Some of you may remember me complaining about pricing on Snow Leopard, but I broke down and upgraded anyway.
The install went smoothly. I downloaded Firefox (using Safari), copied over my profile from my back-up disk, and everything was beautiful. I downloaded Thunderbird, copied over my profile from my back-up disk and it seemed to work well.
There was just one hinky thing, and that was certain e-mails (most notably alerts from Facebook that someone posted a comment on your status) wouldn't wrap long lines. They just stretched sideways and required you to scroll. I looked for a wrap setting in the message display options and it wasn't there. Used to be there. Isn't there now. Not sure if it's Mozilla's fault or Apple's fault, but most of my e-mails display fine. The only ones showing this odd behavior are from Facebook. And oddly if I view the message source, it wraps nicely in the source view.
After that, I got tired of not being able to scroll through web pages and e-mails, so I went to Logitech's site to download the Mac drivers for my Trackman Marble Mouse to enable the scrolling functions. I downloaded the latest Mac drivers, updated in August... and they refused to install, saying my version of OS X was unrecognized.
After doing some research on Google, I found a thread in their support forums saying that you could get around it by right-clicking the install package, showing the package contents, and then clicking on the actual driver installer in the resource folder. This was "unsupported," so if I messed everything up, it was on me. I decided to try it rather than wait another couple of weeks until the next release of their drivers with Snow Leopard fixes. It worked.
Well, then it was on to setting up my web site development environment with Apache, MySQL, and PHP. I was overjoyed to read that Snow Leopard shipped with recent versions of Apache and PHP. To get Apache running, you go into your system preferences "sharing" section and turn on web sharing. I set up a simple php file in the default web directory so I could run phpinfo() and see the PHP configuration, browsed to it, and it displayed the script's source code instead of running the script.
Yeah, you get both, but PHP is turned off by default in the Apache configuration. Went down a dead-end about an improperly set timezone in the php.ini file before I found the httpd.conf file and saw that the line enabling PHP was disabled. Uncommented it, saved it, restarted Apache, and voila. I got my phpinfo() script working.
Now it was time to get my virtual hosts set up. I usually set up a few nonsense domain names in the httpd.conf as virtual hosts, point those domains to localhost in my hosts file, and voila, I've got a local testing webserver that acts just like I was out on the real web, with domain names and everything.
Now, to mirror the directory structure on a cPanel server, I was placing the domain home directories in /home/account_name/public_html. Only some new service they apparently implemented in Leopard reserves the /home directory as an alias for itself and if you want to use it, you're screwed.
So I put everything in /shome, adjusted my virtual hosts, and attempted to access one of my sites. "You do not have permission to access / on this server." Okay, I went down the road with permissions on the folders, the account and group IDs Apache was using... And this wasn't just my guestimating. I found people saying these were the fixes when I googled it, but none of them worked. Then I found someone saying the base <Directory> entry in the default httpd.conf has "deny from all" and needs to be "allow from all". Changed that and my sites worked... sort of. I still had to get MySQL up and running.
I downloaded the 32-bit version of the latest stable MySQL (5.1.37) from MySQL's site. I'd seen some sites advising to compile it from source, but I always seem to have bad luck with that option. I used the MySQL install... and it sort of worked. The system preferences pane for starting and stopping the server would sometimes freeze. And while I could get a GUI client and phpMyAdmin to connect via the socket method, connecting to localhost via TCP/IP would NOT work.
I used Time Machine to back out the previous install, then downloaded the latest 64-bit 5.4 beta version, as I'd googled for help on this and read someone saying that installed and worked well for them. It worked well for me... sort of. While I could now get the GUI and phpMyAdmin to connect via localhost, the WordPress installer said it couldn't connect to the database. Examining the config files for phpMyAdmin and WordPress, I noticed that phpMyAdmin and the GUI had you specify the port while WordPress didn't. So, instead of localhost, I specified the host as "127.0.0.1:3306". Voila.
Itunes was great. I copied my Music folder contents from my backup to my new install and my whole music/podcast catalog was ready, willing, and able.
Productivity applications presented their own set of problems, some unrelated to Snow Leopard.
I use an old USB PC keyboard hooked up to a KVM switch that lets me double-press the Scroll Lock key to swap my keyboard, mouse, and monitor between two different machines (my MacBook Pro and an older PC). Since I'm used to the home and end keys from years of PC use, I use an app called Double Command to get "PC style home and end keys". This makes the home and end keys act as expected in my text editor, browser, etc. This time, instead of installing the Mac-centric redux of OpenOffice.org, NeoOffice, I downloaded the Mac version of OpenOffice.org.
Here's the fun part. OpenOffice.org makes the home and end keys work as expected without Double Command. But when it's turned on, they work to advance the cursor one word or back one word. So, either turn off Double Command every time I run the word processor, but turn it on for all my other apps, or install NeoOffice? NeoOffice. NeoOffice lags a smidge behind OpenOffice.org in features, but I can live with it.
Graphics... I'm trying to go all open source and freeware, plus not use any apps that require Rosetta. The downside of this is that the GIMP (Photoshop substitute) and Inkscape (Illustrator Substitute) run via X11. That means they have a Unix interface, use the control instead of command key, and don't drag-n-drop well, if at all. They can also be slow to start and have some other idiosyncracies.
I've read a lot about GIMP's confusing and unintuitive user interface. I'll confirm it after installing 2.6.7. It worked fine, and after a slow first start, I could boot it in about 15 seconds on subsequent starts, even with quitting out of X11 too. Drag-n-drop didn't work and while it would import my Photoshop files, the text layers were not editable, which makes it a deal killer right there. I've got a lot of label/icon/button templates where I just change the text as needed. If I have to throw all of those away or recreate them... I still can't afford to go with CS4/5, but perhaps a cheaper alternative like Pixelmator 1.5 which is supposed to have Snow Leopard support when it releases any day now...
Inkscape, which I love, won't boot on Snow Leopard according to the forums, and the only option is to try a development version which will work, albeit with some bugs. The next stable release is getting close, and it will hopefully support Snow Leopard.
Considering the huge number of apps that have issues with Snow Leopard, I'm definitely going to advise everyone to wait a couple of months to let all the developers get Snow Leopard support into their apps. As for Apple, well, you've let me down again. Perhaps I'm an edge case with my need for cross-platform tools and preference for open source apps. But when I switched from Windows XP to Tiger and now from Tiger to Snow Leopard, I have had VERY far from an "it just works" experience.