So I did the much dreaded upgrade from Tiger to Leopard. Much dreaded, because a system upgrade always comes at the expense of numerous backups and a general "spring cleaning" type of perusing data and throwing out the cobwebbs and other stuff that's beyond their expiration date.
The overall amount of time for such activities is usually no less than an entire day, given that I tend to make a mirror image of my entire hard drive before going about the maintenance and cleaning process. All of this naturally to the end of running a clean install on a newly formatted drive and gradually retrieving needed data from the backup.
So, what's new and which features have I been anticipating the most? To me, the main area of improvement I'll be looking into over the next weeks is everything around Mail and iCal, particularly their interaction in terms of project management and personal schedule and staying organized. In that domain, previous versions of Mail and iCal simply sucked beyond bearable and I was forced to resort to Microsoft's Entourage, which I find a lot more cooperative in terms of project management workflow. But given latest improvements in Mail and iCal, the two applications act more like team players and give you an overall feel of being integrated a lot tighter. Particularly adding new todo items from incoming mail as well as data dectectors smoothen the edges around interplay of said apps. Too bad, iCal failed on updating my previous iCal database on first launch, so I was forced to import previously created calendars manually, thus losing their names as well as groups. If you don't know your way around Mac OS X's system structure, you're at loss at this point and will most definitely never get to see important data, e.g. that important business meeting you scheduled for next week, with details on directions, rooms, time, attendees... Not good, but as I know where to look, I was able to retrieve and restore that information. It would haven been easier, if I had backed up my iCal-db using its built-in backup procedure.
On a brighter note: Startup time is simply phenomenal! Shortly after hearing the system startup sound, you are being presented with the new, uncluttered, sleek and even more elegant user interface. Aside from further sweetened eye candy, Leopard feels a lot more responsive than Tiger, especially in managing multiple open windows and applications. Typically, I run five to six apps simultaneusly and Tiger's UI server process had been feeling pretty clumsy towards the end of Tiger's life cycle (10.4.11 was the last upgrade I installed). As I tend to spend most of the day in front of the "box" and with applications tending to eat more memory the longer you work and then eventually beginning to swap out memory contents to hard drive and reading it back in, overall performance didn't do that expression justice any more. So, I am very happy to see overall system performance vastly improved.
Quicklook is quite nice, too, but frankly, I've been doing much of the "first look" idea behind it by simply selecting a given file and bringing up its Information window - for the most part, I get the idea of a file's content by looking at the preview. So this is yet another feature the pragmatic use of which I find debatable in terms of developer expense and time. Similar with Spaces: Yes, agreed, from time to time there's clutter of open windows from working in no less than five apps at the same time - all the time. But the ONE feature, which helps me keep open windows in check is Option-Command-Select, effectively always hiding the previously frontmost app when switching to a new one. What do I need an army of developers for to be working on a feature which has been there all along?
In general I have to admit that in terms of usability and support of a productive workflow, I'm beginning not to see huge advances any more - except for performance, admitted. I'd rather see more diversity in designing my own workflow that helps me be as productive and efficient as possible. And in that regard, I lately find an approach of "this way or no way, stupid!" to take over.
Compared to other system upgrade prices, I'd say 129,- bucks or Euros is o.k. However, I'm missing the killer feature... (Time Machine? Give me a break!)
P.S.: I seem to have overlooked the Bounce-feature in Mail - cool! This way, you "bounce" i.e. return unwanted messages (Junk mail, spam) to their respective senders, thus giving them the impression as if they had hit an incorrect mail address - very cool, actually! Yeah, fight fire with fire! :D