Thoughts: Leopard and OpenSocial – Updated

Final thoughts on Leopard:

I’ve not seen universal happiness with the Leopard UI. Barely visible icons and menu bars, and excessive CPU required for unnecessary reflection/3D geegaws figures at the top of the list. Compatibility with applications, including ones like Apple’s own Aperture is spotty. The Ars Technica review was, hands down, the best. Though the language is *little used, support for Java is missing (Java 1.6) or broken (Java 1.5). Problems with installation, but liking some of the new features, such as web widget thing. The new Safari has irritated me, and I haven’t even moved to Leopard.

Since two of my three computers are outside of the minimum required for Leopard, and the other is currently configured just right, I don’t see an upgrade in my future for months, perhaps longer. I may way until I can afford an Intel-based Mac, and get the OS already installed. After all my applications have been ported to Leopard.

On the new OpenSocial initiative:

I find it humorous that a lot of people are jumping up and down on this, without really knowing what OpenSocial is or does. Marc Andreessen, whose company, Ning, is participating in this initiative, probably has the best hyperbole cutting take.

OpenSocial is a defined set of APIs, agreed upon by a consortium of companies with Google being the major instigator.

Google is not serving as a gatekeeper for this capability, other than its role in defining the API, providing preliminary libraries, and a sandbox.

The OpenSocial does not enable ‘the social graph’. This API is meant to be hosted in different social network applications, using a combination of HTML and JavaScript. This is not a web services API, which is what you would need with the so-called ‘open social graph’.

This is a way for 3rd party application developers to create an application and only have to worry about integrating it with a couple of different platform APIs, such as Facebook’s and OpenSocial. One social platform can develop widgets to another social platform, but that’s nothing more than a direct link between two applications–it’s not ‘open’, there is no universal pool of data goodness from which to suck, like bees and nectar.

This. Is. Not. An. Operating. System.

This is a way of combining several smaller (or less US-centric) social platforms in such a way that developers will find it worthwhile to port their Facebook apps over to the new platform, and Google can then sell ads.

It’s a dumb-as-rocks API: not a whiff of the semantic.

The upside to OpenSocial is that 3rd party application developers don’t have to develop for a bunch of individual platforms. Of course, most are developing now for Facebook, and the other platforms want you to play in their playgrounds.

The downside? Who controls the API? It’s not ‘open’. Currently, it’s vendor controlled and closed. Will this change? Hard to say. The other downside is that this will start another round of dueling specifications. Flickr is not part of the original list of companies supporting OpenSocial, and being part of Yahoo, this isn’t surprising. Will Yahoo then group with Microsoft and Facebook to create a competing “open API”? Or perhaps, create a third? Are we looking at the beginning of Social Font?

Hyperbole cutting facts: OpenSocial is not being released yet, does not enable the ‘social graph’, isn’t necessarily ‘open’, and only adds to that part of the web that is utilized for social networking. It doesn’t provide a thing for the overall web. Anyone using ‘Balkanization’, ‘Facebook’, and ‘walled garden’ in the same sentence should be beaten with Peeps. Especially when one considers that the instigator behind Open Social is Google.

Most significantly: Thursday is just an announcement of the OpenSocial effort. The API isn’t scheduled to go live until November. Only Orkut supports the functionality at this time. Other partners are ‘in development’. Stop peeing your pants.

Happy Halloween, 2.0 style. Nick Carr waxes glowingly on OpenSocial and even mentions “Enterprise 2.0″. Quick: someone look in his garage. Are there any odd, body size seed pods lying about?

*Joking! Don’t hit me.

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10 Responses to Thoughts: Leopard and OpenSocial – Updated

  1. Bud Gibson says:

    I’ve been reading all the leopard hullabaloo, and my reaction is simply to wait. It sounds tempting, but I don’t have time to deal with a new OS right now. Better to let bugs work out and see the workarounds.

    The java one does not seem as bad as people are making it out. See the bottom of the comments in Tim Bray’s article.

  2. Shelley says:

    I think this OS is really more for the Intel-based folks than us old Powerbook users. I’m in no hurry, either.

  3. DaveD says:

    I’ve installed it on my two Intel Macs last weekend and have been living with it untouched since.

    I have the terminal hack to turn off the glassy dock, and expect I’ll be doing it very soon. Wanted to see if I can live with it. I found some freeware that will make the menubar opaque, and expect I’ll test it on my development machine tomorrow to see how well it works.

    I like the new featurs in Mail, never really used iCal (but may finally with it’s new features), and am, um, not at all fond of the new folder icon look.

    I’m disappointed with Stacks – really thought I’d use it but already know I’m not. While others may appreciate TimeMachine – like my mom – I already have my backup routine in place to my 2 TB NAS connected to my Airport Extreme.

    Speaking of my NAS – interesting thing… Finder sees it without needing anything from me, but Time Machine can’t. There’s a hack I heard about, but since I don’t plan on using TimeMachine, nope.

    My installs went perfect. At one point it estimated some 2:30 to do it, but both MacBooks took around 55 minutes each. So far it seems all reported install issues are with the default install on Macs with APE – really, I mean REALLY, wrong that Logictech installed it without user’s knowing this.

    So why did I go to Leopard? Simple. Xcode 3.0. New Interface Builder. Objective-C 2.0. Been playing with the beata for a year and it rocks. Sure, most of Shelley’s readers aen’t into proprietary, OS X only development… let’s just say I’m not arguing that I’m right, so please don’t try to argue that I’m wrong, okay? :-)

    I plan to try installing Leopard on my iBook G4 and my PowerMac G5 this weekend. Shelley, if I ever try Leopard on my PowerBook G4 (barely meets the requirements) I’ll let you know how it goes.

  4. Shelley says:

    “I plan to try installing Leopard on my iBook G4 and my PowerMac G5 this weekend. Shelley, if I ever try Leopard on my PowerBook G4 (barely meets the requirements) I’ll let you know how it goes.”

    Dave, I’d appreciate it. I have the last model Powerbook, which should be sufficient. But it’s also my main development machine and I can’t afford down time.

    Since most of my development is open source, Leopard just doesn’t have enough for me to want to shell out the bucks, or go through the hassle. At least, right now. Later maybe.

    I’m still on XP in my main Windows machine, with no interest in upgrading to Vista on that, either.

  5. Jerry says:

    Installed it this weekend on: intel iMac & MBP and a G4 mini. Only install problem was a keychain on one system acting flaky, which was fixed using keychain’s repair command.

    Dock on the side, so I don’t worry about the reflections and it seems a little cleaner and crisper in use…but it’s just a dock and I don’t think about it much.

    Love stacks! I’m running parallels with a couple Windows development environments and, as much as I hate dealing with the way they do “windows” at least I can put it all in a separate window space and switch away from it. Seems minor, but it really cleaned up my work flow.

    Spotlight is much improved. Menu transparency doesn’t bother me as I have a dark desktop (earthdesk). Love the new finder changes: networking stuff is so much better and the coverflow/quickview is awesome when browsing some of the more disorganized folders.

    Overall it’s snappier, even parallels seems stabler/quicker than with Tiger. I’d been thinking of holding off on upgrading the MBP until my next machine purchase but am really glad that I installed Leopard.

  6. DaveD says:

    Promised an update… not yet complete. Not even close.

    (1) Since my oldest Mac was a PowerBook G4 (1.0 GHz) I thought I’d back it up and do an Erase and Install. Ouch. After about 1.5 hours it hung on the reboot. Not on the blue screen, on the grey Apple screen with the turning gear. I had the time, so I let it go. For an hour.

    (2) Thinking I was smart, I tried to restore from my bootable Lacie that I backed up to. No dice. Forget about the grey Apple screen… it was simply a grey screen with the international “no” sign of a circle with a slash through it. Never saw that before.

    (3) Worse yet was my decision to use the internal smart drive. Seems that nothing would eject the disk. Not even going into Open Terminal mode and ejecting directly from the firmware. Oh, it would try. But after clattering around for a bit it would simply remount itself.

    (4) I finally remembered that I have that external Lacie dual layer DVD R/W that I could plug in. I ended up “upgrading” my PowerBook to 10.4.6 and the using Software Upgrade to get me to current vanilla Tiger. Hey, what with the differences in XCode (particularly Interface Builder) in Leopard I now have myself a perfect secondary development box.

    (5) I just now – literally – completed upgrading my 1.2 GHz iBook G4. Took just under 1.5 hours. I did an Erase and Install “upgrade” to 10.4.6 first, then the automated install to Leopard. That 1.5 hours was the Leopard portion. Oh, and when it’s doing the final step before the reboot? Don’t believe it when it says that the time remaining is “under a minute”. It took about 15 minutes. Worse, occasionally the had drive would spin up, and more rarely the DVD would too.

    (6) Now, last will be my PowerMac G5. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    So – how did I get my DVD out? Using a knife to slightly pry the top of the slot wider while hitting eject. I felt kinda safe doing it – as a last resort – as I already had my two main Macs (MacBooks) upgraded since last Friday. SInce I’m an ADC Select member I also have another Leopard DVD coming next week.

    Shelley, would I recommend upgrading your PPC Macs? That’s a very tough call. While my PB did have Cee Pee You (which uses APE) on it, I did an Erase and Install, and it did not even get to the blue screen. But while my iBook upgrade took a bit longer than either of my MacBooks, that install went smoothly.

  7. DaveD says:

    Done. PowerMac went clean, and fast. I forgot that that sucker is STILL the fastest Mac I have. And that includes my 2.16 GHz, 3.0 G RAM with the 7200 RPM hard drive. All told, 1 hour. It lost the bluetooth mouse once and I needed to pair it back up, but I’m used to that.

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  9. Shelley says:

    Dave, thanks for the update.

    I’ve more or less decided to hold on Leopard for at least six months, maybe longer. I just don’t have the need for the new goodies, and what I have now is working great.

    Someday I’ll have to update my computer, go the Intel route. Maybe then.

    If I do upgrade, I plan on a clean start — erase and install. Seems to cause the least problems.

  10. Bud Gibson says:

    We did 2 installs so far in our house. The older powerpc install was extremely clean. The new imac install (system 2 months old) forced me to do the clean install after failing on the initial attempt.

    It has chastened me.

    No production machine installs until I have time for a clean install plus restore. The developer tools on the imac are nice though.