My next Mac will be a PC

01.12.2007 14:55

One simple reason: it got really hard to do anything useful on my PowerBook after I upgraded to OS X 10.5 Leopard.

My office suite of choice is OpenOffice. Granted it wasn't very responsive even before the upgrade, but at least it responded fast enough to be usable. Now, it either doesn't start at all (version 2.2) or randomly crashes (version 2.3) after a couple of minutes of work. Now I'm using NeoOffice. That works, but has other quirks (like every once in a while it doesn't let me change the font). Did I mention how slow it is? It uses up practically all of computer's 1.25 GB of RAM and still takes around 5 seconds to show up a font selection dialog.

Other applications like Firefox and Thunderbird also got less stable. I often get first the spinning beach ball cursor and then after some minutes of unresponsiveness a crash dialog.

X11 applications are another pain with Leopard. GIMP and Inkscape will crash X11 or X11 will crash them once every 15 minutes. And they are also slow - much slower in my opinion than on OS X 10.3.

I also had to disable practically all of Leopard's fancy new features (at least those I could turn off). Spaces for example. After a couple of weeks of using it I found out that Spaces is a terribly broken implementation of virtual desktops. For example if I have several terminal windows scattered across desktops, and I switch with alt - tab to the Terminal application, Spaces will take me to a random desktop that has a Terminal window on it. Unusable and nerve breaking since most of the windows I used are terminals. It also plays terribly with X11.

There's also a problem with reboots - for some reason the system won't shutdown properly. It closes all applications but then hangs, showing just the desktop (something that painfully reminds me of similar problems I once had with Windows 95). Only a long press of the power button will help. The worst thing about that is that it does the same thing when restarting after installing software updates. I'm just waiting for some broken update to do some more serious damage.

Finally there are also some minor things that make the entire system feel unpolished. Like clipping errors on icon titles in Finder and some weird cases where I get random noise instead of transparent background in terminal windows.

Oh, and did you know that Finder now represents all non-Apple computers on the network with icons showing monitors that are displaying Blue Screen of Death? Now that's just childish. No Linux desktop I've ever seen did this and the average Linux user probably hates Windows more than an average Apple user.

Two years ago when I bought this PowerBook I bought it because it was a computer that really just worked. It seamlessly synchronized with my mobile phone and my other hardware, all applications worked out of the box and most free software I used on Linux also ran on OS X. I could really concentrate on my work instead of having to continuously tweak the operating system - something I don't want to do when I'm traveling with my laptop. Looking back this computer gave me the least problems and best experience of all systems I used.

With Leopard, all these benefits are gone... And if I can't have a system that works, then I rather have a PC with Linux where at least I can fix things myself when they aren't working.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Code

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