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Resisting Leopardphobia

The Macalope offers a swift kick to the overly dire warnings about Apple's new operating system.

Brier Dudley of The Seattle Times has taken Apple to task for supposedly rushing a buggy operating system out the door.

The problem with Dudley's thesis is that while there's certainly proof of bugs in Leopard, there's no proof of more bugs than in any other major OS release. See, there just isn't any non-anecdotal way to determine this because the "one need only peruse Apple's support forums" theory of applied statistics is about as useful as the "online polls say" theory but without the benefit of a bar chart. Simply put, forum postings and blog comments suffer from self-selection and are not a valid indicator of whether or not a piece of software sucks.

Perhaps a good-looking and technologically savvy reader can think of a valid statistical indicator as the Macalope is at a loss.

Dudley links to a post by Erica Sadun at the Unofficial Apple Weblog which is, frankly, ridiculously dire:

If you have only one computer and it's your production machine, don't upgrade. The 10.5 upgrade is a big one--not a small update, not a few bug fixes.

That's true and people need to take responsibility for their own decision to upgrade. You don't have to upgrade.

Lots of stuff gets broken...

This is pretty irresponsible. The Macalope--like most people--did the default upgrade and nothing was broken. Now, for some people some things may have gotten broken, and some of it may have been important or the breakage may have been severe. But the vast majority of upgrades went smoothly and "lots of stuff" is just an absurd exaggeration.

Apple didn't get its gold master out to third party developers in time for the upgrade path to proceed smoothly.

The same could be said of Tiger. That is, like it or not, Apple's m.o. But it's certainly not the reason for the biggest compatibility issues. The difference between the last developer seed of Leopard and the gold master in all likelihood means that some applications could experience minor issues at worst. If there is a single application that suffered severe problems because developers didn't get the gold master until Friday night, the Macalope has not heard of it. And his ears are particularly large and, apropos of nothing, rather furry.

None of this is to say that all those who upgraded to Leopard had a swell ol' time and that it was nothing but puppies, kittens, and flowers. But it's not like Tiger's release (or Vista's, or XP's or...) didn't have any problems. Let's try to keep it in perspective.

Of course Dudley's reliance on two "sources"--one a commenter who seems to have had an unusual (if not nearly fantastical) experience and the other a Cassandra-esque blog post--is simply silly pundit jackassery.