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OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard: WTF did I just do to myself??

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Sat Aug 29, 2009 12:11 pm

With Snow Leopard, I've actually enjoyed starting up and shutting down the computer, as well as logging in and out. -MacfixitThrough a series of brain farts, 10.6 managed to be downloaded and installed onto my Mac this week. With other fanboys writing articles that include inane quips like the one to on the left, I thought I'd post my impressions.

First off: What the hell is the point of this? There is almost no difference between this and the previous OS. I know, all the fanboys are ranting about how it's got more 64bit code. Most of them don't realize that for most programs, 64bit does nothing to enhance performance. There's no reason for iCal, Addressbook, Mail, etc. to have 64 bit support. By the way, fanboys: the 64 bit kernel is turned off by default (apart from in OS X 10.6 server). I'm trying to see the advantage here.

Sure, it's got the ability to offload tasks to the GPU (a feature called OpenCL). Which tasks are we talking about? They didn't upgrade any of the video, audio, or photo software to use this feature, so where's the fuckin beef, man? Do I really give a shit that my file manager (Finder) can list the contents of a directory 5% faster from an already incomprehensibly quick display time?

Well Hell, why don't we just go through the top features from the Snow Leopard Site. Keep in mind, this was created by Apple to spin Snow Leopard into something people want to buy:

Apple Claim:Translation:
"We ran out of ideas, so we decided to fix our code"

After years of piling on the bloat, Apple decides to actually make the existing programs work the way they're supposed to.
"We realize that the OS X Finder should've been written in cocoa in the first place, but carbon was so retro and cool at the time we just couldn't help ourselves. Better late than never, right? Think different."

64bit: Was already halfway implemented in the previous version. They're just rubbing in the fact that they didn't deliver last time around
Central Dispatch: Makes it easier to write multithreaded code… but wait, haven't they had multi-core processors in almost every product over the last 3 years? Shouldn't they sweep under the rug the fact that they'd been ignoring this feature?
"Snappier": Are you fucking serious? Fuck. You.
"We changed one line of one piece of code and are overly pumped about it."

All they did was make time machine a higher system priority. Since it backs up every few minutes, having your computer not slow to a crawl due to lack of available hard drive throughput was actually a good thing. Apparently Apple forgot why they'd set it up like that, changed it to a system-halting annoyance, and now I can't seem to open any programs while a time machine backup is going on.
"When we cleaned up our shit that shouldn't have been there in the first place, your computer sped up slightly. Who wants to blow me?"

This is probably the biggest "feature" of Snow Leopard: a slight reduction in boot time. This may save the average user a whopping 10 seconds per day! Forgive me if I'm not super impressed.
"We don't install shit you don't need, therefore it installs faster. It's like fuckin magic n'shit."

Roughly half of the previous OS X installation was literally legacy code for PPC computers. Since Apple switched to Intel in 2006 (yes, 3 years ago), they've had no use for this code, but have included it anyway just so they could someday take it out and pat themselves on the back for removing it.
"Uhhh.. running out of features here, better list this one twice"

Like I said, they took out a bunch of legacy code, therefore the footprint is reduced too. Alakazam!
"We could've just released a free patch for this--our free, cross-platform browser--but we decided to force people to pay for an upgrade."
"We don't include 'Eject' buttons on our computers, so fixing this bug required an entire OS upgrade."

Wait, shouldn't this have been free? I mean seriously.

And while we're talking "Features", let me just introduce this little comparison chart of my own:

Vista SP1 Vs. OS X 10.6

Vista SP1:

Snow Leopard:
Bug Fixes?

Normally, when Apple releases a new OS, it's good to wait a couple weeks for all the bugs to float out into the open and maybe even a patch to come out.

I figured that this rule didn't apply to 10.6 because… well it's basically a bunch of bug fixes anyway, why do I need to wait for the first patch full of bug fixes?. . . Famous last words. . .

Here's a list of fun problems I've encountered so far:


The first minute I had it installed and booted, I decided to create a new user account and log out. It froze, with the little progress meter thing hovering over a blank background. This required a hard restart.


Since I did a fresh install, I was wondering about how Time Machine would react. Apparently, not well. At first, it had a permissions problem reading the previous backup. I fixed the permissions, hit "backup now" and IT DELETED THE WHOLE PREVIOUS 700GB BACKUP!!

Okay so that's a pain--maybe I should've seen that coming, right? But wait, there's more. A couple days after it finished backing up again, it came up with this message:

That meant it again refused to read the old backup--which it had created itself--and couldn't create a new one because the old one (still present, of course) was taking up too much space. I tried every fix I could find through google, and again it resulted in it deleting my entire backup AGAIN.

I ended up getting so pissed I just formatted my Time Machine drive. So now, as I write this, it is again backing up. If it fucks itself again, I'm going to resort to some sort of cron job.


A few minutes ago, I hit Command+T to open a new tab in Safari. The program froze for 2 whole minutes (as seen above).


Need I say more?

UPDATE 9/18:

I've had no kernel panics in a while, and for the most part, the problems have been resolved (some due to the 10.6.1 upgrade) including Time Machine's screw-ups... Though every few days, TM says it 'cannot create backup folder' and I have to restart, it's no longer deleting 700GB of its own data. It still freezes on logout roughly one out of every 10 times, but I'm usually restarting anyway when it occurs.

On the other hand, some of my longstanding issues with 10.5 have been resolved with 10.6. Plus, since I've been constantly rebooting these days to get in and out of Bootcamp (Windows XP), the quickened boot time is actually kind of useful... though I can't say, as MacFixit did, that 10.6 has in some way made rebooting 'enjoyable'.

Keywords: Apple  Mac  Macintosh  Snow Leopard  10 6  Time Machine  Safari  Snappier  Spotlight 
Comments: 1  •  Post Comment  •  Share Share Top
Hank Sun Aug 30, 2009 5:22 pm
And it broke event editing in iCal! Yesssss Thanks Apfel!
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Daniel is Medical Resident from the southwest US. Prior to medicine, he worked in IT as a consultant, programmer, web designer/developer, and technician.

Health, music, economics, libertarianism, computers

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