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Customer Review

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Update, October 29, 2007
This review is from: Apple Mac OS X Version 10.5.6 Leopard (OLD VERSION) (Software)
I picked up Leopard on Friday and installed it Saturday morning in my MacBook Pro, which has 4 Gigs of RAM and the 2.2 Ghz Intel Core Duo Processor. The installation took about two hours (including 45 minutes for "disk verification", which I'm guessing you could skip) but virtually none of my time -- I started the process up, picked my language, and sent the installer on its way. I came back two hours later to a finished installation.

I use VMWare's Fusion to run Windows XP on my Mac, and my biggest concern was whether I would run into compatibility problems between Fusion and Leopard. The VMWare website is only mildly reassuring, with a statement in the FAQ's that boils down to "gee, we think it'll work." I had pre-installed the Fusion Ver. 1.1 "Release Candidate" from VMWare's website before installing Leopard, and had absolutely no compatibility issues turn up over the weekend -- the Windows programs I use all worked just fine. In fact, the only compatibility issue I ran into was with Lightscribe's little utility program for burning Lightscribe CD labels using the Mac (I have an HP Lightscribe external burner). The utility program stopped working in Leopard, although the Windows version of the same utility program worked just fine in the Fusion Virtual Machine with the HP burner connected through a USB port. (Reviewer's Added Note: Since I wrote this, Lightscribe has posted an update to the utility on their website that resolves the problem).

As an ugrade, Leopard is solid, but not remarkable -- most of the new features are minor tweaks, fancy frills, or features that will appeal mostly to niche users, with two very important exceptions.

The first is Time Machine, which is easily the most useable consumer backup program on the planet. To make it work, you need an HFS+ formatted hard drive, and it works best with a Firewire connection. The La Cie Quadra hard drives for Mac, with their "auto on" switch feature, are perfect. Plan on it taking an hour or two for Mac to make the first backup, but after that Time Machine is completely seamless and quietly makes regular back-ups of your files. The interface for finding backed-up files and restoring them is nothing short of brilliant.

The second remarkable new feature is Spaces, which is (for all you old-time Mac users out there) essentially Switcher on steroids -- MAJOR steroids. You can create multiple work spaces and put different programs in each workspace -- and if you have a background activity (like a download) going in one workspace, you can switch to another and the background activity cheerfully continues, out of sight. So you can work on a PowerPoint presentation in one screen while having your browser open in another, so they aren't constantly getting in each other's way. This feature is particularly useful with VMWare's Fusion --you can assign a full-screen Windows environment to its very own separate Space. In theory, up to sixteen "Spaces" are available. Incidentally, if you have a Mighty Mouse, try assigning Spaces to the trackball button -- you click on the trackball to pull up all the active Spaces, and then use the trackball to switch between them. Very spiffy.

I imagine that over the next few weeks some glitches will appear, but overall the Leopard upgrade seems very stable and bug free. My only gripe is the price, really -- while Time Machine and Spaces are great achievements, most of the rest of the changes seem like trinkets, and the price seems a little high. But not so high that I wouldn't recommend adding it to any Mac eligible for the upgrade.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 1, 2007 2:41:58 PM PDT
mwoz says:
Thank you. I was beginning to think no one liked Leopard and that I'd made a mistake in upgrading.

Posted on Nov 4, 2007 6:58:15 AM PST
Bob Nolin says:
Thank you. Based on your comments, I believe I will wait on this upgrade. The benefits are not enough to risk upgrading, at this time, sounds like. Thanks for taking time to review.
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