Hear The Leopard Spots Roar

Well, I gotta hand it to Apple. Not only wasn’t I expecting Leopard to actually be available here on the same date as everywhere else, I also wasn’t expecting the packaging to be completely localized (including the booklet):

I got the next to last package available at El Corte Inglés here in Lisbon, as I popped over to do some quick shopping.

I had to ask for it, since the last two copies were squirreled away behind a sign (and the guy who gave them to me didn’t know how many they had got or how many they had sold so far, but was pretty adamant about these being the last two copies and that there weren’t any new shipments of iLife).

Anyway, I had backed up my iMac yesterday evening as planned, and while I waited for my upper airways to decide once and for all if I had a cold or not, I popped in the DVD and let it churn for an hour and a half or so.

Stuff that worked, right off the bat

Considering that I did a straight-up upgrade, the overall balance was pretty damn positive, and a lot of things just worked:

  • MacPorts. So far, everything seems to be there, including Mercurial (although I suspected a few things I compiled myself might have been hosed, /usr/local seems to have been left untouched)
  • Mira. My “G5“Tiger iMac does not have a built-in IR receiver, but the USB one Bruno sent me just works – clicking on the Apple remote made the new Front Row pop up on cue.
  • MacFusion. The Finder gets pretty confused about where it should display MacFUSE volumes, but you can use the path button to go up to the top level and click on the volume there. If you really must know, Coverflow view works with MacFUSE volumes as well (I would have removed it from my toolbar if I could, but you can only remove all the view buttons).
  • My E220 HSDPA modem (but mind you, I am not using my company’s “dashboard”, I configure the whole thing manually, and this was a quick test to make sure the low-level stuff hadn’t been changed)
  • Good old MenuMeters – it’s still the best resource monitor out there.
  • Witch also works, and interacts well with Spaces.
  • And, of course, Quicksilver. If it hadn’t worked for some reason, I think I’d had reinstalled Tiger there and then…

Stuff that didn’t

I can scan things with the HP utilities but not print them, and The Add New Printer dialog box lists it as an USB device and took a good three minutes trying to find drivers for it but failed.

Manually selecting the correct driver didn’t work – I can’t print, even though the Mac can see and start talking to the printer. Something to sort out later, I guess.

Update: Going to “More Printers” in the printer browser allowed me to select the “HP AiO Print” option (which I assume to be the HP driver I have installed since 2005) and print reliably. Creating a fax printer using “HP AiO Fax” and trying printing to it, however, crashes the print subsystem. No big loss, but the timing of it happens to be annoying.

Now, what was all the fuss about again?

As to the “new” features, here are my first impressions:

  • Spotlight says it will take another 13 hours to index my desktop, and makes the whole thing seem slow. The machine is anything but snappy right now, and my earlier notion of getting another GB of RAM has become my first To-Do in Mail.app (in that fugly Marker Felt font).
  • Don’t get me started on Stacks again.
  • The new Mail.app folder arrangement feels odd, but nowhere near as odd as the Finder sidebar and the new icons. I suppose I’ll adjust.
  • I actually kind of like the way Notes and To-Do items appear in Mail.app. And I even like the way notes are stored in my IMAP server:
X-Uniform-Type-Identifier: com.apple.mail-note
Message-Id: <493C962D-958E-4163-B54A-3D3D5C61D530>
From: Rui Carmo
Content-Type: text/html;
X-Universally-Unique-Identifier: 19af10d6-87fc-402f-8297-c46df5d41523
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Mail-Created-Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2007 19:53:05 +0100
Mime-Version: 1.0 (Apple Message framework v912)
Subject: Buy 2x1GB RAM
X-Apple-Base-Url: x-msg://44/
X-Apple-Mail-Remote-Attachments: YES
Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2007 19:53:31 +0100

<html><body bgcolor="#FFF8BB">Buy 2x1GB RAM</body></html>

Don’t fret about charset=US-ASCII – it’s picked according to the content. And images are added as MIME parts (of course), so notes are at least viewable in other mail clients (I’ve just been browsing through them in Tiger’s Mail.app and a webmail interface).

  • Spaces works, and I expect to change the keys to something more sensible (like Ctrl-Shift) the first time I find myself unable to use some CLI app. Still, the nostalgia linked to the muscle memory from my WindowMaker days (when I also used Ctrl) is pleasant for a while.
  • Time Machine wasn’t too keen to use a network share, so I’ll try to get it to earn its keep some other day. With fresh backups on an external disk, I’m not inclined towards wasting time on it right now.
  • It was pretty fun to just type vnc:// in Safari and open a VNC session to my Linux box.

It was much less fun, however, to try doing the same to my mini running Tiger (which brought up an ARD login prompt) and see that Apple still hasn’t figured out international keyboards – time to file a few bugs, I think. And yes, JollysFastVNC is still the only VNC client that works for me.

As to the 294 other features, I suppose they are still lurking around someplace.

I’ll let you know as I find them, without the hysterics that seem to permeate every single report of Leopard installs out there.

Update: In the meantime, I’ve found that my iMac “G5“Tiger won’t restart correctly. It fades to a black screen, stays there for a few seconds, and then the fans start and go up to the maximum speed and volume – roaring indeed. So I have to forcefully shut it down. No, I don’t have any troublesome hacks installed. And, yes, I’m glad I upgraded the machine I rely the less upon first – 10.5.1 can’t come too soon.