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Old 09-29-2009, 08:59 AM   #1
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Default Moving up to Snow Leopard (Mac)

I have been reading the MacInTouch early report on Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6). We are definitely in the early days for this OS version — authors Robert Mohns et al say that “full assessment of something this complex is a process that will play out over weeks and months ahead.” But I sit here eyeing my $29 upgrade DVD, trying to figure out when (and how) to dive in, and I find this article encouraging (though it also inspires caution).

Here are some of the things that caught my eye.

New benefits:
  • A completely new, more reliable Finder, rewritten from scratch, with sortable Column Views, restoration of Put Back for items in the Trash, and more.
  • Options to exclude some bulky extras during installation (foreign language files and the X11 software for running Linux, for example). And you can ask to have Rosetta, QuickTime 7, and some other older items installed with the new OS.
  • Improved accessibility — VoiceOver’s screen-reading skills are improved; there is support for more Braille displays, for example. And the prefs are portable. Store them on a thumb drive, plug it into any other Snow Leopard Mac, and they will work (and the original settings restored when you log out, restart, or turn off VoiceOver).

  • Make a complete clone/backup, then disconnect the drive it is on as well as Time Machine before installing Snow Leopard. Then set up a separate new drive for Time Machine, retaining the old one alone and the clone/backup for until you see how things shake out.
  • SL will not install on late-model MacBook Pros, and may not install on some other systems.
  • Bye-bye AppleTalk networking, so any printer that relies on it will need to be replaced or reconfigured.
  • The new Finder has some problems with file type recognition and working with file icons on the desktop (annoyances, basically).
  • Some mess with the new replacement — you will need to keep QuickTime 7 around, but even with both of these, there is less functionality.
  • The Mac’s historic default gamma will be changed to match TV and PCs (so you must calibrate your display after installing).
  • Font-smoothing problems on some non-Mac LCD displays (can be fixed in Terminal).

Pithy comments from the report’s authors:
  • “Snow Leopard has some great advances, but we're disappointed by the minimal security improvements, and by the way Apple has handicapped crucial software developers such as Adobe. It's two steps forward and one step back.”.
  • “Snow Leopard … seems to be aimed with all its bells and whistles, "eye candy" and performance tweaks, directly at Windows, which eventually stole the original Mac's thunder through Microsoft's monopolistic business practices.”
  • “… if you're already running Leopard on an Intel Mac, and don't depend on any incompatible apps or hardware, Snow Leopard's an absolute no-brainer upgrade — $29 (less at Amazon) for speed and security improvements, general refinement and reliability, with a functional Finder?! Whoa, sign us up!”
This is just stuff that caught my eye. The report contains much more. Worth reading before upgrading to Snow Leopard.

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