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Gary Thornock's Weblog » Leopard's a no-go for now
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29th Oct, 2007

Leopard's a no-go for now


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I had a chance to try out Leopard over the weekend, and there's quite a bit to like. In the end, though, I restored my backup (which was a lot more difficult than it usually is, but that's another story), and I'll be sticking with Tiger for at least the next few weeks.

I should probably start off by mentioning the good parts. I didn't get to use the system for long, but already I like the ability to use tabs in Terminal, and I can see that Spaces and Time Machine are going to be great. The new dock looks nice, and I'm sure I'm going to like stacks.

I had a few annoyances, too, though, and one complete show-stopper (which I'll save for last).

MySQL

I'm not sure exactly why, but I had to recompile the MySQL server. Not a problem, I do that often enough with new upgrades that I've got my configure arguments saved in a script so it's fairly automatic, but unexpected. The real annoyance here was that MySQL Pref Pane stopped working, and claimed that it wasn't compatible with a PowerPC-based Mac. Odd, I had just been running it on a PPC Mac in Tiger and it worked fine.

That's not a show stopper, since I can still run MySQL from StartupItems and it works fine, but it's a bother not to have it work in System Preferences.

Lighttpd

A long time ago, I switched from the built-in Apache 1.3 in Tiger to my own build of Apache 2.0, and more recently from Apache 2 to lighttpd. I never have had any success with the lighttpd launchd script that shows up all over, but that doesn't matter: anyone who's switched out Apache will have learned that you can replace Apple's default /usr/sbin/apachectl with a symbolic link to your own apachectl script, and your new Apache will magically Just Work with the Personal Web Sharing control in System Preferences. Turns out, that works just fine if your "apachectl" script happens to run lighttpd instead of Apache, too.

Not so in Leopard, unfortunately. I was able to get lighttpd to run from StartupItems, and with a few more days to play with it, I'd probably have had it working in System Preferences too, but not yet. (On the good side, though, Apple has finally switched to Apache 2, so if I were to give up on playing with lighttpd, it would be fairly simple to drop in my Apache 2 httpd.conf and run with the software that comes built in in Leopard.)

PHP

I had to recompile my FastCGI build of PHP. Again, I'm not sure why it stopped working, since it wasn't installed in the same place as Apple's default PHP. Not a serious problem, but a bother.

Terminal

I mentioned before that I really like tabs in Terminal. They don't even begin to make up for Terminal's new window sizing behavior, though.

In Tiger, I can set the size and position of my Terminal window, and once I do, it stays how I set it. That seems fairly obvious. Leopard, unfortunately, missed that obvious behavior. Every time I open a new terminal window or switch between two terminal windows, Leopard's Terminal decides that It Knows Better and moves and resizes my window. That's completely unacceptable, and I was almost ready to go back to Tiger just for that.

Apple has generally done a good job of picking sane defaults for window sizes and locations, but when I put a window somewhere and size it how I want it, I had a reason for doing it, and the system had better respect that. If I weren't already bald, this one would have had me pulling all my hair out within the first five minutes. When (if?) I do switch to Leopard again, I'll be looking for a different Terminal program. Suggestions, anyone?

And finally,

The show-stopper

I really should have checked before trying Leopard, but it never occurred to me. Verizon won't be releasing updated software for my EVDO card until sometime in November, and the old software doesn't work in Leopard. That means, of course, that Leopard is dead in the water until November as far as I'm concerned. Game over.

I'll probably upgrade after the new EVDO software comes out. I'll probably decide I really like Leopard (I already do, in fact, despite the foregoing). I'm thinking I'll do a clean system build rather than try to upgrade, because I've been wanting to re-do the way I've got PHP and a few other utilities installed anyway, and this will be a good chance to start from scratch. But I'm not touching this again without two full backups, and probably not without already finding a good replacement for Terminal.

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Responses


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[…] Gary Thornock's Weblog placed an interesting blog post on Leopard's a no-go for nowHere's a brief overview […]


Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/thornock/public_html/wordpress/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 74

I am curious. I plugged in my Option GT MAX 3.6 HSPDA data card for the at&t network yesterday and I didn't need the GlobeTrotter software that I used for it under Tiger. I plugged it in, Mac OS X recognized the card and created an icon in the menu bar for it, and I was able to go online and do stuff.

Did they not provide the same support for an EVDO data card?

-Mike


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PS - Someone else showed me that trick, I just looked at the client software not working under Leopard and thought that was that, without plugging the card in to see what would happen.

-Mike


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I've upgraded to Leopard and my Verizon EVDO card is working fine. I'm using the VZAccess Manager 3.3.1 (build 1533c). In fact I'm connected over that card right now writing this comment.

Wonder what's different about yours.

Firmware version on the card is:
Firmware Version: M6500C-BBIRD_VZW_EXP-Q40306.157 [Mar 10 2006 11:14:08]

Glad to provide more info if it will help.


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I checked the VZAccess Manager site this morning. Some cards are already usable under Leopard, but mine (a KPC-650) isn't yet. There will be a VZAccess Manager release in November to support that.


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As far as Terminal goes, in the preferences where you can choose from the pre-sets, just click 'Update Default' at the bottom of the list (after modifying it to suit your desires) and it will keep your prefs.


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Why do you need the Verizon software? I plugged in my V740 card and it worked instantly in Leopard. It even had my login information correctly put into the network preferences without having to do anything. I don't see how this could be a show stopper.


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Not sure if iTerm works in Leopard, but I've been using it exclusively for some time without issue. When I first tried it, it was a bit flaky but the recent releases are much improved. If you haven't tried it lately, give it a shot.


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I was able to get the Sharing PrefPane to control my "custom" Apache installation (in a different location than Apple's).

First I copied their Apache launchd item (LaunchDaemon) to create my own
sudo cp /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd.plist /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd.plist

I then used Lingon to edit my Apache LaunchDaemon to change the command to point to MY apache's httpd.

Next I "backed up" Apple's LaunchDaemon
sudo mv /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd.plist /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd.plist.original
Now I hard linked my LaunchDaemon to where Apple's was
sudo ln /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd.plist /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd.plist

This way, I should be protected should a future SoftwareUpdate overwrite their LaunchDaemon - I should just need to re-create the link to mine.

Oh, I also copied parts of their apachectl (the one in /usr/sbin NOT the one in /usr/local/apache2/bin/apachectl to make apachectl use my LaunchDaemon.

If anyone needs more explicit instructions let me know.


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@Brian: I wasn't that lucky. I plugged in my card, but it wouldn't connect.

@Mike: I haven't tried it in Leopard yet, but iTerm looks pretty nice in Tiger. Thanks for the tip!

@crazyj: Thanks for the info! Hopefully I'll be able to use that to get lighttpd working in Leopard.


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You can get this to work by using the internet dialer in the OS rather than the VZ Access Manager… I messed with it and got it working and lo behold I actually have seen higher transfer rates by tweaking some settings as well.

Key is install the latest VZ Access Manager, enable modem status in the menu bar and use the connect method from the status icon ignoring VZAM all together.

Works for me!


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An easier solution than crazyj's to link a custom apache2 install to Leopard's Sharing PrePane is to symlink apachectl and httpd in your custom apache2 install to /usr/sbin like so:

cd /usr/sbin
mv apachectl apachectl-orig
mv httpd httpd-orig
ln -s /usr/local/apache2/bin/apachectl apachectl
ln - /usr/local/apache2/bin/httpd httpd

* Change /usr/local/apache2 to wherever you installed your custom apache.

Note that you'll probably need to restart your system for the changes to take effect

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