Today, at 10:30 am EDT, the Purolator guy dropped off the tiny package. Leopard is packaged in what have recently become Apple’s standard software package. A box barely larger than the DVD is housing the new system, along with a small booklet.
At 10:40 I had started the install on my non-essential iBook (G4, 1.42 Ghz 512 MB of RAM). With its paltry 512 MB memory, the iBook meets the minimum system requirement for Leopard.
It took 20 minutes to verify that the installation DVD is good (a good thing to do on the first use of the DVD). Total installation time on the iBook one hour and 28 minutes. The last minute (that’s when the installer progress bar reports ‘about 1 minute remaining) lasted about 18 actual minutes.
Once the installer was done, the iBook booted to the log in screen in three minutes.
From the log in screen to the Setup Assistant, 2 min, 40 sec.
After the smooth sailing through the installation and the reboot and the setup assistant, things became frustrating.
When the setup assistant declared that everything was done, including registration, the main menu bar showed up, the Dock showed up but the Finder was completely non-responding. I clicked Safari’s icon in the Dock and it launched, connected to the net and worked perfectly. First impression of Safari (3.04) is that it’s blazing fast, even on a busy, minimal machine.
The Finder still not responding.
I launched Terminal and started ‘top’. It reported no processor activity on the Finder, but the ‘mds’ and ‘mdworker’ were going crazy (mds is the main process for Spotlight and it launches an ‘mdworker’ process each time it needs to index something). Spotlight was re-indexing the drive.
By mistake, I clicked on the new ‘Downloads’ folder in the new Dock and the Dock became unresponsive. Not good so far.
I force quit the Finder and things improved a bit. Quicksilver launched after the Finder reloaded. The Dock is still stuck. I force quit that too. However, the Finder is still non-responsive.
It seems the Finder won’t respond until Spotlight is finished indexing the main drive (60 GB). That’s a crappy design if it is intentional.
After an hour or so, I lost patience and force rebooted the computer (the shutdown and restart menu items produced no results).
I rebooted the laptop using the installation DVD and checked the drive. All clear.
Rebooted again and this time the menu bar didn’t show up and the dock is non responsive. I can’t launch anything else. I can hear the hard disk whirring away. Spotlight indexing is proceeding.
I clicked on the Spotlight icon in the non-existant menu bar and it showed a panel telling me about Spotlight and showing a progress bar reporting 2 hours left of indexing.
So, so far, not very encouraging. The laptop doesn’t have any documents on it. So if indexing is taking this long on the system files and the applications (mostly standard), then I would be very, very hesitant to install it on my iMac, which has millions of files on it.
So, to sum it up: Leopard first impression on iBook 1.42 Ghz G4 with 512 MB of RAM: CRAP!
I’ll wait for Spotlight to finish and then try to get a second impression.