Mavericks Is Free, But Are Quality And User Experience Suffering?

Blogger Bob Skelley notes that OS 10.9 Mavericks os free on the Mac, but he’s been reading reports of some external drives going belly up with Mavericks, and advises that if people are satisfied with their computers, especially users with production machines they rely on for their everyday business, he’s hesitant to heartily endorse new operating systems until some months after initial release.

Skelley also observes that most people would stay with the same operating system until their machine bit the dust, provided Microsoft and Apple supported them with security patches, noting that time is money and upgrading operating systems takes time out from the business of people making money when using their machines, pointing out that when Microsoft has to pull the support plug on its 13-year old Windows XP operating system in order to get users to move to Windows 7 and 8, it reflects this mindset.

He also observes that Apple giving away Mavericks will convince holdouts on Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion to consider upgrading, but for users on even older systems like OS X 10.5.8 Leopard, there is a certain calm and satisfaction that comes with knowing their machines will never again have to roll the dice with operating system updates that could jeopardize their livelihoods. That’s certainly the way it is with my two old Pismo PowerBooks running OS X 10.4 Tiger and still in daily service approaching 14 years old.

Skelley says new, free operating systems may be released before they’re fully tested, and some allege that has happened with Mavericks, while OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard is rock solid, has no surprises when it comes to hiccups and exemplifies old school quality. “People know that kind of quality when they see it,” he observes, and “Mavericks has a long way to go before demonstrating it will resemble it in the long run.”

Unfortunately, Snow Leopard got passed over in the latest tranche of OS X security updates, so the support road appears to be coming to an end much sooner for Snow Leopard than it did for XP.

Personally, I have Mavericks on my new MacBook Air, and I can’t say as I’m impressed. I have both Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion installed on my older MacBook, and don’t think I’ll be upgrading based on my experience so far with Mavericks on the Air. “Free mediocrity” does have a resonant ring to it.

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