I can tell you that in my workday world, I was planning nothing even resembling an immediate rollout of Leopard upon its release. That's just not how IT works. Heck, there's no plans to roll out Vista before 2008 in a lot of places. The truth is, you can only do light testing prior to actual finished code. I don't mean bug-testing as much as procedural and workflow testing: How will this new release change things? What do "normal users" think of it? What kind of internal documentation will we need?
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This isn't a fast process. It can take months, many months, depending on the size of the organization. At some of the larger organizations I've worked for, we were lucky to get done with testing and start rollout in under a year.
So from that perspective, the delay in Leopard has no real effect. But what about a hardware purchasing effect? What about people who want to get Leopard pre-installed on their machines to save the license cost?
Well, um, if you delay a thousand or more dollars worth of hardware just to save a hundred and thirty bucks on an OS license, I think you have your priorities sub-optimally calibrated. You base most of your hardware purchases on what you need today, with an eye for the future. Therefore, all I would care about in upcoming hardware purchases is will it run Leopard when I'm ready to run Leopard?
Since I don't see Apple requiring brand new hardware for Leopard, I'm not worried. But I'm not going to delay someone getting a new box that they need today until October or later just to save a couple bucks on the OS license. In fact, given Apple's tendency to make hardware released after a new OS release only run that new OS version, I'd rather buy new hardware just prior to the Leopard release date, so that I don't have to run Leopard at all until I'm ready.
There's a lot in the educational arena who are fussing about this delay, because summer is when they traditionally do most of their upgrades. But again, the downside is, it's harder to test when there's no one around using the stuff the way you need it to be used. However, all things being equal, releasing new OSes between January and May is much easier on the educational market than September to December. They have probably the more legitimate beef. But nothing close to the thorax-thumping you see on the Mac web.
What's the big reason behind most of the hue and cry? Steve's "Top - Secret" features mostly, and the desire to have a new OS to compare to Vista. That's a long way of saying "ego".
No one likes having the sparkly pulled farther away, and much of what you're seeing is the reaction to that. As I said in another forum, "Steve didn't shoot your dog, he delayed an OS." Had he done this, say, a week from the release date, that would be one thing. Had he already delayed Leopard a few times, that would be different. But it's a single four-month delay on a product that was still almost two months from release when the announcement went out. It's really not that big a deal for anyone.