I don't know why I was so excited for this, but last night I upgraded from OS 10.3.9 to 10.4 Tiger. I decided to do an "Archive and Install" due to suggestions I read online on various forums. The upgrade process was quite simple. I made a backup of files and Panther installation onto an external Firewire drive. The backup process (using CarbonCopyCloner) took about an hour as I have a lot of files to backup. I have one drive for my OS and a serial ATA Mirrored RAID for all my files, but was afraid that since my RAID setup isn't one that Apple set up, it may fail somehow. But at least I had a copy to begin with. After the backup, I disconnected the Firewire drive, then proceeded with the OS installation.
After putting the Tiger DVD install disc into my MDD G4 and double-clicking on the install file, the installer walked me through a couple of steps to help me decide how to install. The default ends up being just an Upgrade, but I knew what I was looking for and found the Archive and Install option (making sure to preserve users and network settings). Installation of everything but X11 (may install later if a program requires it) took less than 20 minutes. I had to verify my user settings when the new OS started up, but I was not asked for any long serial numbers or anything like that. I hate typing in 20+ characters, especially when these installers don't have an auto tab when you get to the end of each box. So there I was sitting in front of a fresh, clean OS X 10.4.
First impression was wow. The GUI is tightened up quite a bit. Lines and edges are crisp and clear and seems quite a bit snappier. And what is this I hear? GUI sound effects are back? Yay... *I think*. First thing I did make sure LittleSnitch was still functional. It was, but there's something about where it's located that needs updating, but it seems to work fine. I had no troubles with any installed programs as most are new and/or frequently updated apps from the big names. The second thing I checked was my local server sites and databases. Yikes! PHP4 (no, I haven't upgraded to 5 yet) wasn't enabled by default, and PHP wasn't being parsed in .html files. I had fix this in my httpd.conf file/s, no big deal. I couldn't find any reference to my previously installed MySQL database. Gee, I guess I should have backed this up, huh. Re-installing MySQL from mysql.com's installer files was no problem, and I was back up and running within minutes, but still, I did loose some database data. Luckily I do have a remote copy of everything... all the live data for the sites I've done... It'll just take some time to restore some of this to my local server.
Mail 2 is way fast... at least compared to the previous version. I read a lot of flack about its GUI, but I like it and hope Apple doesn't change it back. I had gigabytes of old mail from Panther's Mail.app that migrated flawlessly when I first opened Mail 2. Phew! Spotlight took about 15 minutes to first index my system, but after that it runs just as fast as I can use it.
One thing I'm kinda sad about is Core Imaging. I have a MDD G4, Dual 1.25Ghz system with the ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 (64 Mb DDR) video card (at least that's what I was lead to believe), which I think is the one that Core Image supports. System Profiler says that my card does not support Core Image. I don't get the ripple effect when moving Dashboard Widgets and probably any other of those useless effects, but It'd be nice to see them. Guess I'll have to upgrade my card when I have the funds.
I have yet to use Automator and have a custom Dashboard Widget in development. I'll post more on these if they end up being as useful as I think they'll be. Well done Apple, thanks for another great OS.