Is there joy in hating Apple's Leopard?

Why are we so down on Leopard?

I don't get it. Maybe because my experience with Apple's new "Leopard" release of OS X has been flawless ( unlike Dave's ). No bugs, no crashes, no problems (well, perhaps a little lack of flair and novelty , but I can manage that).

Yet in today's Guardian, Charles Arthur writes (in an article entitled "Leopard is nothing for Apple to purr about"):

...I'm considering [downgrading to Tiger]....[P]lenty of other people, having upgraded to Apple's latest version of OS X, codenamed Leopard, are doing the same.

The trouble out there was summed up best by a note from the ur-blogger Dave Winer: he moved back to the Mac a year or two ago and lapped up Leopard. But he says he's not enjoying it. He mentioned this to a friend, who replied dismally: "It's like Windows". As in crashes, stalls, freezes. That must have hurt in Cupertino.

Not even remotely. Yet still I wonder why people are having such widely disparate experiences with the same software. Are our particular software configurations so different? After all, it's not like our hardware configurations can be all that different.

Arthur suggests that Apple slipped up in trying to release both the iPhone and Leopard at the same time, with too little beta testing from the faithful. Perhaps.

I suspect, however, that we're actually dealing with a perception problem here. Because the new OS doesn't present too many new, sparkly features, users are less patient with any perceived shortcomings. In other words, if Leopard were super-cool yet buggy we'd have less reason to complain. But since its updated features are somewhat pedestrian, we whine.

Regardless, it's interesting to note that I've yet to read the unthinkable: people aren't opting to "downgrade to Windows." So Apple must still be doing something right.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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