Will Snow Leopard be Apple's Windows Vista?

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    Snow Leopard might be cute, but steady-as-she-goes is always good advice with new technology.
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Shortly after Apple's new Snow Leopard operating system came out this weekend, fellow Horizons blogger Andrew Heining told anxious buyers to take it easy.

"So, should you upgrade?" he asked rhetorically. "That, of course, is up to you, but a smart move (as always) might be to wait until Apple and application makers have time to sort out their compatibility issues, and upgrade then. So, Eoin, if you’re reading this, wait."

Andrew didn't know the half of it.

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Between the list of more than 100 Mac programs that no longer work because of the update and the rampant reports of bricked machines seemingly tied to Snow Leopard, Apple has had a rough week.

Occasional graphics issues or incompatibilities are common with new OS releases – and Apple will likely correct many of the problems in due time – but the flood of articles, blogs, and forum posts this week has some drawing comparisons between Snow Leopard and a certain infamous Windows OS.

"This is the Vista of Apple's history," said CNET's Brian Cooley on yesterday's Buzz Out Loud. "Not that much. I know – I'm misconstruing the gravity of it, but this is kinda the closest thing to Apple's Vista."

Among the many complications that struck this week:

•  "Numerous Mac users are complaining that upgrading their systems to Apple's new Snow Leopard operating system causes a boot failure that results in an endless display of a rotating icon known colloquially as 'the spinning wheel of death,' " reports Information Week yesterday.
•  "Mac users are not informed that Snow Leopard has downgraded their version of Flash without permission, and that they are now exposed to a raft of potential attacks and exploits which have been targeted on Adobe's software in recent months," says security company Sophos.

This week, Apple also needed to update the default version of Java that came with Leopard:

•  "Red-faced Apple has admitted that its Leopard operating system has an ancient version of Java that's an open door to hackers," writes TheInquirer.net. "The Java flaw is important and the patch can be downloaded from Apple. Basically it allows a hacker to take control of the user's machine if they visit a dodgy webpage. Normally Apple waits six months before releasing Java security patches, so it must have thought this one was bad."

As that last snippet shows, Apple is aware of the many complaints. If you've already upgraded to Snow Leopard, make sure to check for system updates regularly. If you're still on an earlier version of OS X, consider following Andrew's prescient advice and wait until everything is ironed out.

Computer bugs come hand in hand with new technology. That's why there's virtue in showing patience in an era of "buy, buy, buy!"

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