore the feature of platform independence for the time being, I find Apple products including the Leopard & other Mac OS pretty convincing in their design, look & feel. However there have always been some performance issues with every Apple product. Apple never works to make its products platform independent. Users have to arrange seperate softwares & drivers if they are planning to use an Apple pc or a laptop. Even the highly efficient open source products like the premium wordpress templates need to have various modifications in order to run on a Mac OS.



Could you maybee share that image of the shared desktop crash in a bigger format ?



I find all of this very fascinating. I'm new to the Mac. Got my very first Mac on October 21st. I've enjoyed this week with it very much. I'm using my laptop less and less. And I got an iMac. I'm gonna get Leopard despite these bugs. I'm not some geeky kid. I don't know nearly as much about computers as I'd like and even less about Mac. Thank you though. I'll know what to expect when my dad orders me a MacBook. I've gotta call Apple. Gotta re-decide on which to get... a high high end MacBook or a high high end MacBook Pro... I'll bring up some of these bugs and see if I can't weasel a general idea of when they should be out of Leopard while I'm at it.

I'm a Tiger user... 20-inch iMac (250GB Hard Drive, 1 GB of RAM, 2.0 GHz CPU) and I noticed an issue with Pages. It may be in Leopard or it was just me. It got all glitchy like my second or third night with my iMac. I saved my work and closed it... then reopened the app. Still all glitchy. Closed it again and shut down for the night. Went back to it the next day and had no problems. Wasn't bad and far less than what I got use to with Windows. Anyone know if problems like that are more common in Leopard?

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