Upgrading to Leopard

It’s been an interesting day on the laptop. I picked up Leopard this morning, and after having backed up my laptop last night, I did the install.

I thought about an upgrade install, but I decided against it – maybe good, maybe bad. I stashed my entire home directory onto a USB drive (turns out that was a damn good idea), sync’ed up my data with .Mac, and did a complete wipe/install.

The only significant “Oh shit!” in the process was that .Mac didn’t sync *back* all the stuff I thought it would. I asked it to pull everything from .Mac down to replace bookmarks in Safari, the Address Book entries, Mail accounts, keychains, etc. What I got was Mail accounts and my keychain. Safari ended up with nothing for bookmarks – just wiped it all out, and the Address Book was completely empty. Fortunately between a dump from my desktop computer of those items, and my iPhone, I was able to get them all back into sync without issue. Apple needs some serious love against the .Mac stack as far as I can tell – a 2 year old API that still hasn’t gone out of beta and the periodic issues like I’m seeing – all without errors… it’s a definite weak spot.

So a word to the wise: if you’re following the “clean install” path, export your bookmarks and vcards and back those up explicitly for importing when it’s all back in operation.

I used the Application Support folder in my home directories “Library” to populate out all the goodies for Camino, Firefox, and NetNewsWire. For most of the other applications, I just copied in the Apps and re-registered them. That took care of Acorn, VoodooPad, TextMate, Coda, OmniGraffle, and (ya gotta have it!) Escape Velocity Nova. The other apps (iWork ’08, the iLife stuff, etc) I pulled in from CD or DVD as they were available, and while that took a while to get done, it all worked very smoothly.

The new developer tools got installed (Of course!!), and I really like what Apple has done when it first kicked into gear – there was a welcome page with a plethora of links, notes, and topics – sort of a “hey, check it out!” advertisement if you will (except WAY more useful than most adverts). It was a nice touch. I didn’t poke around in there too much, but I had to fire everything up at least once to see what popped out. Lots of folks are hearing that Xray was renamed “Instruments” – fine, whatever. The only phrase that really matters to me about it is the critical “It’s DTrace under the hood!”, which hasn’t changed. There’s a world to dig into there, and I’m looking forward to really pushing that about. And the ADC has up a few new articles talking about the advancements in Objective-C 2.0 that are available in Leopard, as well as a nice overview of the graphics updates (which are huge). I spotted them in the XCode “Hi there” window first, but James also tossed up a link on his blog – seeing as how he probably wrote most of that… When it comes down to development tools, of course I had to check:

[akoop:~] heckj$ python
Python 2.5.1 (r251:54863, Oct  5 2007, 21:08:09)
[GCC 4.0.1 (Apple Inc. build 5465)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.

and subversion is built right in!

I’m quickly migrating my muscle memory habits into using Spaces (virtual desktops) instead of my older habit of “hide the window for now”. I’ve got a nice setup and have been moving applications between windows to split everything up. So far, it is working extremely well.

There are a lot of updates associated with Applications to work with Leopard. I’ve spent most of the day solidly slamming my DSL line to get them all down and in place. It took quite a while to synchronize out my IMAP accounts as well – I guess I’ve just got a lot of crap stored up in there.

The final tidbit for my “Upgrading to Leopard” post is that this is the first Mac OS release where things feel a bit slower than before. I’ve been getting damn spoiled by previous releases, and some of it may be that I’m trying to fire up enough applications to eat 64GB of RAM… but seriously, sometimes there are these weird sort of “pauses” in the finder, mail, or whatever that I haven’t quite figured out. I don’t know if I’m overdriving my laptop right now (maybe it’s reindexing, caching, or whatever) – I hope so, but its something I’m definitely going to keep an eye on for a few days to see how it rolls. Not that I’m going back – nope, just deal with it. Shoot – I spend most of my work day waiting for Outlook on a MUCH faster machine than this. I can deal with some slight UI perturbations and quirks. For the most part, the whole OS has a much higher level of polish. Lots of little tweaks and touches – you can really tell that “how it looked” was a critical part of the whole release this time – from the OS to small utility applications. It’s great detail.

Published by heckj

Developer, author, and life-long student. Writes online at https://rhonabwy.com/.

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