Some Key Notes For Apple's Leopard Users

| About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)

By Carl Howe

A few key notes for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) Leopard watchers/users:

Airport, keychain, and Time Machine upgrade challenges for Leopard on old hardware

  1. Airport cards not being recognized. This bug bit me this morning when I arrived at work yesterday, only to discover I couldn't use our Snow Airport router because Leopard wouldn't recognize the Airport card in my 1GHz G4 PowerBook. You can see how prevalent this problem is in the Apple Support Discussions and Accelerate Your Macintosh has a good set of solutions, including the Apple KBase Document recommending that you start up Leopard in Safe Mode. All that said, I still can't get the Leopard Airport Utility to find our Snow Base station, so I'm glad I have my bootable external drive containing my full Tiger system.

  2. Upgrading your keychain isn't so simple. I had expected Leopard to upgrade my default keychain of passwords and secure notes in place. It didn't. Instead, it renamed it and gave me a blank keychain to populate again. I cured this easily by going into KeyChain Access and making my old, renamed keychain the default, but it was a surprise to me, because I thought I had answered all the keychain upgrade questions such that this wouldn't be necessary. The good news, though, is that you still can use your old keychain by making it the default, so no harm, no foul. (See update on this below)

  3. Time Machine demands some serious horsepower. I now have a bit more sympathy for Apple requiring at least a 867MHz G4 for Leopard. I did my first Time Machine backup last night on my dual 800 MHz Quicksilver. To back up 201 GBytes, it took about 18 hours to move, index, and compress my 1.4 million files on my home computer. Now this activity wasn't anywhere close to saturating the disk channel, but it did pin my processor load average at anywhere from 2 to 4 for the entire time. During that time, the machine was useless for watching online videos or the like, simply because it was too busy. All that said, it works fine now that the initial backup is done, but clearly Time Machine does demand a lot of your processor performance.

Despite these glitches, I'm still loving the Leopard experience overall, especially considering most of my hardware is four to five years old. We'll see how that holds up in the days ahead.

Update: Recipe for installing Leopard on unsupported Macs

For those not wishing to go through the tedious clone-and-paste install procedure I did (including having a Leopard install to clone from) to run Leopard on your unsupported Mac, has a nice step-by-step recipe. Thanks to Dan Knight at for the pointer.

TidBITS reports that Apple will allow Leopard Server virtualization

The folks over at TidBITS appear to have a pretty interesting scoop, noting that Apple's latest Mac OS X Server license agreement explicitly allows virtualization of the server on Apple hardware, assuming you purchase a valid license from Apple for each copy. The article also notes that Apple's been working with VMWare and Parallels to make this work in a way that all three companies can support.

This is just another nice differentiation point for Apple, and is certainly a lot less complicated than the licensing complexity you might see in Windows Server. And just as in the laptop and desktop worlds, it brings a special aura to Apple's Server products. How's that? They become the only servers that can legally run Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux on one piece of hardware.

Posted simply (or not so simply yesterday) with the power of Leopard.

Final footnote: it's nice to know that Steve Jobs actually made that call to Diane Green that we suggested back in January 2006. It was nice to get in the meeting before her company became worth $47+ billion.