Thawing out the Snow Leopard

2009 Sept 21 at 12:18 » Tagged as :macbook, emacs,

The other day, I upgraded from to OS X Snow Leopard and I wasn't entirely pleased with Apple. However having used it for a while I have become less resentful. One of the reasons is that Snow Leopard is fast much much faster than Tiger. This is probably due to the new version being a real 64 bit operating system. The second reason is that I now have a fresh install (I couldn't upgrade because the installer didn't like my partition table) so there isn't any blubber lying around. Last but not least I now have a hard drive that is three times as big as the drive that originally shipped on this mac. Larger hard drives generally tend to be faster than smaller ones.

Once I rsynced the bakups into the home folders, most of the newly re-installed applications continued from where they left off as if nothing had happened (well, they are running a little bit faster). Right so the Snow Leopard is speedy but what else? hmmm, well there's 'stacks' but even though this is trumpeted as a great feature this doesn't look at all like a novelty for a linux user. It is widely believed Windows is heavily influenced by OS X but what many people don't know is that OS X is heavily influenced by X Window. There is something similar to the stacks feature in linux desktops that places all open windows of a given application together in the task bar as a stack. As for spaces, it's been available on X Window systems for at least 15 years!

Other new features includes Safari 4 (if you could call it a new feature, much of what is new in Snow Leopard is actually refinements of what shipped with Leopard.) but who uses Safari? And then there is support for Microsoft Exchange so what? who cares about exchange? A worse piece of software has never been written.

Other than the speed the only thing I have found useful is a new feature they are not even shouting about: More reliable disk eject! In tiger, when I pressed the eject button to remove a CD or DVD from the drive, the eject mechanism would continue to try to eject the disk long after it has been ejected. That's right, every few seconds you will hear the familiar sound the drive makes when it ejects a disk but there is no disk in the drive!

I was in fact contemplating getting a replacement drive. There are no OEM drives in Colombo that would fit, so I would have had to ask a friend or relative abroad to buy it or get it from the local agents and pay through the nose (and wait three weeks for delivery). Upgrading to Snow Leopard seems to have sorted out this disk eject problem so the money hasn't been wasted after all.