All sorts of folks have weighed in on Mac OS X. Now Mr. MacFixIt himself, Ted Landau,
has posted his thoughts. And while he likes the operating system, he doesn’t think that now is the time for most mainstream Mac users to make the move.
“Granted, Mac OS X has much to recommend it,” Landau said. “Its multitasking, multiprocessing, multiuser capabilities are everything that Mac OS 9 is not. Aqua looks beautiful. And the stability of the OS is impressive — especially for a “1.0” release. Clearly, Mac OS X has potential. And one day it may actually live up to it. But that day is not yet here. My recommendation is based on how Mac OS X is today, not on how it may be a year from now.”
Besides the often cited inability to burn CDs or play DVDs, there are other limitations to Mac OS X, including the following:
iDisk may not work properly when transferring files.
On several Mac models, especially PowerBooks and iBooks, brightness and/or volume keys do not function correctly.
Macs with older ATI accelerators may need to drop down from Millions to Thousands of colors to play QuickTime movies and games at acceptable framerates.
You cannot connect to AOL via a dialup connection.
Internal modems don’t make any sounds.
You can’t access the AirPort Base Station via OS X. You must boot from OS 9.
Some third party Ethernet cards won’t work.
iSub does not work.
Sleep is disabled on some Mac models when a PCI card is installed.
Third-party USB mice will likely have problems.
There is no direct way to add or edit alert sounds.
AppleShare cannot work via AppleTalk, just TCP/IP.
Most productivity software doesn’t yet run natively in X.
There are reports of overall slower performance of OS X vs. OS 9, especially in the Finder.
“Finally, if you are like me, there are convenience features in Mac OS 9 that you give up by going to Mac OS X’s Aqua interface,” Landau wrote. “For example, I prefer windowshade to minimizing windows in the Dock, especially if I just want the window to be gone for a moment. I prefer the ability to quickly see a text list of all open applications, something the Dock does not provide. I prefer to be able to compare two Get Info windows side-by-side; easy to do in OS 9 but not OS X.”
There are advantages to OS X, but not sufficient to overcome the downsides, he adds.
“The fact that OS X is more stable is the one most frequently cited, and I agree. But OS 9 has also been quite stable for me,” Landau reported. “And OS X is turning out not to be as crash-free as had been promised. Kernel panics and spinning beachball freezes (that require restarts to fix) are common topics on MacFixIt’s Forums. More generally, as I go through my daily tasks, checking email, editing MacFixIt, and the like, I am hard pressed to find one instance where using OS X makes my day significantly easier than doing the same task in OS 9.”
All these problems are likely to be solved in future updates to the OS and other third party applications.
“Mac OS X 10.0 is an initial release,” Landau said. “In many ways, it is more of a Public Beta 2 than a true release version. That’s undoubtedly why Apple will not even be shipping Mac OS X with new Macs until this summer. By that time, one or more updates to the OS will have been released. Most major applications will have been updated to work with OS X. And we can expect to have a slew of shareware utilities that will hopefully address the concerns covered here. At that point, a move to Mac OS X may indeed make sense. Right now, at least for the majority of Mac users, Mac OS X is just more trouble than it’s worth.”
And there’s much more. Read the entire article for details.