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. Installed Leopard on my father in law’s mac mini. No probs at all, and he loves it.

    Put it on my Macbook, Powerbook and iBook–again no probs at all.

    Plugged the iBook into the windows office network and went to browse the network and everything was just THERE. All the machines on the network–no icons shifting around as the network was read, no machines failing to appear, no inexplicable failure to browse the network. Accessing a share just required clicking on the machine and clicking on the share–no dodgy samba authentication problems. Printer access is clearly laid out, and again network printers detected and accessed. With Tiger network browsing was also flakey–sometimes it browsed, sometimes not, and usually I had to keep the IP numbers of different machines memorized.

    Time machine is cool, but I think the best “new” feature of Leopard is the vastly improved Finder–particularly over networks.

    Oh, and how could I forget–under Tiger losing a network share absolutely freaked Finder and any program using an open file over network was grounds for a permanent spinning beach ball, and froze Word every time. No more–the finder reacts gracefully, and Word instead of freezing up just lets me save the file locally. Fantastic.

    I’m so please with Leopard I may end up having to buy it!

  2. By the way, just to try out different ways of installing I’ve done archive and install on the father in law’s machine, archive and install on an iMac 24, an upgrade installed on the iBook (not enough hard drive space to do an archive and install), an archive and install on a PowerBook, an upgrade install on my own Mac mini, and for the Macbook I used this as an opportunity to the replace the OEM hard drive with a 160 GB drive and installed Leopard as a fresh install, and used the migration assistant to transfer my account from the old hard drive stuck in a USB enclosure. Very, very pleased–account and applications transferred without a hitch.

    So far the only problem I have had is that a sound program, XLD, that I use for flac to apple lossless conversion is broken, so I have to use xAct to convert to AIFF, and then iTunes to apple lossless.

    Given the installations I’ve done I find it hard to believe that any stats would be near only 1/3 for sucessful installs. Although I’ve been installing on relatively recent machines I’ve certainly done a significant number of installs the past couple of days, on a variety of machines, and a variety of installation methods.

  3. @HueyLong

    I was talking to the people who got BSOD’d or had problems with the actual OS in and of itself.

    Application incompatibilities is a whole other ball of wax, and has nothing to do with problems installing the OS.

  4. Yesterday, Leopard arrived by means of the UPS guy.
    I only have a humble titanium powerbook G4 1 GHZ, luckily with 1 GB RAM.
    Installing Leopard on top op Tiger was painless: 1 hour 45 minutes later the beast was up and running (including a 20 minutes DVD disc check).

    My first impressions:
    – total startup time of my humble minimum-specs tibook until login screen is approx 15 seconds longer, and logging in takes approx 10 seconds more than before. However, within 1 minute 20 seconds I am fully operational.
    – starting apps sometimes seem to take slightly more than before, but the Leopard extras make it all worth (I have become a fan of cover flow already).
    – DVD player works still very well indeed
    – to my surprise, Filemaker 8.5 advanced seems to function (though Filemaker announced that Filemaker Pro 9 is incompatible with Leopard). I’ll find out more in the coming days.

    “Why on earth would anyone want to keep on using an old minimum-specs (Leopard wise) powerbook G4?”, I hear you asking…
    The answer is that my tibook remains cool to the touch, even after playing a DVD for an hour (only the bottom gets warm after extended use, but never anywhere close to the danger zone).
    To me, a cool powerbook beats a hot macbook any day.

    Oh, by the way: I did a simple upgrade. Worked flawless for me.

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