Friday, October 26, 2007

Leopard: The cat in the Mac

CAVEAT: This is NOT a review of Leopard. This post is intended to provide my results of testing Leopard by installing it over Tiger and testing that all of the applications listed in my previous post function properly. A large part of this testing focus is on Apple's Final Cut Studio application suite.

If you want to read reviews of Leopard, Apple Insider has one HERE, Computerworld has an in-depth one HERE and MacWorld has one HERE. You can google for more if you like. EnGadget even installed Leopard on an 8 year old Mac G4 tower and you can read about it HERE.

As a final note, iLife was updated today and I applied that update to the Mac so as to bring it current. Now, with all of that being said, let's get to it!

Nancy and I went to the Apple store at the Simi Vally Town Center mall tonight and arrived at about 5:50 PM. There was a line of about 60 folks waiting and dodging the kids choo-choo train that winds it's way around this outdoor mall. The Apple store was closed. At about 5:59PM they opened up and the line moved very quickly into the store.

I was surprised at the number of folks that had come to the store just to get a T-shirt. About 30 percent of the folks at the store actually were buying Leopard.

To start the tests off, I am going to do some intial timings of the spare Mac that I am installing Leopard onto. This way I can see if Leopard impacts the performance of the machine at all. I suspect that once I get Leopard installed on the main Mac here, we should see some performance change since Leopard is now a full 64 bit OS. I was digging around the house here for a stop watch and Nancy pointed out that the iPhone has one built in.

The test Mac is configured as follows:

  • Macintosh Powerbook G4
  • 1.67 Ghz PPC CPU
  • 1GB of RAM.
  • 80GB internal HD
  • 1TB external RAID array attached via FW800
This configuration will preclude any testing of Color as the Mac does not have a video card with sufficient chutzpah to allow color to run. So if all goes well here, that testing will take place on the Mac Pro.

Adobe has announced the following current versions of their applications that are NOT compatable with Leopard:

Products that will require updates for full Leopard compatibility include Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional and the company’s professional video applications, including Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, After Effects CS3 Professional, Encore CS3 and Soundbooth CS3.

Reported at MacWorld HERE.

Timings Pre-Leopard Install (all applications are current version and patch level):

BOOT -- 48 seconds
FCP 6 -- 47 seconds
Soundtrack Pro 2 -- 18 seconds
Motion -- 41 seconds
Dreamweaver CS3 -- 22 seconds
Photoshop CS3 -- 26 seconds
Pages -- 9 seconds
Keynote -- 20 seconds
Numbers -- 9 seconds

Installing Leopard now - Looks to be about 1 hour for the install.

While it installs, I am surfing the net on the WinTel machine here next to the Mac I see Engadget has a nice article on application issues with Leopard. Check it out HERE.

More updates LIVE from B-scene films as soon as the install ends and I can continue testing.

Stay tuned!

OK, it took about an hour and 15 minutes to install. It wanted to setup Time Machine which I declined. I did some quick tests with FCP, created a new project, brought in about 2 hours of SD clips and edited up a few sequences and that worked fine. Brought in an existing Hot Rod TV project and re-arraanged a few things and that all looks good. Same with Soundtrack Pro and Motion.

Twilight Zone time...

OK, I tried to open a 5.0 project file in FCP 6.0.1 that is located on the external 1TB drive and FCP said that it did not understand the file format. I copied that project file over to the other Mac that is running Tiger and it opened it up and offered to convert it as expected.

I then copied a 5.0 project from the Mac running Tiger over to the Leopard Mac and tried to open it up and it opened up just fine after the conversion dialog box was cleared (as expected).

So - A 5.0 file on the Leopard machine will not open in FCP but it WILL open on the Tiger Mac. 5.0 from the Tiger opens on the Leopard machine. Very very weird. OK, will test more in the morning.

The machine is indexing Searchlight right now and estimates 2 hours to completion so I am going to let it run and continue testing in the morning. If there is anything specific anyone wants me to try, don't be shy, leave a comment and I will test it out for you.

Saturday Update:

There appears to be zero performance impact. All of the times listed above are the same now with Leopard installed. When I install Leopard on the MacPro I suspect there should be some performance changes based on the 64 bit nature of Leopard (Tiger was only partially 64 bit).

This morning I did a number of captures. DVCPROHD from a deck, HDV from the Sony Z1 and some SD 24pa from a DVX100b and everything captured with no issues.

I conclude that FCP 6.01 under Leopard is stable with the single caveat that there *may* be an issue loading projects from previous versions. This issue seems intermittant and I am going to investigate it further.

Soundtrack Pro 2.0 is working fine. I opened STP 1.0 projects with it, recorded audio, re-mixed a music track, saves loads etc. All seems to be working properly. Motion is also working just fine. Loading old projects, creating new, importing media, motion tracking. All working just fine.

I cannot test Apple Color on this machine as it has insufficient video hardware resources so you will have to wait until we get Leopard up on the MacPro for those tests.

Now on to the Adobe Suite and the iWork suite. More test results to come. Stay tuned!

OK, we're back. I tested Dreamweaver CS3 and saw no issues. This included creating a new website with embedded flash elements and editing an existing Dreamweaver project. So I do not see any issues here.

I tested Photoshop CS3 and it also seems to be working just fine. I edited a variety of image formats including Nikon RAW, TIFF, JPG and GIF. I setup batch conversions using actions and everything worked flawlessly.

I also tested Pages, Keynote and Numbers. All 3 of these applications appear to be working just fine. I also decided to test Colorista under FCP and corrected a number of SD, HDV and full HD footage sequences and Colorista appears to be working just fine.

The quirks:

Aside from the very strange legacy file open issue that is noted above in the Twilight Zone section, the only other issues I have seen are these:

Time Machine: I tried to run the Time Machine client before Time Machine had done any backups. This made the menu bar on the Mac disappear. I still had a dock and could launch apps but the menu bar was gone. A reboot produced a hung machine. A second reboot brought the machine back to life. Once I had allowed Time Machine to create a backup, the client software ran just fine. But still, this is crappy error handling and should have been caught in QA at Apple.

Safari: Safari is the only browser that I use on the Mac. I use Firefox on the Wintel machines but I have never bothered with it on the Mac since Safari seemed to meet my needs. Overall, Safari ran fine with a couple of weird exceptions. I went to eBay. I searched on Macintosh Plus. It returned a list of ads and I browsed one of the ads - Or attempted to.

Safari complained that it could not decode the page. So I went back 1 page and got the same error. Back at the main eBay page my search text was still intact so I told it to do the search again and it gave me the error again. So I quit Safari and repeated the whole process and I never saw the error message again.


With the Twilight zone situation that I detailed above, I am hesetant to provide a blanket reccomendation if you are depending on FCS for your livlihood. FCS appears to run just fine other than what I detailed.

Also, bear in mind that I am not testing with a wide variety of hardware in these intial tests. Your Black Magic or AJA products that you depend on have NOT been tested here.

All of that being said, I feel compelled to reccomend that you hold off on installing Leopard until Apple has made some corrections to it.

On the positive side of things, they have fixed all of the weird networking issues that I used to run into with Tiger and that is a HUGE plus for me. Additionally, the bluetooth appears to be more robust as well (my kbd and mouse would generally have about a 50% chance of not being recognized when I booted the Powerbook - That seems to be fixed).

The finder actually seems a bit zippier than Tigers which surprises me. Time Machine is a VERY slick app. When you DO upgrade to Leopard, I highly reccomend you get an external FW drive and let this great app do it's thing.

After all of these results, I will be discussing with Nancy wheather or not we will upgrade the MacPro to Leopard. If we do decide to do that, I will blog the results of that experience here.

I hope this experience was helpful to some of you out there that depend on FCS and the Mac for your day-to-day business.


Shane Ross said...

Nice...thanks for this.

I am running Leopard on the same setup, Powerbook G4 1.67 Ghz machine. But I am running FCP 5.1.4, I don't have FCP 6 on this machine. And I installed like you did, I just UPGRADED. I did clone my drive beforehand, just in case.

So far, ZERO issues. FCP works fine, Motion works fine, Word, Firefox, Safari...LOVE the new iChat options (desktop control of another person's computer is AWESOME)...Everything works.

Well, almost. Google Earth doesn't. It causes my machine to hang on the TIP window. Forcing it to quit gets me machine control again. A buddy of mine couldn't even get it to open.

Other than that, no issues thus far. I wish I got a T-Shirt. I didn't get Leopard until Saturday, and I went to Fry's. On sale there.

B-Scene Films said...

I had a promo spot that is due this Friday so I had some time to work through it. I finished it yesterday on the Leopard system. I'll blog about it today. Overall, I am very pleased. Just wish I knew what that weird file issue was. Must investigate some more...

Anonymous said...

I too just upgraded to leopard. I am missing all my fxplugins (vignette) from my FCP6. The fx I applied prior to leopard still show up in my video but I am unable to render them if needed. Are you experiencing this at all?

B-Scene Films said...

All of my plugins are there and work just fine - Seems like there are still some quirks going on with FCP 6 in Leopard.

I will be upgrading the MacPro this week and blogging that. We'll see if I get any more quirks. Did you do a clean install? I am guessing that you didn't...

Philip said...

I didn't I did an archive and install. I will be looking forward to your next post. Thanks!