Monday, September 27, 2010

Finally upgraded my Mac Book Pro to Snow Leopard 10.6.3

Ok, not really a new one, but it took me time.

Installation

Small issue. A long time ago, I played with Linux on the Mac and I created a few new partitions. When I was done, I tried deleting them, with no luck. I then converted them to UFS and simply mounted them.

However, when I tried to upgrade to 10.6.3 from Leopard, the installer wouldn't let me, claiming that my startup disk was not a startup disk. Rebooting and trying the upgrade directly from the installation media didn't help either.

An attempt to kill the partition failed with MediaKit not able to delete it. It even claimed it there was no such partition.

At that point, my only choice would have been to replace the partition scheme and do a fresh install. So ..

Using an external USB drive, I used Time Machine to take a backup of everything: applications, parameters, files and so on. I then rebooted, selected the 1-partition scheme and reinstalled the whole OS.

First login: miracle! The installer asked me whether I wanted to restore a Time Machine backup! Of course I want. It did so and reloaded all my stuff. So cool! Later, I had to do a couple of adjustments: reinstall some applications that were 32-bits and not 64, install the new PGPMail, XCode and the Mac Ports, and recompile all my installed ports. As of now, everything works fine.

First step: upgrade

After reinstalling everything, I ran not one, but two sessions of upgrades. The combined total was around 1GB downloaded, where my install was around 5GB. That's kind of frustrating to see that in about a year, the whole OS will be completely replaced by patches and updates.

Tests

Perceptibly, Snow Leopard is snappier and the dock reacts faster than it did in 10.5. For computation intensive applications, it behaves the same and no CPU overhead is seen.


The only changes I saw was that my stacked applications now have a scroll bar, where the previous version scaled the icons instead. I don't have enough items in my Documents folder to tell if it behaves the same.



Conclusions

Snow Leopard installation is awesome and, while it took the largest part of my Sunday morning to do it, partially due to the Time Machine Backup, it went smoothly and without any hitch or bump. The possibility to restore a Time Machine Backup after the first boot is a nice and real cool functions and helped me in migrating my stuff. Should I have to do it again, I would use a Firewire disk rather than a USB one, as my dataset was around 43GB.

The OS doesn't feel different, it doesn't look different and it doesn't behave differently. Hugely appreciated when dealing with some people whose learning curve is almost horizontal ( :) ), and everything stayed at its place.

I haven't had the time yet to run all the tests I wanted, but I think I won't be disappointed.

Bibliography

XCode, http://developer.apple.com/technologies/xcode.html (Developer account needed)
MacPorts: http://www.macports.org/