MacOS X 10.5 Leopard: The view after a month.

I’ve been using the latest version of Apple’s operating system for about a month now and here are my views:

It’s been said by some that Leopard is Apple’s Vista-scale disaster area and is broken beyond usefulness. Well, on that side I would disagree. There are flaws and a coupe of rather major bugs but it’s not on the scale of Vista’s retrograde step.

So, what are the problems?

(1) User interface.

The dock is awful to use in its default form. It’s hard to see which applications are running. It’s merely eye-candy. Thankfully, you can change it into a 2D form which is FAR better using a command line setting.

Similarly, whoever thought that a transparent menu bar was a good idea should be put in stocks and pelted with tomatos. It will force you to find a background which will allow you to read it. Thankfully, again, there is a command line setting to change it.

Other than that (I don’t use stacks, which is the other thing people have berated, so I can’t comment on those) it’s fine. I would have liked a different default key combination to swap between “spaces” or a mini-view of the screen layout so that I could click directly on the virtual desktop I wanted but those are relatively minor things.

(2) Outright bugs.

The problems with the default version of the X server is well documented, i.e. broken cut and paste, especially with the 3 button mouse emulation (which doesn’t work at all) and a few other things. The build in the core Xorg server tree have fixed these, we’re still awaiting the Apple official update. It’s mostly an annoyance to be honest.

But rather more importantly….

The name service subsystem is REALLY knackered!

This is important if you’re going to use Leopard on the net. With every name look-up using the built-in hostname look-up system (not DNS) the likelyhood of the look-up will fail increases until you get to the point where most name look-ups will fail or give incorrect results (which is worse).

If you don’t believe me try it out; open a web browser, either Safari or Firefox will do, load up a web site which does a lot of look-ups, e.g. Facebook with a lot of apps loaded. Refresh page, repeat. Depending upon the number of apps and adverts it will probaby take 10-15 refreshes until you’ll start to see problems. Usually you’ll start seeing missing images. The mre you reload the more the problems will appear. Some of the adverts may appear as error pages. You can try closing the application and re-starting it, or try another browser or even maybe an e-mail client. The problem’s still there. If you open an xterm or terminal application and do an nslookup the failling look-ups will work perfectly but ping/traceroute etc. will pick up the wrong entry all the same. A reboot is the only fix.

So, there you have it. Other than the major name service bug, niggles really.