Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pot, Meet Kettle

This evening while I was watching an episode of Journeyman from a couple of weeks ago, I stopped to watch a Mac Vs. PC commercial that I hadn't seen previously. This one features PC talking about how dissatisfied users are with Vista, but they shouldn't use this as a reason to switch to Mac's new Leopard operating system. It ends with PC confiding to Mac that he actually switched back to XP three weeks ago, and he's so much happier.

Problem is, I have had the exact same experience with Leopard. I'm not a Mac novice--I've been using Macs for more than twenty years now, and have always upgraded to the newest operating system almost upon release. I did just that with Leopard (Mac OSX 10.5, for those who aren't up on their Mac nomenclature)... and within a matter of days, I went to a great deal of trouble to downgrade to 104.10 again.

Leopard was not ready for prime time; this is an operating system that was too buggy to have ever seen release, but Mac felt obligated to get it out the door in October, regardless of the fact that it didn't work.

Never, since the inception of Mac OSX, has an incremental upgrade in operating systems rendered large numbers of programs non-functional, with little or no hope of repair... but Leopard did exactly that. Some programs wouldn't work at all, others (such as Quark 6.5, the last reliable and relatively speedy version of Quark the company produced, since Quark 7 is bloated, slow, and unreliable) lost functionality to the point they were unreliable. Some hardware ceased to function.

And it wasn't just third-party software that was affected. This past spring, Apple unveiled their new 802.11n Airport Extreme base stations, which offered a great feature called Airport Disk. This feature allowed users to plug a USB 2 drive into the Airport Extreme and have it work as a network drive accessible by any computer connected to that Airport's network. Sounds great, doesn't it? Well, it is... but it doesn't work under Leopard. That's right--Apple wrote and released an operating system that broke a key feature of a piece of hardware that Apple had introduced earlier in the same year! Even worse, Apple had to roll out a patch within a week or so of Leopard's release... and it still didn't fix the broken network disk feature!

This wasn't the only Apple hardware problem. Airport cards became unreliable or didn't work at all for some users; connection speeds dropped dramatically; features like the Time Machine backup system didn't do what Apple originally said they'd do. For the first time in twenty years, I was embarrassed to be an Apple advocate; the company had released a piece of software that should have never seen the light of day in its current incarnation.

Like I said, I downgraded from Leopard to Panther in order to restore the functionality that was nonexistent in Leopard. I wasn't alone; a survey of the Mac forums reveals that a lot of others have been forced to do the same thing. And that makes Apple's latest commercial seem more than a little ironic, doesn't it?

1 comment:

Sven said...

I've heard a lot about problems with Apples new OS, Here's a link to an article in PC World,2704,2223921,00.asp the upside on Microsofts problems with Vista is they admit there are problems. Infact they stated that a lot of third party software and some hardware wouldn't work with Vista without upgrades. On the flip side Apple wants you to feel that it's all your fault, instead of admitting the that there are issues and fixing them.