Snow Leopard: Which apps, utilities have been left behind?

Some applications aren't yet compatible with the new Mac OS. We let you know which, and offer some alternatives.

Snow Leopard may be a faster, leaner version of Mac OS X with some nifty new features, but it has one potentially sizable drawback, at least for me: Incompatibility with a number of the applications and utilities I use on an everyday basis.

Eventually, most -- and possibly all -- of the programs that are currently incompatible with Snow Leopard will (most likely) be tweaked by their developers so that they will run on it without problems. But at launch, I found a few problems. What follows are some of the apps that tripped me up.

I've also included an alternative for each, in case it takes the developers a while to come up with a fix.

iStat Menus

This great free techie toy, a favorite of Computerworld Editor in Chief Scot Finnie, tells you in exquisite detail just what's going on inside your Mac, including CPU, memory, network and disk use. But where it really shines is in reporting on the temperature of your CPU and hard disk, and your fan speed. That way, you can see ahead of time whether you might be due for any hardware problems.

I've been running it every since I got my MacBook Air, and it's become one of my favorite utilities. As of this writing, the current version (1.3) wouldn't run on Snow Leopard. The good news, though, is that a Snow-Leopard-compatible version (2.0) is in the works -- in fact, I managed to get my hands on it and test it, and it works like a charm. There's no release date yet, so it may be imminent or it may take some time for it to make its way to the public.

Version 2.0 will only work with Leopard and Snow Leopard; if you've got Mac OS X 10.4, you'll have to use Version 1.3.

An alternative: XRG from Gaucho Software was suggested by Computerworld news editor Ken Mingis. I've tried it, and it works without problems on Snow Leopard. I prefer iStat Menu, because of its far more compact display, but XRG is worth a try.

NeoOffice

NeoOffice is a free office suite for the Mac, based on the (also free) open-source OpenOffice.org suite. It's more Mac-like than OpenOffice.org -- for example, it includes handling native Mac features such as floating tool windows and Mac OS X Leopard grammar checking support. It's the office suite I've been using ever since I bought my MacBook Air. Two versions are currently available: 3.0 and 2.2.5.

I use 3.0, and when I tried to run it from the Dock after I installed Snow Leopard, its icon bounced happily just as icons usually do when you click them -- and bounced and bounced and bounced again. But nothing happened -- NeoOffice wouldn't launch.

Other users -- of 2.2.5 as well as 3.0 -- have reported the same thing, at least when using beta versions of Snow Leopard. According to the NeoOffice Web site, the developers have plans to release fixes so that both versions will work on Snow Leopard.

An alternative: Until a version of NeoOffice comes out that works with the Mac, I've gone back to OpenOffice.org.

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