So, Leopard came out this past Friday, and there have been many, many reviews of all the spiffy new features and how they’ll make you lose 10 lbs, grow your hair back (but lose your back hair), and generally just be the spiffiest thing to come out of the cupertino mother-ship ever since the last major release of their core OS.
I read many of these reviews, and got all excited about getting it installed. Alas, I use several items on my work laptop that are not yet compatible with Leopard (the software company that produces the main chunk of code I have to have working on Leopard claims that it works, but their forums are filled with gripes from daredevil folks willing to have thrown all forms of caution into the stiff breeze and run willy-nilly into a soft, warm embrace with this new OS only to discover that they can’t use it after all, because one of their main productivity tools is just plain jim-busted, so I’m a gonna hafta wait for a few weeks on my work lappie.)
So, I had to hunt around for another victim computer for my first Leopard install.
Hey, what’s that over there? Oh, look! It’s a MacMini that my kids use to play every game on sesamestreet.com. That’ll do.
So, I dragged home my external hard drive (wouldn’t want to lose any high scores from the "Elmo Learns To Go Potty" game) to backup anything I could find of any importance on the mini and got to work.
What follows is my completely unscientific, largely incomplete, mostly griping review of Mac OS X 10.5 – Leopard.
The Dinky Review
I’m not an operating system internals guy. Yes, I do write software for a living, and I do recall a lot from that nasty OS class I had to take in school (writing my own virtual memory manager from scratch was not my idea of a killer way to spend 3 weeks in a CS lab.) Thus, I will not even pretend to comment on the guts of the OS. I’ve heard it’s nifty from lots of geeky types who know, and have decided to take their word for it.
Instead, I’ve decided to tell you about my impressions of how the OS looks. Part of what I have always loved about the MacOS (even back in the days of MacOS 7, when I first started using a mac) was that things were logical, and laid out in ways that just "felt" right. Moving from OS 9 to OS X was a jolt for many folks, because with the advent of the Aqua interface Apple totally broke free from the look and feel that they had used on virtually every macintosh they ever shipped.
In successive iterations of Mac OS X, they have monkeyed with their UI even more – these funky metal windows, pinstripes everywhere, pulsing buttons, drawers, sheets, etc.
In Leopard, it seems they are attempting to go back to a single style for all windows (with the only exceptions being apps written by apple – i.e., Garage Band). Here’s what a basic window looks like on my mini right now: