Like many Apple fanbois did yesterday, I took the plunge and installed Snow Leopard (10.6), Apple’s next release of it’s operating system, the successor of Leopard (10.5). The install was very straightforward, no issues, fairly easy and in no time I was running the new cat.
I am going to avoid the “I really wanted to like Snow Leopard” cliché and admit that I was ready to dislike the snow feline. I had played with a pre-release version of it about 2 months ago and I was not impressed. Apple claimed that this update, was not rich in features but mostly optimizations made under the hood, such as taking advantage of multiple cores in systems and 64-bit technology. When I heard that, my immediate reaction was “this update is going to suck”.
Let’s start with the good: The OS boots faster, apps launch faster and that’s about it. There have been some refinements made to the dock, such as a change in the appearance, and stacks having some tweaks to make it more usable:
These features, while nice to have, are something one would expect from a minor update, not something marketed as something new of the OS.
The services menu that no one ever uses has also changed in the hopes of being used more, which is not going to happen anytime soon.
That’s it, from my perspective, those are the features that make me feel I’m not using Leopard. Would it really have killed Apple to update the dreaded, old as mold Finder? This so called ‘file manager’ cannot cut files, it does not have tabs, and pales in comparison with Pathfinder from CocoaTech, which makes the best file manager in the world, period.
In terms of stability, Snow Leopard feels like it was not tested enough. This message has been popping on my screen every minute:
I have looked everywhere, posted on the forums and have yet to receive an answer. If I just let it sit there, it won’t pop up anymore, but eventually I will lose keyboard input for a while, and that is perfectly fine because who needs the keyboard to work to start with?
The whole 64-bit is kind of flawed, as Macs that are not Xserves will boot by default on 32-bit mode unless you press 6 & 4 at boot time. Doing so will have an adverse effects with any system prefs that are not 64-bit mode. One of the best monitoring applications, Menu Meters, will not work in Snow Leopard because of this.
My frustration has reached new levels and as soon as I finish publishing this post, I am downgrading (fortunately, doing so on OS X is a piece of cake). I think I would wait for 10.6.1 but then again I thought “Why?”. There is no killer feature in this OS that makes upgrading worthwhile. Even at $29, this upgrade is a ripoff. The features implemented here are analogous to Vista’s SP2, and that my friends, was a free upgrade.
Then there’s the whole debate of comparing Snow Leopard with Windows 7, to which I say ‘don’t even bother’. Windows 7 has a plethora of under-the-hood features (on-demand background services, multithreading capabilities, etc.) as well as lots of features on the GUI. Even though it’s ‘Vista done right’, it feels like a new OS, which is not the case with Snow Leopard.
I really cannot stress enough how much I recommend NOT going for the Snow Leopard upgrade. It lacks in every department one would expect from an OS update, let’s hope whatever cat is next delivers more than this so-called ‘OS update’.