Snow Leopard is Apple’s Vista

X Incompatible logoOne thing you can usually guarantee with Apple’s OS releases is that they will work properly. That wasn’t the case with Snow Leopard – released exactly two months ago today – and the compatibility problems that have dogged it hark back to Microsoft’s disastrous release of Vista. I’m not for one minute arguing that the functionality of Snow Leopard is as bad as Vista and the incompatibility problems are far fewer. But the number of problems being discussed by users on this site alone suggest that for the first time in Apple OS releases, they got it badly wrong.

Apple Mail in particular has caused a huge number of problems as the comments following a post I wrote addressing Snow Leopard incompatibility issues with it prove. Mike’s frustrations are typical of many:

Massive problems here. Mail crashes occasionally, Aperture crashes all the time, especially when trying to export. CS3 has crashed. I mainly see the crashing when going into the dialog boxes (i.e export etc). I am not going to go into work-arounds, that’s not my job, I paid a fortune for all of my apple gear to get away from this type of issue. Apple should have gotten this right before releasing it.

He’s absolutely right to be so angry. The least Apple users deserve is that Apple’s own software works with what was merely a revised version of Leopard. And as he found out, it’s wasn’t only Mail that caused problems. Adobe’s CS3 was a well publicized victim of Snow Leopard. Since we update programs on a regular basis here at Softonic, it’s been unavoidable for us to notice the large number of updates rushed-out by developers in the wake of Snow Leopard’s release and the volume of frustrated users finding that programs suddenly aren’t working anymore.

InformationWeek reported that at least 100 applications were incompatible with Snow Leopard on its release. Users at Wikidot are keeping track of those programs still incompatible including at the time of writing major packages such as Adobe After Effects and Adobe ColdFusion. And to complete the surreal Vista-esque scenario, there were even security issues on Snow Leopard’s release. We had the security hole created by Guest Accounts and a vulnerability in Java both of which put your Mac at risk of hijacking.

Don’t get me wrong. Snow Leopard was far less problematic than Vista on balance. Minor incompatibility problems are to be expected with completely new OS releases but Snow Leopard was hardly a revolution – it was merely a tweak of Leopard so it shouldn’t have been hard for Apple to get it right. That is, unless they rushed it out in advance of Windows 7 which seems like the most likely reason for the problems.

For many Apple users, the release of Snow Leopard will forever be remembered as the mark of the devil – 10.666. Let’s hope they get it right next time.

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