Update: More Leopard Problems Plague Apple

Apple Leopard: From Questionable Customer Service To Questionable OS?

Yes, Macs are showing the blue screen of death.

This is something I never thought I’d hear myself say - or maybe I should say, see myself type - about an Apple operating system: Mac OSX Leopard was released before it was ready. This operating system needed more testing on more systems with more hardware, and especially, more software configurations. The days of Apple computers operating with just the Mac OS and Adobe Photoshop installed, and practically nothing else to speak of, are long gone, and Apple knows this as well as anyone. This operating system was not properly beta tested, and Apple’s customers are paying for it, with lost productivity and inoperative computers.

Perhaps the most troublesome of the problems has been a data loss issue caused by Finder, which performs a function on Macs similar to that of Explorer in Windows. In Leopard, when Finder moves a file from one drive to another, it deletes the file from the originating hard drive, without first checking to see if the file arrived safely on the destination hard drive. If anything goes wrong during the file transfer, such as a momentary power glitch on the destination hard drive, the file would then be destroyed on both hard drives.

Leopard users hoped that a free maintenance update (OSX 10.5.1), released on Thursday, November 15, would fix the issue, but Apple’s statement accompanying the update is too vague to give a definitive answer. With regard to data loss, it states that "... a potential data loss issue when moving files across partitions ..." has been fixed, but moving files across hard drives is not addressed. Personally, I wouldn’t want to bet my important data on that statement.

In an unrelated issue, data recovery firm Retrodata has found a disturbing hard drive failure rate in some Apple Macbooks. Quoting from the Retrodata Web site: "We at Retrodata believe that any sizeable manufacturer would by this stage be aware of such a problem and issue a product recall notice, or an offer to have the drive exchanged for a suitable alternative at their own expense." If you own an Apple Macbook with a Seagate hard drive, I strongly suggest you check out the details available at Retrodata.

As disturbing as data loss is, this next problem is the Apple version of a bombshell. Thanks to Leopard, the dreaded Blue Screen of Death is now a part of the Mac operating system. When I first tell this to Mac users that haven’t yet upgraded to Leopard, I usually hear something like "Yeah, I get Blue Screens of Death when I use Windows on my Mac". No, that’s not quite what I mean - Blue Screens of Death are occurring not only in Windows, but in Leopard as well.

The problem, to a certain extent, has been acknowledged by Apple. Although, in a move which I find somewhat amusing, Apple refuses to refer to the problem as a "Blue Screen of Death". Apparently they find the term, historically associated with Windows, somewhat distasteful. Instead, Apple simply uses the term "Blue Screen". The problem is recognized by Apple on top searches also shows the # 1 search to be " ’Blue screen’ appears after install". A Mac user in this thread actually had the audacity to use the term "Blue Screen of Death" in a post, which ultimately led to him or her being referred to as a "crackpot" by the Apple faithful.

Leopard has been plagued by a series of other problems as well. There are graphics artifacts followed by freezes, which may be caused by the new operating system’s increased use of the Mac graphics card. A poster at AppleInsider.com reports returning four new iMacs because of this problem. A search for Freeze or Lock or Hangs in Apple’s Leopard discussion groups returns the maximum allowable 500 hits.

There are also two bugs in the usually trouble-free Mac firewall. The first caused the firewall to be installed turned off by default, which some Mac users didn’t find out about until they ran into problems. The second refused to allow some third party applications to access the Internet, including, of all things, World of Warcraft. Yeah, that’ll be good for building support among gamers! The OSX 10.5.1 update claims to have firewall fixes, but again, it’s not specific as to whether these particular issues have been addressed.

There are a variety of other reports, including a Mac Pro becoming Is it me, or is Leopard just a mess?. Apple locked the topic, preventing replies. Another user echoed my sentiments at the start of this article by asking apple.com/mac/, an Apple ad on the left side of the page says "Leopard just works".

I have no doubt that it will someday. But today, it does not.

I had planned on ending this article there, but I have one quick note for anyone who has had online conversations with Apple over issues such as those discussed above, only to find that Apple had disabled caching, so that you can’t find a copy of the conversation in your browser cache, and also disabled printing and saving, so that you can’t print or save the chat. I found an easy work around:

Double click on the lock icon at the bottom of the browser window. This opens a properties dialog with 5 tabs. Click the first tab. At the top of the first tab page is a URL. Select this URL and paste it in your browser. The URL contains a copy of your chat on Apple’s server. Apple probably keeps it there for internal review use, so it certainly won’t be there for long. It’s probably a good idea to both print and save a copy of your chat immediately.

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  • Anonymous
    I'm with over 20 Macs (mixed PPCs and Intel machines) in the same network that were upgraded and fortunately I'm yet to see or hear any complaints about Leopard, however I do remember to read a note from Adobe advising users about potential problems with some of their software.
    Is this problems really affecting all Leopards or is this article overrating this issues?
  • Anonymous
    This article WAY overstates the problems. There may be dramatic problems for individuals. But for myself and the vast majority of those in my circle, the upgrade has been smooth and the new features are fabulous!
  • Anonymous
    no problems here, fool.
  • Anonymous
    the thread labeled "Is it me or is leopard just a mess?" has been taken down. great job apple.
  • Anonymous
    "The days of Apple computers operating with just the Mac OS and Adobe Photoshop installed"

    I like this... Maybe they should forget about computers and operating systems on focus more on the toy section: iPhone,iPod, iWhatever... it looks like they are good at this.
  • Anonymous
    Apple Mac users are really dumb. They should use Windows as it runs all software. What dummies!
  • Anonymous
    This article overstates the issue. I know quite a few people with a variety of hardware that have had no issues at all. I love the comments from ignorant users like Gdansk who typically make them having not ever seen or used Leopard at all.
  • Anonymous
    What about Apple's already existing "Grey Screen of Death?"
    In my opinion, Apple has never had a realistic operating system for business. I agree with the "Mac with photoshop" statement, and that that's anything the real world.

    In my creative enviroment of 120 users, we utilize home folder synchronization, and netboot (with two different images due to the two platforms). I've been a Mac Admin for 10 years, and while I'm happy that Apple finally came around to true multi-user operating systems with possible enterprise capability, they have MUCH to learn as far as stability and realistic management.
    I'm saying this after visits from many, many Apple Engineer visits to our environment, which most cannot afford. We continue to have synchronization issues, grey screens (kernel panics) that return no errors in the crash log.

    And the hardware, a few DOAs in every shipment. And the fix? "Take it to the Apple Store!"

    Ok, rant over.
  • Anonymous
    Ha! Ha!...
    And right after they put out the 'I'm a Mac and I'm a PC' commercial where they touted their new OS while talking about how many problems people were having w/ Vista. Macs and PCs are the same thing... Computer with Operating Systems and Software on them. They're all gonna have problems, I just can't stnd Mac snobs who constantly tout their overpriced boxes as "superior". I've worked on Macs for about 4 years now, and used them in school another 3 years before that, while using PCs at home. To put it simply. Macs suck in some respects, but Apple has no intrest in fixing that, since that would mean admitting that the OS isn't perfect. Same things happened when Tiger came out.

    BTW, anyone notice that Apple has removed the forum posts the article links to? Apparently, they won't admit bad press... Just like Microsoft.
  • Anonymous
    If this is what you call a complete mess in the apple world, I'm now even more glad I switched.
  • Anonymous
    I want to kick that mac guy in the nuts.
  • Anonymous
    I <3 Apple computers, i bought Leopard less than one minute after it was released, and i LOVE it, i, nor anybody else i have ever heard of have had any of these problems, this article is bs.
  • Anonymous
    Tom's Hardware is notoriously un-biased, so I seriously doubt that this article is BS. Begrudgingly and due to a non-scaling G5 processor, the Mac has been forced out of a closed, proprietary system to a more open one. With this comes the issues that supposedly plague Vista (none of which I have experienced) and every MS OS in the past: badly written drivers and coorespondingly incompatible hardware and software. It is really easy to make everything work great when Mac had oversight on everything except the most trivial programs/hardware in it's fruity little ecosystem. Looks like Macs are going to have to grow up if they want to open up.
  • Anonymous
    looking the pixelations through the article, it almost looks like the unit had been dropped at some point and destroyed the monitor..

    i'm surprised the unit itself booted into the mac OS at all..
  • Anonymous
    Actually I dont think the issues are overstated. I have issues on my MBP. Nasty problems like Wireless not working correctly. Tiger was MUCH better IMO. My machine gets friggin hot when doing things like browsing the net and such. Fanboi need to stfu and take a cold hard look at reality. Apple is becoming more and more like Dell and MS. Customer service issues (Dell) And pretty flashy software with poor functionality (MS). This latest generation of products has demonstrated this more and more. They still have a chance to turn this around. Hopefully it is not just about the profits but about the Customer. If they can turn it around....kudos. If not then It will open the door for the smaller shops to start working on building Linux machines with similar and potentially more stablilty at this point(Linux has issues of it's own that can be resolved with some vendor support)

    Vista...well its Hasta La Vista. Leopard, It Just Sucks. I have been seriously considering installing Ubuntu on my MBP despite the work it would take to set it up.
  • Anonymous
    Hurry up, noble MacFags! Page 4 is almost free of white knighting for your ridiculous dead-end computer of choice!
  • Anonymous
    The blue screen thing was caused by people that used a very specific piece of software (that works in a way that has always been discouraged by Apple) in tiger and then upgraded to Leopard. This is always a risky move. If you're using software that modifies the system at a kernel level and then upgrade to a new kernel it is likely to cause issues.

    I'm not saying that Leopard is perfect, but the issues raised here are things that most people are never going to run into. The data loss issue requires that you hold down modifier keys when moving a file between volumes. The normal user doesn't even know that these modifier keys exist and is never going to be effected! The default drag/drop from volume to volume does a copy, not a move and there is no chance of data loss.

    I work in a tech support center and the one issue that I have seen over and over again that actually effects end-users is the JPEG bug that causes the finder to crash when attempting to preview JPEGs with certain types of exif metadata associated with them. This is the type of issue that Apple should be spending their time on first.
  • Anonymous
    My family has 5 Macs. My parents (my father is 75) had Apple install Leopard on his Intel iMac. His Brother printer stopped working. Apple couldn't fix it on the phone. He brought the iMac and the printer into the Apple Store. After working on it for a long time, they told him that they could not get it to work and that he needed to buy a new printer. They advertise that "Leopard Just Works." If they don't refund his money, I am going to contact the State Attorney General and Department of Consumer Affairs. Apple appears to have a very serious false advertising problem at the moment.
  • Anonymous
    Leopard is the next best thing since... Tiger, and I'm loving it! Rock solid here.

    The only issues I'm having are the same issues from Adobe's crap-ware since CS2. Not an X issue.

    Tony is still obviously pissed he didn't research a tiny bit beyond his PC, wait a week, and get his free upgrade to Leopard. It's kind of funny actually, and even more-so seeing that the "ultimate" version of Leopard is only $129. ROLF.
  • Anonymous
    The only problems I have encountered with Leopard are O.E., due to unfamiliarity of its new features. I have a PowerBook G4 and have upgraded from OS 10.0 all the way up to Leopard, with no issues. Maybe some of these Vista users a getting a bit perturbed watching us Mac people upgrade our OS without skipping a beat or missing a day of work. It really was flawless and painless to do, I PROMISE.