Leopard Preview

At the risk of participating in the echo chamber, Apple unveiled a preview of OS X Leopard at WWDC today. Not attending this year, but looks like a fairly substantial release. Following on BeOS / X-Windows heels, Spaces finally gives the Mac a version of Workspaces. No mention yet on how many you can have, and little info on how they’re navigated, but it’s certainly an improvement over nothing at all (though I confess I stopped missing them sooner than I thought I would when switching from BeOS to OS X).

Very cool stuff on extending iChat for collaboration with desktop applications (though I can imagine some scary security issues here when a remote user convinces you that they’re your sysadmin “just need access for a few minutes” — wondering what the security model for this will be.

Time Machine uses built-in version control to let you rewind to previous versions of the file system, undelete long-gone images, etc. Nifty but not earth shaking. A feature probably growing out of awareness that most users are utilizing maybe 10 or 20% of today’s gi-normous hard drives. [Addendum: Turns out you need to have a 2nd hard drive installed to use Time Machine, a fact which will relegate the feature to use only by the hard-core, and perhaps some institutional implementations. Would like to see Apple offer a non-destructive partitioning scheme, so users could not only take advantage of Time Machine but also do all kinds of other things, like set up Boot Camp or other VM without starting from scratch.]

Since I like to imagine that someone is actually listening on the other end of the OS X Feedback form, I’m stoked to see the addition of a stationery feature to Mail.app — I wrote Apple about a year ago saying that stationery was the one killer feature in Eudora that no other mail client had seemed to grok (though I don’t care about fancy mail formatting, I always found the ability to craft boilerplate responses I could call up instantly an invaluable feature in Eudora). The macslash.org take on stationery is that they’re going to make it even easier to send “craptastic HTML email.” Which is probably true, as unfortunate side effects go.

Music: Tom Verlaine :: Wheel Broke

11 Replies to “Leopard Preview”

  1. I feel sorry for Apple. I really do. If you look around at the usual suspect sites (pun intended), you get all these rants about how disappointing WWDC was because only a fraction of the rumors actually came true in the Steve-note -or, how Apple copies everyone and nothing they showed is new. Oooooh, is that all there is in Leopard?!? I thought the stuff they showed was pretty cool. As usual, it is not so much Apple “inventing” it, so much as it is how they implement it in the simplest and best way. VMS had version tracking. Long ago. What you had was a directory filled with 50 versions of your file. Go guess which one was the one you wanted and it stayed that way for 20 years. Then go look at how Apple implemented the technology:
    http://www.apple.com/macosx/leopard/
    Yes virtual desktops were in BeOS and even good ol’ FVWM (and TVTWM before that I think…God am I old). But could you split your whole screen into the virtual spaces for easier drag and drop? Could you rearrange desktops as easy as Apple makes it look like you can do with Spaces? Also, this is only a preview. There will be more stuff and for cripes sake, how much new stuff do you even want? Sometimes they release so much stuff I am overwhelmed. I still have not really gotten around to investigating Automater from the last release and whatever happened to their Watson replacement? As far as hardware goes, I think them mentioning xserves and powermacs is plenty. Keep in mind that Apple now competes in the PC world more directly, being tied to intel. Are they going to have a special event every time their machines get a new processor bump because intel released new versions? I don’t think so. It *was* a special event if motorola or IBM upgraded one of their processors as seldom as that happened. Merom upgrades will appear in a month or two so people should not be pissed they didn’t appear immediately the moment after they were announced in Apple hardware. Here is the difference between Apple and Microsoft when it comes to copying: When M$ does it, they make a blatant ripoff that may not even be as functional as the original – oh and, they may run the originating company out of business. Apple usually takes a good idea and makes it much better. Good stuff from Apple I thought. I will buying an intel mini once merom appears in it and I will save myself a cool $300 thanks to the price drops in cinema displays that quietly appeared today as well when I do!

  2. I’m disappointed to hear that you need a second hard drive installed to use Time Machine. If that’s the case it makes it pretty unhelpful for my Macbook Pro. Will I need to commit a beige box to act as a file repository for the Mac, or will I need to get a Firewire hard drive just to use this software? Seems kind of a strange implementation…

  3. Scot,

    I only watched half of the webcast (was just too unreliable last night when I tried), but I have watched all the mini videos on the leopard preview site.

    Where does it say that Time Machine requires a second drive? You’re right that it would relegate it to only a fanatic’s corner then. I don’t have spare drives to throw around (especially on my G5 iMac), but I’d love the feature (it’d give me what I have under the corporate xp/2003 network I manage at work – although it looks far more attractive and easier to get).

    It seemed from the keynote that Steve wasn’t impressed by the responses of the audience though. He’d say a figure, then wait, to no avail and no response, and then say it again, and again it would fetch no reply, so he’d move on with something like “we’re excited”. Tough crowd I think.

  4. Hey Kristan – I picked up the tidbit about the second hard drive from a c|net preview.

    Yeah, I’m getting this “tough crowd” sense from all over the place. Like Apple is supposed to change the world every time Steve Jobs farts.

  5. That’s odd that you need a second hard drive for that. Windows 2003 has Volume Shadow Copy which does functionally the same thing (restores previous versions of documents) but not with the ‘coolness’ of the scroll wheel.

    I hear Novell finally got rid of their ‘salvage’ feature for something more along the lines of Shadow copy, that thing was one of the best Novell features ever.

  6. wow Shacker I remember you from the BeOS days. it’s been a long time.

    Now it looks as if the mac has pulled off almost everything that I wanted BeOS to be and more. And it’s on intel which means windows apps as well. That will finally make mac a real alternative for me when I decide to get a new computer. I’m tired of Windows and being locked in.

  7. The article stating that a 2nd hard drive is needed to use Time Machine is a year old. I think it is likely that the situation has changed.

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