computing Software

Mac OS X Lion

In the past (or at least since I’ve been using a Mac), I’ve bought upgrades to OS X on the day that they have been released.  Having said that, it has usually been a month (or even several months) before I’ve actually upgraded.

I remember the transition from Tiger to Leopard being particularly painful.  Although the operating system came out in the Autumn, I didn’t attempt to update my iMac until Christmas because some of the software that I used was not ready for Leopard.  When I did upgrade my iMac, I ended up reverting back to my Tiger system within about 24 hours or so because of problems.  (I’ve been a keen user of SuperDuper which is an excellent way of cloning one’s main drive to produce a bootable back up from which one can restore.)   Sometime in the following year I upgraded my MacBook successfully and my MacMini and then eventually updated the iMac.

The transition to Snow Leopard went more smoothly.  Again I didn’t do it for a month or two while waiting for applications to be declared stable, but the upgrade went smoothly with no problems that I can recall on both my MacBook and the iMac.  The Mac Mini couldn’t be upgraded to Snow Leopard because of hardware limitations.

With Lion and the download from the App Store, the buying and installing steps can be one and the same and so there is no real point in buying so that one has it ready for when one thinks the time is opportune.  On this occasion, only my MacBook is a candidate for being updated as the iMac is one of the first Intel based iMac machines and so only has a Core Duo processor rather than Core 2 Duo.

I haven’t even thought of updating the MacBook OS yet.  I know that I will need to do the following:

  • check software for compatibility
  • clean up the machine as there is precious free space on the hard drive currently
  • consider whether running different OS on my iMac and MacBook will be too disruptive.

My impression from reviews is that it is definitely an advantage to have a laptop with one of the modern trackpads that can do all the gestures (or to buy a Magic Trackpad for a desktop Mac).  Needless to say, my MacBook is sufficiently old that I’m not going to be able to use many gestures.

Lion clearly marks a major change in philosophy for the operating system in many ways.  The introduction of versioning, interaction with more gestures, and the “consumerisation” of the computer are an acceleration in the direction that Apple now seems to be moving.  It remains to be seen, how many Apple users slip away in this transition.  There is also the problem that some of the new features may not be fully baked yet and so prove a little fragile.  This article by TedLandau in the Mac Observer is a good summary of some of problems facing early adopters.

It would be nice to play with Lion, but I suspect that I will leave it a couple more months (at least until there are one or two “point” releases) and possibly until I need to replace on of my machines.


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