What A Shock: Windows IT Pro Is Unimpressed With Leopard.


Paul Thurrott weighed in with his thoughts about Leopard on his clearly unbiased (cough) Windows IT Pro site. As usual, Microso–, er, Paul, figures there’s no sense beating around the bush so it starts with blatant lying right off the bat:

“Plagued by delays…”

Beautiful. Only three words into the article and it’s already a steaming pile of characters. Leopard had one delay, Paul. One. From Spring of this year to October. He continues:

“Leopard is the fifth minor revision to the company’s OS X system, and it is shipping almost exactly a year after Windows Vista, an OS that Apple incessantly ridiculed for its tardiness.”

Notice how he used the word “minor”? Cute. Truth is, when he only gets his OS releases every five years I suppose anything else looks “minor”. He may even believe it, but it’s still a bit pathetic.

Paul, Vista did not “ship” a year ago. The “business” release last November to meet their 47th announced ship date to Enterprise clients hardly counts. Honestly, can’t you ever go back to Microsoft and have them review the manure they ask you to shovel? Anyway, Vista was released to the public three months later. (FYI, there’s still no ship date for a working version, but since beta testing began less than two months ago it won’t be for quite a while.)

“Yep, reality really is distorted in Cupertino. And if you’re looking for even more proof, consider the way that Apple hawks this system. “Leopard is packed with more than 300 new features and introduces a brand new desktop,””

You can see all the features on this web page at Apple’s site.

“Many of these 300 new features are, of course, comical. 10 of them exist in Xcode, a developer tool (in total, over 40 of the new features are only for developers).”

When Microsoft gives love to developers Paul drools and claims it’s one way Microsoft is superior to Apple in treating their partners. But when Apple provides tools for developers it’s “comical”. Gotcha. What would it take to convince Paul this is not comical? Maybe if Steve Jobs screamed “developers, developers, developers, developers” over and over while running around on stage? I understand that as a Microsoft fan words speak louder to him than actions, or results.

“Fully 24 of them exist in iChat, Apple’s instant messaging application. “

And they’re a mix of home and work features. I know Paul didn’t read them all, so let me highlight a few: screen sharing allows remote individuals to work on a single document together; the new AAC-LD codec improves sound quality while lowering delay; iChat theatre is for providing presentations to remote parties; and others. Paul can dismiss them all with the wave of Microsoft’s hand — just like dismissing iChat as simply an “instant messaging” application — but that’s a mistake.

“…and 12 new UNIX features.”

This bugs Microsoft, doesn’t it? Leopard is UNIX-certified. Detractors can’t even toss out lines about OS X not being a “real” UNIX anymore. A quick dismissal won’t work here; installations requiring UNIX certification now have Mac OS X as an option.

Paul continues to whine about various “features”, but one person’s junk is another person’s feature. For example, the 40 development features might mean little to a non-developer, but I appreciate their existence even if Paul doesn’t. Likewise, Cover Flow in the Finder causes some to yawn, but I like the idea of it in conjunction with Quick Look. You have to realize that many (most?) of the features won’t trip your personal trigger, but they’ll trip someone else’s. Several interest me that others might not even consider, and I’m not the only one who feels this way.

I think it’s notable that Apple didn’t hide behind the marketing line of 300+ new features, and instead listed every one of them! I give them credit for this. Where is Microsoft’s page with every feature in Vista? In their case they’d rather you not know, even the features they touted aren’t working well.

Besides, what else would you call them? 300 Improvements? No, Paul would still bitch. 300 Differences? No, there are more differences between Tiger and Leopard than just these. 300 Attributes? 300 Elements? Nah, these are just different words for “feature”. 300 Items That Paul Will Hump Microsoft’s Leg Over? Well, sure, that’s the most accurate description, but its kind of lengthy. No, “features” it is.

“Leopard does include a few minor but notable improvements. A new feature called Time Machine, a prettier version of the Previous Versions feature Microsoft first shipped in 2003, allows users to resuscitate previous versions of files. “

I see Paul’s used “minor” again. Time Machine is not like Previous Versions and he knows it. Previous Versions is activated via right-click on the file. But what if the file’s gone (a primary reason for having backed it up in the first place)? Well, without the file to right-click it’s a little more complicated. No big deal, Microsoft just ran it through their SOP: Ship it, brag about it, have their shills rave about it, and then forget it.

Time Machine makes proper backups (i.e., regularly, to a second disk) easier for everyone. More importantly, when you need to restore it’s like an extension of the application you’re in. You can remain where you noticed the missing data, and go back in time to when it was there! It’s a brilliant implementation of the restore process. It blows away Previous Versions and any other consumer backup application (I’m not talking enterprise backups). Tell me, Paul, do you proofread what Microsoft writes for you, or just post it verbatim?

“Apple is pushing other minor improvements like a slightly-updated shell and desktop, minor revisions to the system’s email and Web browsing applications…”

There’s that word again. Twice in one sentence, no less. Geez, Paul, did Microsoft give you a keyboard with a “minor” key? XP was desperate for “major” work; did you believe Tiger was as well? And tell me, who gets to define these improvements as “minor” anyway? You? No, you’re a shill, so let me explain it to you:

  • When you’ve enhanced your product numerous times in five years, the assumption (rightfully so) is that you don’t have to re-write the front-end from the ground up.
  • When you have a secure, rock-solid OS that’s already kicking the crap out of Windows in review after review, the assumption (rightfully so) is that there’s no need to design new windows and 3-D “flips” to try to impress people with what’s on the surface.
  • When your competitor has cried uncle and packaged separate mail, calendar, and address book apps in their latest OS, the assumption (rightfully so) is that you need only work to continue refinement of yours.
  • When you’ve been implementing an interface with windows having a useful sidebar and common views that have earned your applications plaudits and improve on anything your competition has, the assumption (rightfully so) is that it would also be useful in other applications.

Does that help? I could list more. The bottom line is that you don’t have to look as if you’ve overhauled the entire OS when you didn’t let it wither on the vine for nearly six years in the first place.

“In short, Leopard appears to seriously under-deliver compared to both the competition to what [sic] CEO Steve Jobs promised would be major secret new features. None of these have ever materialized.”

The competition? Are you serious? Paul, read something (anything) beyond Microsoft’s press releases and your own web sites. You must be the only person in the tech world who doesn’t know that Tiger already beat up Vista and took its lunch money. Leopard could take Vista out with one processor tied behind its back.

Heck, ZFS and UNIX certification alone should cause Microsoft concern. They’re losing their grip on the home market, and Apple is moving in directions to cut into their server business.

“In related news, Apple also announced the Leopard version of Mac OS X Server. This one boasts only 250 new features, so it’s presumably 17 percent less interesting than the client OS.”

ICal server, Paul. Just a little something to loosen Microsoft’s grip with their proprietary scheduling. A true UNIX server offering true standards for mail and calendar at a cost of $999 for unlimited users! Did you just feel Exchange’s walls rattling? At the very least, the price of that cash cow will come down to compete. It will take a while, as IT managers believe that Microsoft’s outrageous licensing fees are “normal”, but the word will get out. Expect Exchange to be a lot cheaper a year from now.

Since Microsoft can’t make money on anything else, Apple’s vastly superior OS and competitive Server and Office offerings will lower Microsoft’s cash cow profits. Who knows, Paul, at this rate Microsoft may not even be able to afford you next year. Perhaps you could get a job with Verizon, I hear they need help bashing the iPhone.

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