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Software RAID Works on Lion, But Apple Has Broken Basic Functionality

Software RAID (via Apple’s own DiskUtility) works on Lion, but Apple has curiously broken functionality in every important way besides read/write operation:

  • RAID volumes do not display properly, and partitions are simply missing entirely from the “About” display.
  • Disk Utility cannot verify or repair the file system on a RAID volume.

Disk Utility verify/repair is a file system operation to verify or repair, and it has worked for years in Snow Leopard, Leopard, etc.

Displaying a RAID volume properly is such a basic thing that has also worked for years that it’s fair to conclude that Apple has incompetent developers at work on at least some portions of Lion. Pretty screens are worthless dreck if they do not work properly.

If basic and highly visible functionality is broken, one would be wise to assume that there might be other more problematic areas, such as printing and printer drivers, color space screwups as in Snow Leopard, drivers for PCIe cards, subtle I/O system issues, etc. I would not be surprised to see other problems crop up. I advise working professionals to proceed cautiously.

Months ago, I called OS X Lion an “eye candy release”. While there are some worthwhile advancements at lower levels (e.g., security), I see nothing so far to contradict that prediction.

A developer friend of mine concurs:

Thanks for the heads up. I agree totally with your assessment that Lion is primarily an "eye candy" release. I would go further and say it is change for change's sake as many of the UI changes actually make it harder to use. (I can't imagine how my 82 year old mother will navigate windows with disappearing scroll bars and no up or down arrows.)

The only two changes which seem like positive changes are 1). More macs can run the 64 bit kernel and therefore take advantage of the improved performance and address space randomization and 2). Lion supports TRIM (only if you purchase your SSD from Apple).

I will take a spin through Disk Utility on Lion and see how it works with SoftRAID volumes. So far, the SoftRAID driver and volumes are working with Lion, it's just the Lion Installer that is totally broken. — Tim Standing, SoftRAID developer

Mac OS X 10.7 Lion displays one 4-drive RAID volume as 5 separate icons
Multiple volumes are simply missing entirely (Master, Scratch, Archive1)
Lion display of RAID volume

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