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Apple OS X 'Lion' Comments

Experience report and notes follow.

Always make a backup clone (and test it) before installing a new OS version.

Professionals with work to get done WAIT at least a month to let the dust settle, especially when using printer drivers, PCIe cards with drivers, etc. There is nothing to be gained by rushing into Lion— you might get clawed.

Safe protocol for upgrading

Installing Mac OS X Lion on a system with a software striped RAID boot drive is reported to destroy the boot volume, rendering it unusable. I have two (2) credible reports of this problem. See Safe Protocol for Upgrading.


Notes in no particular order—

  • 3.7GB download makes the App Store approach a rather presumptuous decision on Apple’s part. With 5 Macs to upgrade, it’s a time and bandwidth nightmare, and wholly unworkable for many users. Reportedly a $69 USB key device will be available in August.
  • Download once, then BEFORE installing, copy the “Install OS X” from your Applications folder elsewhere and it can be used as often as needed for your other Macs. If you install first, then installer removed the installer app when done.
  • Apple’s Disk Utility will not verify or repair a software RAID.
  • On my vertical screen, the OS X Lion installer displays horizontally. It’s OK after the install is done, but does not inspire confidence.
  • The new OS X Mail interface is a non-functional downgrade, but fortunately there is a “Classic Layout” checkbox in preferences. Even so, the buttons are now too small, and squared-off ugly. Did Apple hire Microsoft Windows developers to uglify OS X Lion?
  • The iCal interface has gone butt-ugly, with a putrid dirty yellow top of the window. Did Apple hire all the bad Microsoft designers?
  • Apple firmly believes that all users have youthful vision, and thus has downsized key user interface items— items that were already serious trouble for some of my older clients both in terms of visibility, and the precision of the mouse movements required to use them.
  • The new OS X Lion squared-off dialog buttons are just plain ugly. Did Apple hire Microsoft Windows developers to uglify OS X Lion?
  • Current version of DropBox does not work with Lion, maybe there is an upgrade.
  • Java gets whacked (removed). To restore, enter Terminal, type 'java', and the OS will prompt to install a Java runtime. No word on how to get an SDK installed, which is critical for software development.
  • Home folder on a separate volume: you might be unable to login under Lion:
  • It takes about 2-3 times as long for my screen to wake up with Lion as with OS X Snow Leopard. Very annoying.

MacWorld Magazine reports how to make a bootable Lion install disk.

Reader Joel J reports:

I wanted to pass on that I did experience difficulty with the install due to this setup but I was able to get around it and now am running successfully under this configuration. The only way that I could login after the Lion install was to due an Option S on a reboot and force the os to build me a new login, restart under that new login, point that login to the old user folder, reboot to the new user folder, and then reestablish read / write privileges across the entire user folder in order for me to get my desktop, mail, etc. back. now it would appear that all is well except for when looking at the "info" on a file or folder under the permissions drop down I see a "Fetching….." under name on the left side that won't resolve. I'm guessing that this is a remnant of this permissions problem.

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