The Lion, the Switch, and the MeFite
December 30, 2011 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Now that you've been living with OS X Lion for a few months, what do you wish you had known before you upgraded?

I'm going to ring in the new year by giving Apple thirty bucks and upgrading to Lion...unless you warn me otherwise. What features sing? What changes suck? I read all the reviews back when Lion rolled out, but I'm curious to hear from people who have lived with the new system for a while.

I'm on a MacBook Pro (2.3 Ghz/4 GB) I purchased in May 2011.
posted by roger ackroyd to Computers & Internet (35 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
I wouldn't upgrade again, but YMMV. On my 2007 Macbook Pro upgrading to Lion broke my wireless connection when returning from sleep mode. Now it takes upwards of two minutes to regain a wireless internet connection whenever I pop the lid open.
posted by InsanePenguin at 9:55 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Except for the change in scrolling behavior, I don't even remember what's different.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:58 AM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't. I've piloted it on a couple users in my office, and frankly, if you depend on Mail.app for anything more than casual usage, it's a piece of shit.
posted by Oktober at 9:59 AM on December 30, 2011


The iOS style scrolling (swipe UP on the trackpad to go DOWN the page, like you're sliding the content away from you) might take some getting used to, but as soon as you're used to it, being without it on your work PC or someone else's computer will aggravate the shit out of you. You being me.

What still aggravates me is the apps that default to saving automatically and, thus, opening the last document you were working on the next time you open that app.
posted by emelenjr at 10:01 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love Lion, but you have to use it Apple's way. If you don't change your workflow, you're fighting it constantly.

Go with the flow and stop worrying about whether a program is running or not. Turn off the "on" lights on the dock.

iCloud and Find My Mac are priceless.

Learn to use templates in iWork. The Save/Duplicate workflow is awesome if you use it right.

There's no show-desktop exposé shortcut. The full screen mode + four finger spaces swipe is the new way to use spaces. Think of it more as an iOS mode than using spaces to group applications.

They still haven't fixed the finder, but the side bar is less crufty.

Your computer illiterate mother will love launch pad. You should continue using spotlight as your launcher.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 10:06 AM on December 30, 2011


Lion is a significant upgrade for a few reasons that matter to me:
1) Filevault 2 - Full disk encryption.
2) Time Machine - Works with Filevault
3) Improved ASLR
4) Recovery partition
5) Guest account can be totally isolated from your encrypted volume.

The scrolling behavior mentioned above can be changed easily, you can disable the auto saving features and app opening that is the default behavior.

I care more about these iterative improvements to the overall security framework than I do about some of the bells and whistles available. From a my perspective the ability to do whole disk encryption AND use time machine is huge, well worth the price to upgrade for these features.
posted by iamabot at 10:08 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can disable the reverse scrolling.

I think Finder changes are for the worse, but it's not that unusable. My work laptop is 10.6 and my home PC is 10.7 and I don't really find the changes worth the $29.
posted by wongcorgi at 10:08 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you depend on using Mail.app for Exchange, don't upgrade.
posted by ijoyner at 10:30 AM on December 30, 2011


I just upgraded to Lion a couple days ago after getting a Magic Trackpad for Christmas (and so I've not been with it for a few weeks, but I'm just finding my way around -- hopefully this is still useful).

That's one big thing: Lion is huge on scrolling and gestures – my old mouse's scrollball broke, and that's the primary reason I waited so long to upgrade. If you don't like gestures, I'd guess you might not like Lion so much.

Unless I misunderstand TheNewWazoo, I can show the desktop with a four-finger reverse-pinch gesture. Exposé, where you reveal all the windows of all the applications on a desktop IS rolled into the Mission Control screen, however.

I really like the full-screen mode – I’m using Chrome, Safari, Mail.app, iCal, iTunes, Evernote and Tweetdeck as full screen programs right now, along with two other desktops. I was an iPad early-adopter (and I just came off a trip where I used my iPad exclusively for work and browsing), so I'm used to the one-app-at-a-time method, and I like it.

As a point of dissent from the Mail.app warnings, I've got it going with four Gmail accounts right now – but I don't use Exchange.

Overall, so far I'm a fan, but I'm betting I'll be a little disoriented when I go back to work Tuesday and have to switch back to Snow Leopard.
posted by brentajones at 10:37 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and if you want to get a feel for reverse scrolling, there's a free app called (what else?) Scroll Reverser that does what it says on the tin. I've been using this at work (with a functioning scrolling mouse) for months, and (again, given the iPad and iPhone use) it's pretty intuitive after ten minutes or so.
posted by brentajones at 10:41 AM on December 30, 2011


Don't upgrade. Reconsider. Especially if you use a large monitor or a multiple-monitor setup.

There are an endless number of questionable changes in Lion that you can tweak in settings - but there are many negative changes that you just have to live with that do little but slow down old machines and make Mac OS harder to use. It's really difficult to understand the rationale for many of these changes, many of which seem arbitrary or regressive, and are user-unfriendly in a way Apple has never been in the past.

* The close/minimize buttons. They're tiny now. At high resolutions on a large monitor, they're now much harder to select. Why would they do this?

* They broke Expose in favor of a cluttered, less-useful Mission Control. In the past, if you were in another application and wanted to switch to a particular browser window, you could hit F9, see the window you needed to switch to, and you were there. Now, Mission Control will only show you content of one or two open windows for any given application, meaning that you have to switch to that application, then hit F10, then find what you're looking for. (While I was never a huge fan of Spaces, folks I know who used it are mad that it's pretty much gone.)

* They broke Save As. Now, if you want to name a version of a file something different, you have to do a multi-step Duplicate and rename or save version process that simply takes more time than earlier methods. This is not awesome, even if you use it right.

* They broke search in Mail.app. In the past, there was a simple way to select what fields to search after entering a phrase. Now, Mail.app suggests 15 different ways you might want to search on the phrase you enter, none of which are actually what you're looking for. You now have to type from:searchphrase or to:searchphrase to get it to work reasonably well.

* They broke iCal. Switching from week to week or month to month, things nearly instantaneous in Snow Leopard, now take seconds as iCal struggles to load an animation. If you have multiple calendars, you can no longer choose which calendar you want to place an event in, you have to put it in your default calendar and then move it. These things were effortless in Snow Leopard, and now they're just painful.

* They broke compatibility with older, non-universal apps.

* They removed MobileMe for those with older machines who couldn't upgrade to Lion and use iCloud. It's extremely curious that you can use iCloud on Windows Vista, but not Snow Leopard.

* Full-screen mode can be incoherent or difficult to manage when you use multiple monitors. Most of the new features in Lion appear to be designed around an individual using a laptop or a single small monitor. The little "paper flying away" animation that Mail.app in Lion does when it sends a message is cute when on just a small laptop monitor. On a 27" monitor, it's completely ludicrous and a time waster. Same with most of the animations.

* Worst of all: they broke performance on older machines. Lion is laggy in a way that Leopard and Snow Leopard were not. Even Textedit is sluggish. Sure, Lion runs fine on that brand new machine with an SSD - but on a maxed-out 2008 Macbook, not so much.

Bottom line: I can't work as fast on the Mac I upgraded to Lion as I can on the similar Mac I left on Snow Leopard, even after making a good-faith effort to adjust to Lion's idiosyncracies.

When Apple said that they were bringing iOS to the Mac, I thought they meant that they'd provide an emulation layer to actually use iOS apps in Mac OS. That'd be something interesting. Instead, they made a whole lot of changes that were sort-of-kind-of in the spirit of iOS, but had terrible impact on those who use Macs to do work, on large external monitors, with lots of windows open, with long documents.

Yes, full volume encryption and the recovery partition are excellent features to improve security. It's also nice that you can finally resize a window from both sides. Those features added to Snow Leopard might actually be worth $30. As it stands, upgrading an old machine to Lion may make you want to buy a new Mac due to the performance issues… or make you start to think that maybe Windows 7 isn't so bad.
posted by eschatfische at 10:53 AM on December 30, 2011 [13 favorites]


I have no problems connecting to my office's Exchange server via Mail.app on Lion. Are there known issues, ijoyner?
posted by misterbrandt at 10:55 AM on December 30, 2011


I had a lot of trouble with Lion at first due to a number of totally rewritten components that while lesser-used, are important. In their current implementation they basically amount to beta software.

Lion has a new VNC server that broke authentication with almost every Windows client. Lion's rewritten samba layer also causes some major headaches if you do filesharing between OS X and Windows. On a lesser note, multi-channel audio passthrough in VNC and most other players was broken for a long time until the most recent patch to OS X and VNC.

That said, many of these issues are fixed or have workarounds developed by the community.

Lion is the release that I think shows the most growing pains. Apple is fixing a number of things that were essentially broken but had established and functioning workarounds. I think the changes are ultimately better than the old ways, and they certainly had to happen at some point, but you may want to steer clear if things are working for you now. I think I would have stayed at 10.6 if I had the decision to make again.
posted by dosterm at 11:25 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


InsanePenguin: "On my 2007 Macbook Pro upgrading to Lion broke my wireless connection when returning from sleep mode."

2007 MBP. No issues with wireless. It actually works better now than it did under Leopard.

TheNewWazoo: "Go with the flow and stop worrying about whether a program is running or not. Turn off the "on" lights on the dock."

I still quit applications when done. And I left the lights on.

TheNewWazoo: "There's no show-desktop exposé shortcut."

Hotcorners. You can set this up easily. Top left corner on my MBP = show Desktop, same as I had it set in 10.5 and 10.6.

TheNewWazoo: "They still haven't fixed the finder, but the side bar is less crufty."

Sidebar also can't be easily shown when hidden. It's now a multi-step process for some dumb reason - and the order of items has been changed by default.

eschatfische: "The close/minimize buttons. They're tiny now. At high resolutions on a large monitor, they're now much harder to select. Why would they do this?"

Keyboard commands are much faster than hitting a button, even back when said button was larger. Embrace Cmd-Q, Cmd-W, Cmd-M, and Cmd-H.

eschatfische: "They broke search in Mail.app."

Maybe. I don't use it, so my mail program neither has crappy search nor shows pointless animations when I hit "Send". If you use Thunderbird you have no worries here.

eschatfische: "Worst of all: they broke performance on older machines. Lion is laggy in a way that Leopard and Snow Leopard were not. Even Textedit is sluggish. Sure, Lion runs fine on that brand new machine with an SSD - but on a maxed-out 2008 Macbook, not so much."

2007 MBP, 4 GB RAM, 640 GB HDD. I don't notice any real issues with speed of performance that I didn't also see in Snow Leopard or Leopard. Aside from the first few days when it was re-indexing everything, anyway.

What REALLY broke for me was:
(a) the USB modem - sure, the ONE time in 4 years I actually need to use it for anything, I find out it isn't supported in Lion? Drat. But it's a modem, right? No big loss.
(b) NTFS-3G and MacFUSE. This was a bigger issue. Still no real solution aside from paying for the Tuxera build or cobbling together something that works from unofficial patches. Some of the other packages I tried would work with some FUSE components but not others. The fact that there is still not a single implementation available that makes this stuff all Just Work again is really annoying.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:30 AM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've been avoiding the Lion upgrade. Snow Leopard is working nicely for me and I honestly don't see anything in the Lion feature list that entices me enough make the leap, especially considering the odd problems that could crop-up and all the tinkering apparently required to get Lion acting more like SL. Might as well stay with SL where it's all working great.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:03 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just did this two days ago. A few things that annoyed me:

- The scrolling takes a little while to get used to, but it's actually more intuitive this way. But now I get confused when I'm working on my PC at work.
- I don't know if it was the OS update or the Safari update, but I've had to re-log in to everything that I was already logged into (like metafilter, gmail, other sites)
- The finder changes suck, but there are workarounds.
*The "library" folder for each user is hidden and there are steps you have to take to unhide it (search for this on google, I don't remember what I did)
*The default for finder is to not include your hard drive, but there is also a way around that

I really like launchpad and mission control and the ability to scroll through applications if you have them full screen.
posted by echo0720 at 12:12 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am now used to all the changes in Lion EXCEPT the stupid save/save as "solution". Apple took a simple concept and made it harder. I cannot believe Steve Jobs gave approval to this dumb idea! CHANGE IT BACK, APPLE, or at least give users the option!
posted by konig at 12:47 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I installed Lion the day it came out on my Spring 2008 MacBook Pro and enjoy it. As luck would have it, the GPU on my computer died a few weeks afterward and for the week that I was using my 2006 MacBook Pro that was ineligible for an upgrade was a hassle. I'd come quite used to the gestures and the reverse scrolling. During that week my Lion Mac was in the shop, using Snow Leopard machine was torture because it actually took me more time to unlearn using the reverse scrolling than it took to learn it. (Over xmas I was using my mom's MacBook running Snow Lion and actually thought for a minute there was something wrong with her mouse...she's not running Lion yet because she needs more RAM and my brother is putting it in this weekend and then upgrading).

I like Mission Control and Launch Pad. I never used Spaces or other stuff like that before. Spaces is still there but called desktops. I do use the three finger swipe to get to the dashboard widgets or to full screen apps.

The new autosave/versions features sound great on paper but on legacy apps (I don't think Adobe or Microsoft apps will ever support them) it can be a pain in the ass. The feature to restore apps on re-login or restart (or reopen) can be problematic. Reopening Safari means all the old windows/tabs will reopen. Reopening Excel that were opened means you have to wait for that to reopen. So you have to remember to Alt-Cmd-Q (or manually close the files first) if you don't want to wait when the app reopens next time.

I actually found wifi connectivity better on Lion. In fact is was as insanepenguin described on for me on Snow Leopard. Now it "just works"

The one thing I recommend is you keep a copy of the Lion DMG file so if you have a problem and need to reinstall, you'll have a local copy. This file is deleted once Lion is installed so you have to grab it right after it downloads from the App Store.
posted by birdherder at 1:14 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


As you probably know, Rosetta is gone. Sometimes people forget that some - perhaps crucial - legacy app is in fact running on Rosetta on their old OS, and upgrade to Lion, only to be bitten. Now, many apps will eventually transition to Lion, abandoning the need for Rosetta, or even make special arrangements with Apple, but for some, it seems there is no hope. For me, I have a few very important apps that will never go Lion, so I'm holding off - and even a few which others may consider frivolous, but which are important to me (eg. 77 Million Paintings).

There are some noises and signs that perhaps people will do an open source PPC emulator to run on Lion, but it's still just talk.

Personally, I'm in no hurry to go to Lion, but when a PPC emulator is ready, I will probably drift toward it - you can only run a legacy OS for so long before you have to buy new hardware, or your functionality becomes too limited.
posted by VikingSword at 1:22 PM on December 30, 2011


Lion is great. Upgrade immediately. There are lots of little small things that look smoother, act better, and behave more intuitively.

Using a trackpad to navigate in safari and to switch spaces a game-changer for me.

I trust apple almost completely with these sorts of things. If they're doing something that's new and different, there is usually a reason for it. And I usually like it. Apple doesn't redesign things just to keep things looking different - everything they do has a purpose.
posted by kpmcguire at 1:39 PM on December 30, 2011


Q: Now that you've been living with OS X Lion for a few months, what do you wish you had known before you upgraded?
A: How incredibly difficult it would be to change back to Snow Leopard.

I installed Lion and found that many of it's whiz-bang features actually (for me) made the usability worse:
    • Getting rid of "Save As..."—I still don't understand this, I think there was something like "same a version"? (what, a version? Do I get to name this "version"? Where is it stored? Can I save it to a external drive, or do I have to hunt it down and then copy it over?), • accidentally getting stuck in full screen mode, • Exposé now grouping app windows like decks of card so you can no longer find the Safari window you're looking for • the annoying "Hey, this'll be fun! Let's open up all the docs you had open last time!" annoyance when you open an app (with no reliable way to globally kill this pref) • this may be an anomoly, but I was finding that mini-apps like Preview and TextEdit were taking a little over 10 seconds to launch, which is crazy on a machine only a few months old
In my opinion, Lion had exactly two features that I will miss:
    • the ability to re-size a window from any edge, and • the ability to encrypt external backup drives.
Now, after completely wiping my hard drive and reinstalling Snow Leopard (and then slowly dragging all my apps, prefs, and documents back over from a backup), I am mostly back to normal—I did seem to lose my iCal information because of the way Lion shuffled a lot of my info to iCloud (which is now unseeable in S.L.), and I seem to have duplicates of every address in Address Book for seemingly the same reason.

In my opinion, Lion tries too hard to forgo user-control by being a iPad/PlaySkool user interface. It also seems to be written heavily for trackpad-users in mind (which does make sense since they are selling so many laptops). But... my Mac, while a laptop, is hooked up to a mouse and keyboard when it's at home—making all the swipes and Jazz Hand features pretty valueless for me.

I suppose I will have to change over in the next year or two since a lot of new apps coming out seem to be "Lion-only"... I just hope they make some major changes to the user-adjustability of the Lion feature-set.
posted by blueberry at 1:52 PM on December 30, 2011


• They really screwed up support for NAS devices, sending manufacturers scurrying to issue firmware updates. Since many people use Time Machine for backups, and logically would want to use a large-capacity NAS for this process, backing up has become very problematic. I upgraded to Lion the day it came out, and to this day am struggling to get Time Machine working on my NAS. In fact, I sold a Drobo FS I had been using up until Lion because of the constant problems with Lion, and I'm only having marginally better luck with a Synology DiskStation.

• For anyone running multiple monitors (and I suggest to virtually 100% of the people I know that there's no reason not to), the Full Screen view is a joke. With multiple monitors, it puts that abhorrent linen texture on every other monitor except the one with the Full Screen app, which is a laughably bad design decision. Hoping that a future update will allow a Preference to be set for this behavior.

• I'm really bothered by the monotone icons now used in the Finder. First introduced in iTunes, inexplicably removing the color from icons—especially in the Finder Sidebar—simply slows down the recognition process as all of the tiny icons become much more indistinguishable at a glance. Another laughably bad design decision, and a misstep from Apple for sure. Also hoping for a Preference in the future (and yes, I know there are hacks to restore the color, but I prefer waiting for an official solution).

• Also not a huge fan of the "Duplicate" mentality. "Save As..." worked fine and made more sense.

• Since iCloud is now tied into Lion, which is great, one gotcha is the removal of the iDisk feature, which essentially gave you cloud storage of any type of file. I used it all the time to transfer documents to and from work. Its removal is inexplicable since no equivalent is provided with iCloud, when all other apps from the MobileMe suite were ported to iCloud. I've since resorted to either using Back to My Mac to log in remotely (a godsend, and was worth the $99 fee for MobileMe alone), or a third-party cloud storage system like Box or Dropbox.
posted by robbie01 at 2:24 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Getting rid of "Save As..."—I still don't understand this, I think there was something like "same a version"? (what, a version? Do I get to name this "version"? Where is it stored? Can I save it to a external drive, or do I have to hunt it down and then copy it over?),

I actually had to go see how this behavior works because since the apps I use every day don't comply with Apple's new save/versions/etc paradigm. So Microsoft Excel and Adobe Photoshop still have Save As... as an option and there's no change there.

I just opened Numbers and looked at its behavior. Save as... is gone, of course. You save a file and get to name it and decide where to put it. "Save a version..." keeps the name and doesn't give you a choice where to put it because it is the same file.

I'm old school and am used to manually versioning files using "save as..." like I have for decades. What Apple did with Lion is try and break that but managing the process for you. You select the "Revert File..." from the menu, you get a Time Machine like interface that lets you go back to the version you want to go back to.

If you want to make a copy or do old-school manual versions with Numbers you have to use Duplicate the file an then save that version.

It would definitely take getting used to and I'm not used to it because I use Excel instead of Numbers, Word instead of Pages and presently happy not to be using either presentation app. I usually only use Preview and TextEdit for reading files, not changing them so never noticed the versioning.

OK, I just played with a file in TextEdit and created a new rtf file save it, made a change and saved it. Then I went and opened the file in Word and the latest version showed up as expected. I added a line of text, saved it. I went back to TextEdit, went to Revert... and I could go back to the last it was managing. Since Word isn't Lion-versioning-friendly, it can't play along.

I think a big problem the new Lion file paradigm has is people have been used to having to micromanage everything about their computer use for decades and this is definitely new. You have to trust the computer not to fuck up. Many people hate iTunes and iPhoto because they do the same thing. People that manually like to control where their photos or music is and how you'd move them to your smartphone or media player hate they can't micromanage like in the good old days. Then again, like the real good old days, they're not that good as we fondly remember them. We had to create an autosave and versioning system because we had to. Looking at the Time Machine view of the versions is a lot more elegant that having to open all the different versions to see what has changed. In 10 years we'll look back and wonder how we put up with having Q2budget-v1-1231a.xls, Q21231b.xls, etc instead of just having a Q2 Budget file with all the versions built in.

Apple has a long history of forcing its customers onto new paradigms. If they introduced this file method and made it all optional it wouldn't get adopted as quickly than if they just cut the cord. I HATED when Microsoft gave us that insipid ribbon in Office 2007. But I read in a book (the first book I had to read on Excel since 1993) Microsoft's rationale for the ribbon and that was the old method of menus and submenus and whatnot was close to breaking. They had too many things they wanted to offer but the old UI/experience wasn't going to work. The book related a story of the team showing Office to Bill Gates and after seeing it and understanding why they did it, he turns to the team lead and asks where the setting was to go to "classic mode." The guy told Bill that they purposely didn't put in a classic mode because they knew people would tick that checkbox in the settings and never use the ribbon.

But I do think that both Apple and Microsoft did a poor job communicating the why with their cord-cutting. It was easier when they shipped their stuff with a thick manual. Instead they want us to read a dumb tl;dr web page.
posted by birdherder at 3:07 PM on December 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't upgrade again, but YMMV. On my 2007 Macbook Pro upgrading to Lion broke my wireless connection when returning from sleep mode. Now it takes upwards of two minutes to regain a wireless internet connection whenever I pop the lid open.

Same here, on an iMac that shipped with Lion. Additionally, waking the thing up from something as minor as the screen saver often results in long waiting times for the password dialog to appear. I still haven't figured out the behavior of the power button -- where it used to bring up the sleep/restart/power off dialog, now it puts it to sleep I guess?, but in such a way that I have to futz with the keyboard and the mouse for several iterations before it comes back to life. Mission Control is like Spaces for idiots, because you're limited to a one-dimensional arrangement of screens. Screens in Mission Control aren't quite as permanent as spaces were, so changing your background on one doesn't do anything to the others. You either change all of the backgrounds or you destroy your old screens and then create new ones that will all have the same background as your home screen. A minor quibble, but in addition to all of the other idiocies of Lion it feels like a tiny, personal fuck you from the OS X dev team.

Also, the scrolling stuff is stupid as hell if you're using Lion on a device without a touchscreen, which necessarily means that the scrolling stuff is universally stupid as hell because no such device exists. You can get used to it, of course, but that doesn't make it not stupid as hell.

As for the good, the gestures are nice. The Cmd-Y preview function is much improved. Terminal is better, but not as good as iTerm. Nothing that makes the upgrade worthwhile.
posted by invitapriore at 4:16 PM on December 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh and the skins they've put on iCal and Address Book and probably other stuff that I'm too disgusted to even try opening are so hideous and tacky that you might as well give up the ghost and start decorating your house with Precious Moments figurines.
posted by invitapriore at 4:20 PM on December 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, I know I sound like a curmudgeon, so I'll just add that I've been using OS X since Jaguar and every release before Lion has been a huge improvement in my eyes. This one just didn't take for me.
posted by invitapriore at 4:26 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


My suggestion, if you're still interested in Lion, is to do a full backup of your machine to an external drive using SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner...

...then boot from the backup drive and install Lion onto that backup drive. Run off of that backup for a couple of days and try doing all of the various things mentioned above. Also, launch all of your various apps, checking to make sure that they all work (and noticing which ones use Rosetta and thus will not function in Lion). I would also try printing and scanning with your printer/scanner just to make sure you don't find yourself needing a driver or an update or something.

If you don't have any complaints, then you could install it on your main drive—if you do find things you hate about Lion, then just go back to using your main (internal) Snow Leopard drive.

posted by blueberry at 9:10 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do you use Homebrew to install packages? They messed up some stuff big time if you do. Xcode now ships with the llvm compiler instead of the GNU compilers. A lot of the stuff that I installed using homebrew cannot be installed now once I switched to Lion.

See here, http://www.google.com/search?q=homebrew+lion+issues.
posted by hariya at 6:15 AM on December 31, 2011


I have no regrets whatsoever running Lion on a fairly ancient iMac. There are a few rough edges in Lion 10.7.2, but nothing that has caused me to lose any data or interfered with getting things done.

Here's my take on various issues folks have raised:

* The upside to Lion's new file versioning workflow is that you are never at risk of losing work due to a crash or mistake.

* The slow wifi issue is a known bug introduced between 10.7.1 and 10.7.2, which I'd bet will be fixed in 10.7.3.

* The new scrolling behavior is better. It's also optional.

* Mail.app works fine for me. I spend most of my time in Gmail though.

* The fact that all apps and the OS save your state between quits and reboots is a simple joy.

* You can use configure a gesture, keyboard shortcut, mousee button, and hot corner to reveal the desktop.

* I'd gotten out of the habit of using Spaces in Snow Leopard. The Lion model of multiple desktops along with full-screen apps has been much easier to integrate. It's a nice way to shift from multi-tasking to a single focus.

* I haven't thought once about the close/minimize buttons.

* If you prefer the old style of Expose, you can configure a keyboard shortcut, mouse button, hot corner, or gesture to work that way.

* I've had no performance problems with iCal nor in general which can't be explained by my limited RAM.

There's lots of great info in this thread, though I'm confused by a lot of the negativity & resistance to change. Apple's clearly steering the future of OS X in a particular direction, and I don't see a benefit to paddling backwards.
posted by sudama at 11:34 AM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you prefer the old style of Expose, you can configure a keyboard shortcut, mouse button, hot corner, or gesture to work that way.
Actually, while one can still invoke Exposé, it's the way Lion's version now "stacks" of all of each app's windows that makes it pretty useless is selecting the window you want—it's akin to looking for the 8-of-Hearts, but Exposé's just showing you the full deck of cards. (being able to select the particular window I was looking for was the main reason I used the "show all windows" form of Exposé.)


posted by blueberry at 12:59 PM on December 31, 2011


* The new scrolling behavior is better. It's also optional.

When I wrote my response above, I figured that I'd only focus on those things with Leopard that one might find annoying and cannot change. The new scrolling behavior is optional. But I have to take a second to comment on it.

The new scrolling behavior makes sense on a touchscreen, where you are literally engaging in the process of pulling a document with your fingers. On an iPad, it wouldn't make sense to handle scrolling any way other than the way Apple handles it.

On a work computer, however, the new model breaks an established paradigm. For years and years, for good reason, the scroll wheel or scroll gesture moved you in the direction of the beginning or end of your document - scrolling upwards would take you towards the beginning or top of your Word document, or web page, or photo, or tasklist - and scrolling downwards would take you towards the end, or bottom. Scrolling up took you to the top, scrolling down took you to the bottom. Of course!

Apple's new scrolling behavior reverses that - rather than the scroll being a metaphor for the direction one would head in the document, image or list one was working in, it is now literally pushing pixels in the same direction as one's fingers.

Which means that when you scroll upwards, the scroll bar - which from the beginning of visual interfaces has shown you where you are in a long document - moves down. Which is deeply confusing, and which is why Apple has had to remove the scrollbars from the interface by default. In the past, scrolling down with one's fingers, or the scrollbar, meant you'd be headed towards the bottom. Now, in some sort of "down means up" reversal, scrolling down with one's fingers is equivalent of scrolling up with the scrollbar and moving to the top of a document!

OK, sure, I get it - it's as if your fingers are physically moving the pixels on the screen, rather than controlling the direction one wants to go in a document. And clearly, some people have no problem with that. But it when working with long documents, it breaks a very fundamental metaphor in the way we work with things. It all feels a little 1984, where Apple decrees "scroll down to move up in the document!" and everyone follows in lockstep despite it not really making sense for the task at hand.
posted by eschatfische at 5:17 PM on December 31, 2011


Love the Lion flow, but there are still software compatibility problems that bug me: no Gimp, no Inkscape, and...I'll be totally honest here I can't find a hack for the new lion-friendly ableton update, which I guess is good for them... But sucks for me haha. Also haven't had the chance to test out max msp, we'll have to see about that one.
posted by kitsuloukos at 10:10 AM on January 2, 2012


Oh, and safari had a MAJOR, and very annoying memory leak problem. They've patched it now, but it still goes crazy (which makes me go crazy) now and then.

Basically, Lion UI is wonderful to use, and I don't regret it, but there are still app issues.
posted by kitsuloukos at 10:12 AM on January 2, 2012


I've exclusively used Macs for 12 years now and been through all the updates with minimal discomfort until now. Because of Lion I am switching permanently to Chrome and Thunderbird.
posted by lalex at 4:54 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


UPDATE: I waited until Mountain Lion to make the switch.

SO FAR, SO GOOD.
posted by roger ackroyd at 2:10 PM on July 26, 2012


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