A new version of Mac OS X Leopard is on the way. Some Mac users cry, “About time.” Why?
For some Mac users, Leopard has been the buggiest version of OS X ever, certainly more so than Panther, seemingly more so than Tiger.
Mac developers have reported to Mac360 that Apple’s upcoming update, Mac OS X 10.5.2, probably due in January, is a whopper sufficient to make Burger King proud.
Whopper? The latest software update for Mac developers is reported to weigh a hefty 350 megabytes with more bug fixes than any previous version of OS X.
Why? Bugs. Lots of bugs. In fact, there are so many changes coming in the next version of Leopard that Apple highlighted over three dozen Leopard components for developers to check, ranging from Time Machine, Safari, iCal, Mail, and many, many more?
Bugs? Yes. All it takes is a quick look at Apple’s support discussion message boards to get an idea of the troubles that Leopard has wrought on Mac users. Take your pick. If it has to do with Leopard, then Mac users have found something wrong with it.
Our experiences with the Mac360 crew are mixed. Alex has indicated few problems using Leopard on her Macs. Kate’s been traveling and hasn’t weighed in on the recent big bug fix update, Leopard 10.5.1, which, for me fixed a few issues, though nothing serious.
In fact, my experience has been mixed, but in nearly every issue of Leopard coughing, kerneling, sputtering, or spitting out a bug, I could always trace the problem to some 3rd party software that needed to be updated.
Not so for many Mac users; far more than is normal for Apple’s recent updates, including Jaguar, Panther (possibly the most stable version of OS X ever), and Tiger. That makes me wonder. What did Apple and Mac developers do over the past two and a half years that was different?
Mac software developers get the latest versions of Mac OS X so they can develop their applications and utilities and have them ready for market when Apple launches an update. That didn’t work too well with Leopard, delayed up to six months from an earlier expected launch.
Even then, Leopard’s launch seemed to catch many Mac software developers by surprise. Some popular software utilities have yet to be updated for Leopard users. What’s going on?
Growth pains. Resource constraints. Think about it. Apple is shoving OS X into anything that uses electricity. Macs. iPhone. iPod. Moving OS X around to various devices isn’t just a matter of copy or cut and paste. It takes time, people, effort. My guess is that Apple is struggling to find the programmers and resources to keep up the quality we’ve known from past years.
Maybe Apple realizes they can get away with more problems than ever because Microsoft has more problems than ever. After all, quality control and expectations are relative in nature. “OS X Leopard: At Least It’s Not Vista.”
It may well be that former Windows users who experience the Mac, even with a boat load of problems that would cause most Mac users to scream to high heaven, find that it’s still not as bad as their experience with a variety of Windows versions on a variety of PC hardware. It’s all relative.
This is anecdotal, and not a scientific survey, but it seems to me that over the past couple of years, everything Apple has shoved out the door has been a little buggier than previous products, both hardware and software.
Yes, Apple scurries to find and fix bugs, and hardware and software updates are frequent.
But it doesn’t take much of that methodology to get a reputation for selling half-baked Apple pies.
I’m a frequent reader of Apple’s Discussions, Macintouch, and other Mac-oriented sites which highlight OS X’s problem areas. It’s a good place to lurk around to find out what problems other Mac users are having. Sometimes, I read their problems and feel good that I don’t have that many bugs on my Macs.
Other times, I read and search to find someone else with a similar issue. I’m usually not alone. Something else is happening, too. My Macs have more 3rd party software, applications and utilities and tools, than ever before. My Macs have more Apple software than ever. Possibly double the number of running applications as I had on Panther. Maybe more.
All that extra software means extra problems, more frequent updates, more opportunities for bugs to crop up. Like it or not, Leopard, for all the shiny goodness and feel good features, is a very, very complicated beast. Is it any wonder that Apple’s next version of Leopard features more bug fixes and updates than any version of OS X ever? Leopard needs it.
If you’re a Mac user dating back to at least Panther, how would you compare your ‘problem’ experiences between Panther, Tiger, and Leopard?