A Review of the Snow Leopard Reviews

by Milind Alvares

A Review of the Snow Leopard Reviews

by Milind Alvares on August 28, 2009

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Given that so many people are set on reviewing Snow Leopard, I see no point in having our own “It’s worth it, go get it” stamp. Either that or we’re lazy. Snow Leopard is a really good upgrade, and everyone on an Intel Mac should upgrade. That said, reviews are scattered across the place, and given that we read almost all of them, we have a pretty good idea of the salient parts of each. Here’s a roundup ‘review’ of the reviews of Snow Leopard.

Macworld has the most complete coverage of Snow Leopard. Extensive guides about everything from a straight up review, to tips and tricks. For those apprehensive about the installation process, Macworld has that covered as well.

Engadget goes about the traditional way of reviewing things. Right from installation, to features, to compatibility. It’s a healthy writeup of everything Snowy. They even include some video clips of some of the look-see features.

Interestingly enough, installation is one of the few parts of Snow Leopard that’s dramatically different than previous versions of OS X. Unlike Microsoft’s subtle nudges towards clean reinstallation of Windows 7, Apple’s quite proud of the new 10.6 installer, which upgrades in place, quarantines incompatible apps and plugins in an “Incompatible Software” folder, and boots you right back up with little to no user effort. Seriously, you just stick in the disc, open the installer, enter your password and go — that’s it. You don’t even have to reboot off the DVD. Of course, that made us a little uneasy, since we’ve always chosen Archive and Install to get a fresh OS, but you can’t have cold feet here — that option’s been removed. We’ve been told it’s now the default action behind the scenes, but the bottom line is that you have to trust the installer more than ever before — and while we didn’t have any major problems, it would be nice if we could force a new install of the OS without having to wipe a disk.

Tom Yager at Infoworld also has an extensive review of the white cat:

If the question on your mind is whether to buy Snow Leopard, Apple has made it a no-brainer. The price — $29 for a single machine license, $49 for a pack of five — brings overdue sanity to runaway client OS pricing. Owners of Intel Macs should consider Snow Leopard a must-have because it’s optimized for their hardware to an extreme that Apple could not approach before.

Brian Lam’s review for Gizmodo is not worth the read, however, this bit was super interesting:

And Safari 4’s ability to segment unstable browser plugins made itself useful when many more flash powered pages crashed in Snow Leopard than Leopard.

What’s even more interesting is that that’s the only baddie Lam could find in Snow Leopard!

If you haven’t checked out the compatibility list at snowleopard.wikidot.com, do so before making the jump. Extensive list of a whole bunch of apps. AppleInsider on the other hand has a smaller list of the more important apps that won’t launch or have been moved into the Incompatible apps folder in Snow Leopard. Contrary to the popular ‘Adobe is bad for not supporting CS3 on Snow Leopard’ mantra that everyone’s chanting right now, CS3 apps appear to be working fine under Snow Leopard. They are just not supported.

Specific Features

While John Gruber at Daring Fireball hasn’t done a review of the new cat as yet, he does speak about the system-wide Services, which has got a big upgrade in terms of functionality and usability:

My single favorite improvement in Snow Leopard is the overhaul to system-wide Services. Services were one of the best features of the NeXTStep OS, and while they made the transition to Mac OS X, they never seemed well integrated into the user interface. From 10.0 through 10.5, the Services menu was hidden away in a sub-menu of the application menu, and keyboard shortcuts were not user-configurable (and in fact, it was common for multiple third-party applications to define Services menu items with conflicting shortcuts). The Services system has been completely overhauled for Snow Leopard.

Macworld has a good writeup on the Services feature update.

Glen Feishman at TidBits talks AirPort improvements:

Snow Leopard packs in many little refinements, but those nearest to my heart are three changes to the AirPort menu, one immediately noticeable, one subtle, and one hidden.

Wake on Demand, lets your Mac sleep with one eye open:

This is Apple’s name for a new networking feature that lets a Snow Leopard Mac go to sleep while a networked base station continues to broadcast Bonjour messages about the services the sleeping computer offers. The base station essentially acts as a proxy for the slumbering Mac. Advertised Bonjour services includes file sharing, screen sharing, iTunes library sharing, and printer sharing among others.

When another computer on the network wants to use one of those Bonjour services, the base station sends a special signal over Ethernet or Wi-Fi to wake the computer in question, which then rouses itself and responds.

Rob Griffiths brings out Snow Leopard’s old and new annoyances, for those who like to bicker over small things.

TUAW has a nice thing going on for third party developers announcing compatibility issues:

As our readers and staff are out buying copies of Mac OS X Snow Leopard today, we thought we’d also start rounding up news about software updates related to the OS update.

Now for some praises

Brian Caulfield for Forbes, “Why Snow Leopard is truly disruptive”:

Here’s the breakthrough: Apple’s OS X, Snow Leopard, which goes on sale Friday, uses less code than its predecessor to do the same job. It’s a remarkable act of discipline that has broken a decades-long trend toward ever more bloated operating system software.

Andy Inhatko, Chicago Sun Times, review:

It’s like this. You’ve bought an old house and settling in for months of renovation. You have goals for every month and many of them give you immediate and intense gratification. The cramped Avocado Green kitchen is now open and airy, doused in natural light, and filled with modern appliances. The rickety back porch is now a full deck, with a six-person hot tub. Other renovation landmarks include a new roof, upgraded electrical service, and a new heating system with multiple zones. Boring. But nonetheless essential. These are the things that keep a house functional and livable, and ensure that it’ll still be a fun place to live in twenty years’ time.

That’s my overall take on Snow Leopard, aka Mac OS X 10.6. Impressive and important, it’s an update that will revitalize your existing Mac even though you’ll be stumped for a quick five-minute demo that convinces the people around you that much of anything has changed at all.

Happy Snow Leopard day everyone! Remember to backup your data before upgrading, and if possible, hold off your mission critical Macs from the upgrade. It’s a great upgrade, but there’s absolutely no hurry.

Updated with more articles.

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