Ars Technica reviews Apple’s Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: ‘Absolutely packed with improvements’

“As I’ve learned more about Leopard, it’s become increasingly clear where, exactly, those two-and-a-half years of development time went. Leopard is absolutely packed with improvements. It seems that not a corner of the OS has gone untouched,” John Siracusa reports in his comprehensive review for Ars Technica.

“Perhaps that’s not as clear to the casual user who just sees the surface changes and the major new features in Leopard. But even in that case, there’s more than enough to recommend it. if you’re wondering whether you should upgrade to Leopard, the answer, as it’s been for every major revision of Mac OS X, is yes,” Siracusa reports.

“I’m most excited about Leopard’s internals. They’re the star of this release, even if they don’t get top billing. There’s a good reason we’ve already seen so many prominent Leopard-only software announcements. This is where developers want to be,” Siracusa reports.

“Leopard’s pull on developers will translate into better applications for users… eventually. In the meantime, I’m hard pressed to think of a single Mac user I know who wouldn’t benefit from Time Machine’s hassle-free backup magic. If you’re looking for one reason to upgrade, this is it. Yeah, backups are boring, which is why you’re probably not doing them regularly right now. No more excuses,” Siracusa reports.

“The stage is set for Mac OS X 10.6 to triumph beyond the bounds of its ancestors. In the meantime, it’s the Mac development community’s opportunity to shine. Whether it reigns for two and a half years, like Tiger, or even longer, I’m looking forward to my time aboard starship Leopard,” Siracusa reports.

Full comprehensive review – highly recommended – here.


  1. Two successful installations here. One on a two year old Mac Mini the other on a three year old PB G4. Not sure what could be causing the problems. I simply followed the directions and came back in an hour or so and everything was done.

    MW: turned. Apple has turned a corner and left everyone else in the dust.

  2. Installation one on a G4 dual 1Ghz, first try resulted in the BSD (stuck on ‘blue screen of death’) also, inadvertently had external disc on during install. This could have created problems. Second try worked just fine installing on a second partition of G4 internal disc. Now I need to ‘ungunk’ the first partition. (Meh…)

    Install two on a MacBook 2 Ghz, first try worked, but had to re-enter some passwords for Airport Extreme (802.11n).

    Since that time, all is well. both machines ‘see’ each other over WiFi very well.

    Also, I asked Apple Store person what license I should have as a single user with two macs. He says “Family Pack” because of multiple Macs. I say “sounds like Family Pack is for family of Macs, not family of Man”. He says that “technically, the ‘single user’ license would work but would violate software agreement”. We both agreed that in this era of WiFi, and the computers being ‘aware’ of each other, changes the whole game now.

    Since I am an independent video producer and my home studio lives or dies on reliable working machines, I opted for ‘Family Pack’ to keep things from getting sketchy in the background, lest I encounter some inexplicable problem created by conflicting OS licenses on the WiFi network.

    In the end, I’m happy with the results and Apple has certainly earned their stripes, er’ spots, on this one.

  3. Getting a family pack is less expensive than getting multiple single user packs and a way to keep legal if an auditor comes sniffing at your door. Back to topic – Was a bit tricky on my powerbook but got it to work and had just about everything backed up. New iMac worked perfectly and have a clone of previous setup. Anyone who works or has worked in support departments knows that x.0 installs can sometimes be tricky but that is the cost of being on the cutting edge. So far, so awsome.

  4. “About 1/3 of people get it to install on the first try.”

    Where are you getting that statistic… looking at the help forums?

    The people who are having trouble are mostly morons who install 3rd party mods and then try to do an upgrade instead of an archive & install.

    I’m sure 99% of them could have been prevented with a few simple precautions and preparations as detailed in the Macfixit guide here:

    Personally, all three Leopard installations in my household went almost flawlessly, all were archive & installs.

    But seriously, I wouldn’t even attempt a plain upgrade on a brand new release of an OS update. That’s just asking for trouble. Especially if you have any OS mods or app plugins you haven’t disabled. Archive & Install is the way to go. That alone probably prevents like 95% of the problems. Just because it’s a Mac doesn’t mean it won’t have bugs and you shouldn’t take basic steps to ensure a smooth upgrade.

  5. Installed my family pack on my 2 intel iMacs and Macbook. Just put in the disk and installed. All went smoothly and took less than an hour each. Others in my MUG reported no problems with install either. Glad I did not know of problems, I probably would have gone to a lot of trouble that would have been a wate of time.

  6. So far have installed Leopard on two machines, one on a PB 15″ G5, one on a new Imac. Only issue was migrating from an older Imac to the new Imac. The old Imac had a new keyboard and didn’t like booting into Target mode. So found an old keyboard and everything proceeded spit-spot. After migration, proceeded to update the new Imac before installing Leopard. All worked well.
    This is the wife’s mac: she loves the email templates!

  7. I Hope Apple follows some of John Syracusa’s advice, especially with concern to the dock, folders, and bland icons. Some of the things he has brought to light have convinced me to hold off installing Leopard to see if Apple will address them in their first update.

  8. George:

    Don’t call me a moron – asshøle.

    My install [done by the book: backed up; disconnected peripherals, etc], went well until I opened Aperture [v1.5.6] and discovered that all the menus across the top of the screen had disappeared. And so far haven’t returned despite numerous reboots and preference dumps.

    Aperture – a critical app for me – is currently dead on my machine as a result.

    Don’t spout off idiotic comments and show your ignorance before engaging your brain next time.

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