Snow Leopard Blues

Posted by on Sep 3, 2009 in Updates | No Comments

I’ve not upgraded to Snow Leopard. And I’m not sure whether I will, anytime soon. This is unusual for me. I’m normally a bleeding-edge, early adopter type. I’ll happily install the .0 release of Apple things the day after they come out.

So, according to the marketing hype, Snow Leopard should be a no-brainer for me. It’s better, it’s faster, and it’s cheap! It’s not as cheap in the UK, of course, as it is in the US; these things never bloody are, but that’s beside the point.

Until you start doing a little bit of research that goes beyond the marketing hype, that is. The handy wikidot-hosted Snow Leopard Compatibility page points out a lot of flies in my potential ointment.

I generally keep fairly up-to-date with my apps, especially those that offer in-app automatic updates, or anything I use regularly. Nevertheless, a quick scout through the list tells me that I’m likely to have problems with Parallels, Quicksilver, Perian, Flip4Mac, Caffeine, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Gears, Growl, Lightroom, Magical, RapidWeaver, XMarks for Safari, and Google Sketchup.

And that’s just the applications I’ve used within the last couple of weeks. I use many of these daily.

And when I say “problems”, this ranges from “minor issues” to “Just Plain Won’t Work”. And it looks like the issues can be pretty severe, if Merlin Mann’s recent experiences are anything to go by. (More on Merlin’s irritations here).

Looking deeper into compatibility, it seems that Parallels don’t have any plans to fix Parallels 3 so it works in Snow Leopard. They’ve got a “special offer” on this month to encourage upgrades, but that’s still £24.99, plus an extra £5.62 for the “Extended Download for Parallels Desktop 4.0” that they kindly auto-add to your shopping cart (including 19% sales tax for UK customers buying in pounds from their UK site, for some unknown reason.) So that’s £30.61, more than the cost of Snow Leopard itself. For something I use about once every two months, when I need to test a web page in Internet Explorer. Looks like I’ll have to ditch that and go dual-boot instead.

Add to this the new annoyances that I can see creeping in — I see that useful things in QuickTime Pro have been disappeared from QuickTime X (I used the “Open Image Sequence” feature to create an animation just the other day), meaning you’ve got to have them both around. This reminds me of the irritating days of the new iMovie, where you’d have to do half your work in one and the other half in the other, depending on what feature you wanted to use at the time. Plus I’ve seen people disliking what they’ve done with Exposé (I don’t think I’ll like it all neatly aligned to a grid, either) and a few additional pointless animations.

And what’s on the plus side? Erm. Well, I’m not quite sure. There’s lots of things on the feature list, but none of them are particularly impressive. Okay, having 7Gb of disk space back will be nice, but only when I’ve used up the other few hundred gigabytes I’ve got spare. Exchange support? Sounds like an extra quarter gigabyte they could have shaved off for me. Safari 4? Already got it. And 64 bits? Something tells me my Core Duo iMac won’t be taking much advantage of that…

It looks like Rogue Amoeba’s venerable SoundSource menubar app has been replaced by built-in functionality (those with Snow Leopard, try Option-clicking on the speaker icon in the menubar!), but that’s the only plus I can see, and it doesn’t actually gain me anything. SoundSource is free.

It seems to be all flies and no ointment. So, unlike last time, I’ve managed to resist pushing the “One-Day 1-Click” button on Amazon for several days after an OS X release. And I think I’m going to keep on resisting for some time.

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