Thanks to pre-ordering Leopard (it was
delivered on Friday), I now have Leopard installed. The installation
went very smoothly, thanks in no small part to reading Joe
Kissell's Take Control book, Take Control of
I attempted it. Joe is a friend, but I'd be recommending his book even
if he wasn't. It's very detailed, thoroughly researched, and a great
confidence-booster if you're unsure about which of the installation
options are best for you. I had a mess of poorly installed Unix
/opt which I was beginning to find
difficult to keep straight, so I decided to go for a clean slate with
the Erase and Install option. I'd made a bootable backup with
SuperDuper!, so I was able to use Leopard's file transfer facility to
move all my applications and user files back from the bootable backup.
I'm happy to say that it worked beautifully. All I had to reinstall was
the TeX distribution and MySQL (more on that later), and I had a clean
and fast system.
A lot has been written about the headline features of Leopard, so I won't repeat what you can read elsewhere, but Leopard is generally wonderful. I've been waiting for Spaces for ages, and love it, and Quick Look is addictive once you start using it. For example, I discovered today that it's perfect for quickly scanning the README files included with installation packages. Time Machine is also beautifully implemented, and makes keeping incremental archives effortless. The whole operating system seems much more consistent and integrated, both functionally and visually. There are more links between applications, like the todos which you can create or view in Mail or iCal, and the data detectors which link together information in Mail messages with Address Book information or events in iCal. Even better, as Matt Gemmell observed, Mac OS X is now an even more superb development platform.
As I mentioned earlier, I used to have a mess of stuff installed in
/usr/local, mostly because the versions of Ruby, SQLite3 and so on
that came installed with Tiger were rather old. But Leopard comes with
fairly up to date versions of Ruby and SQLite3, and even has ruby-gems
and lots of useful gems (including Rails, naturally) pre-installed (the
full details are available
That's why I was able to get away with just reinstalling MySQL and TeX
-- everything else I needed was already installed. The RubyCocoa
frameworks are also installed by default, and integrated with XCode.
These allow you to create full-blown native Mac OS X applications
(taking advantage of all the native APIs) written mostly in Ruby rather
than Cocoa/Objective-C. I'd been curious about it for a while, so I
decided to give it a try. I used an example from the Ruby
Cookbook to build a
stopwatch application in XCode and Interface Builder, and was amazed by
how easy it was. That's pretty exciting, at least to me: if someone
with no knowledge of Cocoa, a basic knowledge of Ruby and a few pointers
from the documentation can build a proper Mac OS X application in a
couple of hours, using only tools built into the operating system,
that's quite impressive.