Saturday Oct 27, 2007

Leopard upgrade experience

I just upgraded my MacBook Pro laptop to Leopard (aka OS X 10.5). Here are my experiences so far:
  • I ran a full backup first (doesn't everyone?), then performed the default upgrade procedure.
  • On first Leopard boot, Spotlight started re-indexing both my startup drive, and my backup (external FireWire) drive, even though I had previously disabled Spotlight on the external volume. I had to disable it again. I then unmounted the external drive. Spotlight continued to index my internal drive, but starting reporting something ridiculous like -5234923 hours to go. Sure enough, next morning it had still not completed (it said 28% done by then - this is on a 120GB disk with 100GB used). I rebooted, and Spotlight finished indexing in about 10 minutes.
  • My login keychain was messed up. Apparently it didn't like that my keychain had the name of my userid; it insisted on using the keychain named "login", which was empty. Running Keychain First Aid (under the Keychain Access menu) solved the problem, migrating all my keychain data over.
  • 1passwd didn't work initially. Turns out I had an older version installed. When I upgraded to 2.5.0, it started working again. Others are apparently still having problems, see here.
  • X11 is now installed by default. It noticed I had a custom ~/.xinitrc file and warned me about it, asking me what to do (I said to leave it alone). But there are problems. There is now an X11.app in /usr/X11/. The Tiger version was in /Applications/Utilities/, and remained there after the upgrade. There also seems to be some detritus left over in /usr: in addition to the directories /usr/X11/ and /usr/X11R6/ (a symlink to /usr/X11/), there is also a /usr/X11R6 1/, which contains its own include, lib & man subdirs.
    When launching X11, I now wind up with _two_ X11 icons in my Dock. One of them blinks for a long time, then shows "Application Not Responding" when ctrl-clicking the dock icon; it can't be killed (though it goes away when I quit the original X11).
    Plus there are two other mysteries: it takes two clicks of the dock icon to switch to an X11 window (and Cmd-Tab to X11 doesn't do the right thing either). Worst of all, three button mouse emulation doesn't work correctly. In Tiger, option-click emulated middle-click and Cmd-click emulated right-click. Now, option-click emulates right-click, and Cmd-click emulates Meta-middle-click. There seems to be no way to emulate a simple middle-click. Since that's how you paste in X11, this is a real problem. This works fine with a real mouse.
  • Mail Act-On & MailTags plugins are both incompatible with Leopard. Actually, Mail Act-On can be re-enabled, look here for details.
  • The Cisco VPN client we use to login to Sun's network works fine under Leopard. This is the first time a major OS X upgrade has not also required a new VPN client. I have heard there are conflicts with the "Back to My Mac" functionality of .Mac, so I went ahead and disabled it as a precaution.
  • Mail.app no longer breaks long URLs for other mail clients by adding gratuitous spaces. Hallelujah!!
  • iCal now has a preference to set an alarm on new appointments by default. No more need for third party solutions like iCalFix.
  • Quicksilver (web page currently not responding) always displays its icon in the dock, even if I tell it not to. Also, the two items it puts into the system-wide Services menu disappeared for quite some time (including through a couple reboots and rerunning of the Quicksilver setup), but they eventually returned.

    UPDATE 1: An new version of quicksilver which addresses the dock icon issue can be found here.

  • Spaces is great. I was tired of VirtueDesktop's memory leaks & crashing. I just wish it allowed more hotkey options for activating its multi-desktop view (one non-obvious tip: you can set a corner to activate Spaces, but you do it from the Exposé Pref. pane). I also wish I could name the spaces (at least for the menubar pull-down).
  • I haven't played with Time Machine; it looks to be useless for me (and perhaps most laptop users), as it requires a second drive to be attached at all times.
  • UPDATE 2: I can now with confidence state that the AirPort connection/stall problems plaguing me since upgrading to 10.4.10 are completely resolved in Leopard!! This has been a long, frustrating problem for many laptop users since 10.4.10 came out. Although I'm annoyed at Apple for how long they let this drag on, I'm glad it's over for me, and hope they release a fix for those 10.4.10 users not planning to upgrade.
    One interesting change: now when I press the AirPort menubar icon (which is what used to be needed to get the AirPort connection to start up again with this problem in 10.4.10), instead of a delay before anything happens, the menu drops down immediately, with the top line initially saying: "AirPort: Scanning..." for a second or two (in a greyed-out font), before switching to "AirPort: On".
  • UPDATE 3: Salling Clicker stopped working for me; it said Bluetooth wasn't available. There is a preliminary 3.5.1 update available which solved the problem for me.
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I work on the Oracle VM Server for SPARC (nee LDoms) team.

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