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« Open Source Radio? | Main | Journalism that Includes the Audience »

April 28, 2005


Alex Krupp

It is already known that there are several problems in Tiger, and Apple and trying to release 10.4.1 by the time Tiger hits stores. If this is the case then I don't really see anything wrong with this approach. I don't really care if the gold master has some non critical bugs as long as there is a fix by the time the software is installed. I just care that it is secure enough that my data won't be stolen between installing Tiger and installing the update.

Dan Gillmor

Alex, let's hope there are no bugs as critical as the ones that caused people such trouble with corrupted Firewire drives -- and lost data -- with the last big update.


Ya, I don't really care either. If a company waits until every possible thing is 100% correct, they'd never ship anything.

Bill Haught

Tempest in a teapot. Would any serious computer user - particularly a professional - upgrade to a new operating system release without backing up their data?

Dan Gillmor

Bill, of course not. But average people do this all the time. I don't think we should necessarily blame them for bugs that might well be caught in a more comprehensive beta program.

Scott Waters

You're doing a diservice to novices who may be scared off of adopting the new OS. Any new release will have problems, usually minor, that can only be dicovered when a larger community adopts the release. Issues like the Firewire bug in Panther couldn't be anticipated, and in fact effected a very small percentage of users. Caution is in order of course, backups are always a good idea. I tell my clients to wait a week before jumping, but you can be sure that Apple has gone over this one carefully, they don't need any more bad press.


I disagree Scott. My copy of Tiger came in two days ago (go Macmall!) and while I've had few problems, the release is has some areas that feel half-baked. Apple's software QA has been slipping for awhile. Their OS is still top notch, but it would not be out of order to suggest that users might want to wait for 10.4.1. Of course, with any major OS upgrade you're also going to have the problems arising from a complex upgrade. I'd suggest archive and install with user directory migration for a first try. If you don't have any problems, great! However, if you have odd lag issues (that don't go away even after Spotlight has finished indexing) you may need to reinstall with a full archive and install (I wish Apple still called that a clean install).


And what is the yardstick by which Apples software releases are judged to be buggy? MS should be so good. How many hundred security and other patches has MS released in the past few years for Windows compared to Apple. And then there are the many bugs in MS Office (particularly Excel) that have existed since the 1998 version. Apple may not be as fast as some of the open source guys at patching problems, but they are much faster on critical issues than MS who typically takes months to address problems, often creating an even bigger problem, or simply re-designates them as features so the can sell the fix in the next version. Explains alot about why Longhorn may never see the light of day. And least you think me a Mac troll, I use XP every day, all day at work. MS has produced only one good product in it's existence Excel and even it is not perfect.


I think it's very odd that the only example you cite of critical bugs in an Apple release may not have been an Apple bug at all. The problem affected only one particular firmware revision of one particular Firewire bridge chip. Both companies released updates to address the problem, but reading between the lines, it looks like Apple released a workaround and Oxford released a bug fix.


"Tempest in a teapot. Would any serious computer user - particularly a professional - upgrade to a new operating system release without backing up their data?"

Well, I did. Granted, I should have been more careful, but I was just upgrading from 10.2.x to 10.3.x. One of the major oversights in the Apple updaters is that the updaters don't take you through all the steps that you find out afterwards that Apple says you should have. I ran Disk Warrior and CC Cloner before I upgraded but I didn't repair permissions first. My whole Powerbook system crashed the the CC Clone was useless for a downgrade. The "Genius" Advice: format the disk and start all over again. I was able to recover my data, but I had to re-set up my system and the apps from scratch--which takes 4-8 hours since so many applications insist on restarting your computer mediately after install (arrgghhh!!! Pet Peeve...).

After that debacle, I'm reluctant to upgrade to 10.4 any time soon.

Joe I.

Problem is Apple's culture of secrecy and the fact that they do not readily disclose bugs or security problems causes the most damage. Yes OS X is the best operating system but at least MS or others are quick to disclose every problem with Windows and not hold back. Apple thumbs their nose at users because they want to keep up a false image. That is the issue. They have the same issues as MS when it comes to bugs and flaws.

How about this analogy. It's like Republicans act like Republicans and everyone sees it for what it is (Microsoft). Democrats want a different image but when it comes down to it they end up acting just like Republicans (Apple).

Matt C

Just got Tiger. Installed it. No problems. Firewire drives work. Final Cut Pro HD works. Spotlight is very cool. Safari much improved. I'm expecting an update tomorrow night that will address some of the bugs some people are seeing.

Scote: Don't upgrade. Archive and install will avoid problems.
Paul: Archive and install gives you a completely 'clean' system. There is no advantage, from a system point of view, to erasing the disk and starting over.
Joe I.: What security problems? Apple has issued security updates monthly, at least, this year.

Jon Clark


What do necessary DiskWarrior and TechTool updates have to do with possible Tiger bugs? It doesn't follow... at all. If some enhancements are made to the file system, which require "low level" disk utilities to change the way they work, that is most certainly not a bug. Whether it's bad behavior totally depends on the APIs the developers are using -- whether they are supported APIs or they're not. Plenty of people use undocumented APIs, and if Apple changes them (which they make clear they reserve the right to), things that use the APIs can and likely will break (see "haxies" for example).

But this has nothing at all to do with OS bugs, it's feature changes. Your cited Oxford 922 data loss "bug," yes -- but then again there are tens of thousands of peripherals out there, Apple can't test with every one of them. One could argue that a Firewire Hard drive should have been tested, but recall this was a very SPECIFIC case... One specific chipset (out of say 10+ possible ones), and only when connected over Firewire 800. Connected via Firewire 400 wasn't a problem.

As for the comment about Apple sharing its buglists -- yeah this would be nice, but most companies are pretty guarded about what bugs they publicly list. Some list a few, but few list all, save open source companies.



I know you are a Mac user, and I first began reading your work, in fact, when you wrote very cogently about the Microsoft monopoly. So I know that you're not any kind of knee-jerk pro-MS, anti-Apple guy.

But there's some kind of burr under your saddle when it comes to Apple. Maybe you know too much about the company, or about Steve Jobs, who is described by his good friends as "difficult" and "demanding", while plenty of others go straight to obscenities.

Whatever this burr is, I think it sometimes leads you to go a bit too far in your criticisms. That's fine.

But I'm really curious: what is it--really--that bugs you about Apple?


I've been using the pre-release version of Tiger for several days. I haven't noticed a single bug. No kernel panics, no broken software. What the hell are you talking about?

We know you have issues with Apple so just switch to Linux or Windows XP already.

What's the frequency, Kenneth?

Why do people on the internet try to make everything into liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans? I'm tired of that crap!


Dan, I called you out a while back about syndicated article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch in which you spewed some other nonsense about Apple. You shot back that you're a "Mac user too" and I guess that was supposed to validate your unwarranted rant?

Apple does some stupid, stupid things; Not advertising the Mac and attacking the rumor sites that promote their products, being two that come to mind. There ARE points where Apple needs a good "ass-kicking" via the media.

For you to attack them on a point such as a flaw in their software.. that they IMMEDIATELY fixed... That's not journalism... that's just plain childish and petty.

In a perfect world, no one would make mistakes. I'm sure that Apple didn't have a meeting to prevent perfect software from being released the first time, just so they could look good by updating it quickly.

I think your articles are grandstanding nonsense and if you'd like to just PMS aloud, please just tell it to your friends who will put up with you. "Bitching" publicly just makes you look petty and degrades your journalistic intent.

Bill Haught

A shrewd observer wrote:

> Steve Jobs, who is described by his good friends as 'difficult' and 'demanding' ...

Sounds as bad as John Bolton. Perhaps Jobs doesn't have the right "temperment" to be Apple CEO.

I vote we deny him confirmation.

Alex Krupp

Bill: Steve Jobs is often called a visionary, but if he is a visionary then what was his vision? Steve Jobs grew Apple into a huge company without having a product, vision, good social skills, good leadership skills, etc. because he had a philosophy.

Dan Gillmor

Jp, I don't know what "unwarranted rant" you were referring to. I've always called things as I see them.

Is it petty to advise people to hold off on installing new operating systems? Not in my book. I've done that with *every* major OS and major update from Apple and Microsoft, and have always advised readers to do the same.

I don't have any sympathy with Microsoft's style, either. But in their case, they are dealing with a vastly greater universe of hardware than Apple has to support. If Apple can't get it right on a FireWire disk drive configuration -- there aren't all that many on the market, after all -- that speaks poorly for the company's quality control.

Even if there are quality problems (and there are continuing ones), the Mac hardware/software combo remains far the preferable environment for my personal tastes and normal computing tasks. The iPod is a dazzling piece of design and marketing (though I don't use mine anymore, preferring to listen to music on my Treo, which lets me carry one less piece of gear when I travel). Apple is truly a superb company today in many respects.

But Apple is also truly an operation reflecting its leadership, for good and bad. The good we know, and see, in the products that are mostly excellent. The bad is reflected in profound corporate arrogance, which does sometimes leak down to the product level but more often shows up in other ways that typical customers don't see -- one reason the company has such a loyal following.


Bill wrote:
"Sounds as bad as John Bolton. Perhaps Jobs doesn't have the right "temperment" to be Apple CEO.

I vote we deny him confirmation."

I'm not sure what your point is. What ever it is, the temperament allowed in a CEO of a private company (private in the non-government sense) is different than that which would be appropriate for a *diplomat* who will represent the US to the world. Jobs will argue over whether you should by Apple products, Bolton will argue whether the UN should go to war. The two situations are not analogs in any but the most trivial sense.

John Bolton has nothing to do with whether you should be an early adopter and jump on the 10.4 bandwagon. For me, I'll have to in order to run the new FCP suite of applications--but it is only going on one computer to start.

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