Yes.. I upgraded to Leopard — Mac OS X 10.5. Probably obvious given my most recent postings about Leopard and various issues it’s release. I wasn’t going to upgrade until after the first of the year to give a chance for Apple to put out a couple of updates. But there were copies for sale when I walked into the Renton Fry’s Electronics and I just couldn’t help buying a copy. So I brought it home.. thought about it for a moment.. threw in the disk and selected to upgrade.

Upgrading was a breeze. And it’s every bit as amazing to look at as everyone says it is. It’s what happened in the wake of that upgrade that was the problem….

First make note that I’m a Developer/Architect for a living.. whatever you want to call it.. Java Enterprise, Ruby on Rails and even .NET Enterprise development (if you point a gun to my head). The reason I bought a Mac and moved to OS X with 10.4 (Tiger) was because I could easily have one platform that could do everything I wanted. I can do Ruby on Rails work.. Java EE (aka J2EE).. and with Parallels I can run my .NET dev tools (under the aforementioned conditions of course). I can even build ports of popular Linux titles (like GIMP) that run natively within OS X. I often called my Mac Pro “The Ultimate Geeking Machine”.

For end users, I think Leopard is great and you should upgrade as soon as you can. Yes.. some users have reported problems upgrading.. but if you have a system that is more than 2 years old I’d recommend backing up your data and doing an new install rather than an upgrade. That seems to be the most effective strategy for the pre-Intel Macs out there and it seems to cause them to be “bricked” less often.

For developers.. well.. for this developer.. this upgrade hasn’t been without a few growing pains…

First, one of the reasons I upgraded to Leopard was that at the WWDC Apple all but said that Leopard was coming out with Java 6. Java 6 test releases were on Apple’s website and it really showed promise. When I was done with the upgrade to 10.5, Java 6 was nowhere to be found. Yes.. Java 5 is there.. and it’s crazy-fast.. and you can run it in 64-bit mode too. BUT there are so many advantages to Java 6 and improvements that I was really looking forward to seeing it ship. Now, Apple hasn’t said they’re not releasing Java 6. In fact they haven’t really said much of anything since the rollout of Leopard. They even removed the developer preview release of Java 6 from their websites. This is really causing backlash and a bit of FUD in the Mac and Java communities. I think Java 6 will still ship.. it’s probably just not ready. And Apple isn’t one to talk about tools until they’re ready. Every time they talk about them ahead of time.. it bites them.

Next peeve – all of my Unix ports broke. ALL of them. Pan, GIMP, XChat.. if it had an X11 graphic interface, it died. OK.. so I rebuilt them – at least I did starting about 3 days ago when the porting projects started addressing the upgrade issues. The Fink and MacPorts projects are getting hammered with reports of issues. I’m sure it’ll get resolved… but it’ll take a while. And things are getting better all the time as has been mentioned in my earlier blog postings.

The new firewall in Leopard sucks.. I’m not going to go into the reasons it does.. you can read about them here: http://db.tidbits.com/article/9294. I have my computers behind firewalls.. but I’m paranoid so I like to have additional protection on each machine in the network too. The new Firewall kills Skype.. and is just a pain to use. So I went back to the firewall “engine” that 10.4 came with (and that is still part of Leopard), ipfw. Using WaterRoof (http://www.hanynet.com/waterroof/) as a front end to it I was able to re-harden the box. However this approach is not for the faint-of-heart and I don’t recommend it. Hopefully the Leopard firewall will be fixed by the time 10.5.1 is released.

One of my Ruby dev tools – 3rdRail – has problems with it’s Mozilla viewer perspective. This is due to a problem with Eclipse’s toolkit, the SWT. Apparently the Eclipse group knows about the issues and are working on them – but that won’t help me until 3rdRail is updated – I can work around the issues and the rest of the IDE is solid. This one really isn’t CodeGear’s fault (they make 3rdRail). They didn’t test with Leopard and I was stupid to upgrade so soon – plain and simple. I guess in this case my existence can serve to be a warning to others.. 🙂

Assorted Mac products don’t work quite right either.. The Missing Sync, Parallels, Snerdware’s GroupCal and AddressX are ones I can recall right off the top of my head. But their authors are working hard to resolve these issues. Parallels and Missing Sync already have betas available.

Does that mean all was bad in the land of Leopard? Not at all. Overall working in Leopard has been really good. But it’s not without it’s growing pains. My suggestion is that if you’re more of an end user – back up and upgrade away. If you’re a developer – you might want to wait until one or two updates ship.