OS X Lion: Apple’s Vista moment

You know when you used to have no choice but to use Windows XP, either because you couldn’t afford a Mac or you had to use a PC at work? Well, you must remember, then, how annoying it was to have the same bugs and weird glitches happen over and over again; those endless days and nights trying to work on something important when, no matter how many fingers you crossed and cracks in the pavement you avoided, you knew once error message X appeared, crash Y and endless pop-up Z would inevitably follow and there was nothing you or anyone else could do to avoid the inevitable restart / reinstall / dance on one leg chanting, “I’m a little teapot short and stout”.

No amount of closing that self-opening “Something has gone horribly wrong” error box would save all that work you’re still able to look at, but not save. At first you threw tantrums and screamed expletives at the top of your voice, about how Bill Gates was going to “pay for this”, but eventually you just resigned yourself to the fact that it was happening and decided life’s too short to care. “One day”, you said to yourself, “I will own a Mac and all of this will be in the past”.

At one point, when Windows Vista was announced, you hoped beyond hope that all, or at least most of these nightmares would end. But that day came and went with no change. Sure, Vista wore a different perfume to cover the stench and yes, the ‘aero’ interface wasn’t so bad after all. But, underneath it all, was the same pustulating tripe that had ruined your life for the past millennia and, to make it worse, you knew for a fact no-one at Microsoft lost any sleep over it. “This wouldn’t happen if I owned a Mac”, you said. “Just you wait, Steve Ballmer, me and my mate Steve Jobs will show you good and proper, one day… one day!”

And then, it arrived. You magic’d that pay rise at work into Cupertino’s finest export quicker than you could say, “I need it for work” to your wife and “I don’t play games anyway” to your kids. “It’s here!”, you exclaimed. “I can’t believe an actual Apple Mac is in my house and it’s all MINE!!” You unboxed it like a kid at Christmas, pealing back each layer of the delicious packaging; smelling the inside of the box like a wine expert on a major four week bender around the French vineyards.

But wait! What’s this? Four years have passed in the blink of an eye! “Ohh! A new Mac Operating System, OS X Lion is coming out! Yummy, I’ll have me some of that!” you gushed!

Well, how stupid do you feel now? You drank the Kool-Aid and, for a while it refreshed the parts other sugar water can’t reach. But then, like realising in the middle of a stage hypnotist’s comedy act, that while you thought you were eating an Apple, you were really munching an onion, this happened:

Control + Scroll screen zooming randomly turns itself off.

Even basic Spotlight Searches in a window (Command + Shift + F) crash Finder.

Mail crashes all the time.

Safari has been replaced by a pile of turds. When it isn’t refreshing inactive tabs from the network instead of cache, so you lose everything you’re uploading, it’s secretly closing windows for no rhyme or reason when you’re not looking.

iTunes boot time is measured in aeons.

The “Something has crashed, send a report to Apple” window might as well be your Desktop Picture.

Finder periodically decides you don’t need to see all your windows any more.

The list of applications that no longer work, if printed out, would stretch from here to the moon.

Launchpad is pointless. Utterly and completely pointless.

Opening Mission Control is like walking through molasses with cream cheese in your socks. It doesn’t support a second display and the graphics layer tears through the UI like a hammer through porridge.

Fullscreen apps have a habit of just vanishing. They’re running, but they’re not showing.

Video playback in iTunes defaults to fullscreen but the playback controls go missing if you switch to another app without coming out of fullscreen first. Handy.

Command + Control + D pop-over dictionary takes a week to load and mysteriously insists on spinning up all your USB hard drives—as does unmounting all your USB hard drives.

Garage Band now hates you. So does Steam. And Pages. And Photoshop. And Automator. And Call of Duty. And Tweetdeck. Oh and you know how half the reason you put your Mac in your spare room was so you could use FrontRow as a media centre? Yeah, that’s gone now. You can’t do that any more. Sorry. You have to buy an Apple TV.

Question: Most of us would agree, without sounding sycophantic, that the MacCast is one of the premier Mac podcast anywhere on-line, yes? So, in the last, say, two years, how many Mac users who comment here, e-mail Adam and otherwise engage in the extended Apple community on a regular basis, have you heard say something like, “I hope Apple subtly change all the things that are already perfectly fine, before they fix all the things that have been broken since OS X Tiger”?

By way of example: Drag and drop a selection of JPEG files you want to upload to your image hosting service of choice, from the Finder into the Open box in Safari. If the wind is blowing from the North and it’s the second Tuesday of the month, the destination path will change to the location you’re dragging the files from and the selection you want to upload will be highlighted, so all you have to do is click Send and await for the transfer to complete. But, if it’s half past 4 and your second cousin twice removed is called Jennifer, they spring back into Finder and Safari looks at you like, “Pfft, since when have I been able to do that?” So you try again. Same thing. You try a third time. “Oh!”, says Safari. “THAT kind of drag and drop! I thought you were losing your mind, you silly user! Sure, I’ll do that for you!”

It’s just a litany of silly little frustrations, which have always been there, but are now ten times worse. The most frustrating part being, someone, somewhere at the world’s largest computer maker; the richest company in America, if not the world, has signed off on each and every one of these things as if they’re ready for prime time. Senior department heads and top management—Jobs, Ive and Schiller included—the very people who RUN the company with more cash in the bank than the US government—has looked at each of these pointless tweaks and decided they’re good to go!

It beggars belief. They should be paying us to beta test this for them, but because they were so afraid of having to delay it, because it just isn’t ready, we’re expected to tow the party line, nod politely and ramble on about having a slightly different User Interface, as if that somehow makes up for the fact iPhoto still sucks.

I mean, why on earth do I still have to open a music player to sync photos to my phone? And why couldn’t they have done something about that, before they changed the way TextEdit Finds and Replaces text, so it’s now harder to use than it was before?

Goofy scrolling, by default? Really? Let’s put it like this. How many Windows users, with their sloping brows and their smug determination never to switch to Mac, have walked into an Apple retail store, in the last month, idled up to a spare machine and had all their preconceptions about the Mac being esoteric and “weird” confirmed in ONE touch of the upside down mouse?

Why do I now have to click three times to autofill my information on a form in Safari, when before I clicked once?

Why can’t I Command + Shift + L any highlighted text to search for it on Google anymore? Which “genius” thought turning that feature off was a wise move? Yes, I know I can redefine my own shortcut key in System Preferences. No, I don’t think that makes it OK. What does my Dad do when that no longer works? I tell you what he does, he rings me and says, “That bloody Mac you told us to buy keeps going funny! It won’t search Yoogle anymore!”

Simply put, who, at Apple, in the full knowledge of their line manager, went into the source code for Finder and thought, “You know, I really should spend this month figuring out why Finder has been crashing every time you create more than 50 shortcut files at once, ever since OS X Panther, but I think what I’ll do instead is disable the shortcut key that turns the volume up and down by single units instead of ten at a time.”

How is turning features OFF an ‘upgrade’? In what reality is OS X Lion worthy of the Apple name? IT’S A DOWNGRADE! Apple have become the thing they fear the most. They are the new Microsoft and Lion is their Vista. There, I said it.

Oh, sure, you’ll come back at me with some pithy retort about Versions and Autosave and how “awesome” it is to swipe your fingers across a £60-a-pop mouse. But the fact remains, they’ve tinkered with things that weren’t broken and ignored or made worse things that have needed fixing for nearly 10 years. You know it. I know it. We all know it. I think it’s about time we started staying as much out-loud and force Apple to put this thing right as soon as possible.

Since writing this article OS X Lion 10.7.1 has been released and it does address some of the stability issues with Safari and Mail. I also note that Boxee for Mac is a vast improvement on FrontRow and works well with the Apple Remote Control. I’d also like to thank whoever submitted this to Hacker News, but for the record I do not carry Google ads on this blog.


89 comments on “OS X Lion: Apple’s Vista moment

  1. I believe the problem lies with the same base design flaw that Microsoft has with Windows (any flavor). Specifically giving a userspace application (for Windows it is Internet Explorer (IE); for Mac it is Finder) the ability to manipulate kernel space data. IMO, that is broken as designed and can NEVER be fixed.

    I do recall reading something back before Windows 7 and Windows 7 reVisited (Vista) that said that for Microsoft to fix Windows they would have to re-design and re-implement it from zero, all at a cost of $10-billion (with a B, U$D), and 10 years using over 1000 engineers while making tens of thousands of applications not compatible with the replacement. — Is this true? Maybe. Maybe NOT. I can imagine it so.

    Will Apple fix OS/X? Dunno. Maybe. Maybe NOT. I don’t use a Mac. I’m a Linux user. Have been since 1999 or so.

  2. Wait, you forgot about those ugly grey scrollbars that are too narrow to drag. I’m a Chrome user. When you Command-F for local search on the page, the scroll bar used to show you the locations on the page where your phrase was found. Not with these new Lion scroll areas.

    Awful. Pure Awful

  3. For whatever it’s worth, “Command + Shift + L any highlighted text to search for it on Google” — a feature I didn’t know existed before — works fine for me in Lion.

    I can’t complain too much about the uselessness of Launchpad because it doesn’t hurt me at all. I just don’t use it. I do, however, use and much prefer Mission Control to the old Expose. It’s great on my 4-year-old Mac Pro, but on my 4-year-old Macbook Pro the animation is jerky.

    The biggest niggle for me is that launching a lightweight app like Preview takes a good 6 or 7 seconds, when it used to open pretty much instantly.

  4. Add to the list Lion’s Address Book abomination. I’ve tried….I really have but it’s just horrendous compared to the previous version.

    Missing finder windows is a personal favourite. Right click on the finder icon in the dock and assign to “all windows” to make them magically appear appear again…..but yeah….really? Apple can do much much better than this poor effort at an upgrade.

  5. Lion works fine for me. The 3 crash screens I had all came from VLC, so it just may be VLC’s problem. And for the rest…I love the new scrolling, if you use a trackpad it feels just like an iOS device.
    And iTunes has become considerably faster on my Mac.

  6. This is really weird. I’m having a unibody MacBook late 2008 and no problems with Lion at all. No significant crashes, no massive performance lacks as you reported. When such a thing happens, it’s rather that some apps are not fully supporting Lion or the like. Even Mission Control works fine here with 2 displays. Launchpad? Yeah, I use Alfred.app for that. I just don’t use it… and when I do, I simply browse launchpad to see what apps I have on my Mac.

    I use my Mac a lot (9-12hrs a day) I’m quite happy with Lion.

  7. It’s strange to me that an assortment of undocumented features from 10.6 not working in 10.7 makes 10.7 Vista. Vista was demonstrably awful at a number of fundamental things that had begun to work in xp; think wireless. Aside from the fullscreen on two displays problem I haven’t noticed any of the problems anyone has mentioned in lion.

  8. There’s so much garbage and half-truths in your “article” its hard to know where to start. I don’t expect the average user to know how to figure out a few things about a new OS, but if you’re going to write an article criticizing something, you should know what you’re talking about:

    – Google selected text is a system wide service. If its not working for you, its turned off or the keyboard shortcut got changed. It’s annoying that sometimes upgrading an OS can screw with these settings, but its not a “bug”, its not in line with Vista. To fix it just go to your System Prefs, click the Keyboard icon, click the Keyboard Shortcuts tab, select “Services”, find “Search With Google” and make sure the box is checked next to it and Shift-Cmd-L is noted as the keyboard shortcut

    – “I mean, why on earth do I still have to open a music player to sync photos to my phone?” has nothing at all to do with Lion or OS X. It’s a fair criticism of iTunes. But, while Apple makes both iTunes and OS X, and iTunes runs on OS X (but also Windows), you’re talking about iTunes in an article criticizing OS X. Again I don’t expect the average user to know the difference. But you should. This also applies to “iTunes boot time is measured in aeons.” Although I find iTunes is much faster in Lion (its 64-bit now).

    -“Launchpad is pointless. Utterly and completely pointless.” Ok. So you don’t like an application, Launchpad, that is bundled with OS X. that’s like saying Windows 7 sucks because Windows Media Player is pointless.

    I’d also say that the majority of your criticism is about aspects of OS X, and other Apple apps (like GarageBand), that you can’t really get on other OSes. Clearly you appreciate GarageBand, Spotlight folder searches, the Dictionary pop-up, screen zooming and you’re frustrated because they either work different on Lion or have some bugs 6 weeks out from the OS getting released. Comparing OS X to Vista is unfair because Vista didn’t have any of these features you clearly like. Apple will iron out what bugs are left in the next month or so (same pattern as the last few major releases). Get used to what’s new and different, like the reversed scrolling, and you’ll come to appreciate it.

    Also, take some time to know what you’re talking about before writing so much FUD.

  9. You could also mention how Digital Color Picker is completely broken, as it no longer gives you hex values, and can no longer lock with a single keyboard shortcut.

    And, most frustrating of all, they lost the Cmd+Shift + Vol Up/Down shortcut from previous OS Xs. That allowed you to change volume in smaller increments than a full block. A godsend with headphones.

  10. I don’t understand what you’re talking about at all. I’ve used Lion since the day it came out, but haven’t experienced any of the problems you’re describing. Sure, the new features are a bit pointless, but it all works fine.

  11. @Thom Craver

    You should update Chrome, I guess. Chrome and Lion here, and Cmd-F marks all the locations. Also, the clickable area of Lion’s scrollbars are exactly the same size of Snow Leopard’s. Exactly. Cause you can also click on the white area around the gray bar. So yeah, they seem smaller, but the are not “too narrow to drag”.

  12. sorry to say, but 80% of this article is simply not based on facts. there are no more crashes than before, especially mail didn’t crash a single time for me, steam got an update after lion was released and is working flawlessly here. i found that almost every feature you’re missing is disabled after upgrade but can be reenabled by one click with the mouse. and sorry, comparing vista (and its wide problems with hardware/software) with lion either shows you don’t know what you are talking about, or you are doing it on purpose. you are right on launchpad, it’s uselrss for me and you, but that doesn’t mean this is fact for everyone, i for an example never really used dashboard too

  13. Lion works great for me. I run dual monitors, 4 spaces and usually have 10-12 apps open. I’m a developer. Sorry you’re having issues.

  14. Never had a problem with Lion so far.
    Sorry if you had bad luck with yours.
    Try to make a clean install of Lion, without installing it on top of SL.

  15. “Well, you must remember, then, how annoying it was to have the same bugs and weird glitches happen over and over again;”
    Windows XP unstable ? oh please, maybe after the release, later it was one of the most stables os’es i’ve ever used. It would run for months and ony time you’d need to reboot was when updating system. I feel your problems lie between the chair and the keyboard.. it’s biggest flaw of all operating systems, and all technologies.. unfortunately, ai isn’t atm at the level where it would be able to think for you, so i guess you should put more effort into understanding stuff you’re doing.

    Expecting vista to be more stable ? No one expected it before it even launched.. most people didn’t even bother installing that crap. Unless you take your technical knowledge from commercials & brochures filled with marketing crap.

    As for saving the work, most of the applications for work usually have auto backup function, so even if system would crash your losses would be minimal, then again, you prolly didn’t bother looking for this sort of option.

    In the end it’s all about skills and understanding… i often heard how stable is linux.. unfortunately i never managed to keep it stable.. i don’t blame the os. I blame my skills.

    Beliving in apples perfection is the same as beliving a big guy in the clouds is watching you and is gonna send your ass to hell if you won’t listen to the priest.. It’s a friggin cult, don’t expect proper information from people who buy hardware for 5x price just because it’s popular. But then again, i belive you’re wrong here again, as you’ve mentioned, the system is new, and you should’ve expected bugs and glitches. It happens with all the software, all operating systems, all games. Sure some things have less bugs, others have more, what’s important is how and when they’ll be fixed.

  16. Haven’t seen many of these issues. And some things you said were removed, worked just fine for me. “Why can’t I Command + Shift + L any highlighted text to search for it on Google anymore?” I immediately tried that, and it opened up Google in a snap.

    I can’t say it’s more stable than Snow Leopard, but that’s pretty typical of early OS releases from Apple.

  17. I have no problems with Lion. Especially not the ones you mentioned. Safari, Mail don’t crash. iTunes is faster than before. All my old apps work fine under Lion.

    But I miss changing the sound in small increments. iTunes when in full screen is sometimes resized to an area where the bottom is free and as big as the dock.

    But instead of complaining report the bugs. Nevertheless it is true many smaller bugs are nerve wracking. And the first update did not help at all.

  18. I’ve upgraded two MacBook Pros to Lion, the first a late 2008 model, and have experienced none of the issues you complain about. One of those laptops is used heavily 8 hours a day at work and I’ve found applications load faster, full screen windows do not just disappear, and Finder behaves just fine. Scrollbars, while different, do not inhibit my workflow at all. iPhoto and iTunes are irrelevant to this discussion as they have nothing to do with an OS upgrade.

    So let’s see if I understand this correctly.

    1) Make a bunch of shit up and post an article about it.
    2) Watch your adsense revenue grow.
    3) …
    4) Profit.

    Nicely played sir.

  19. I had a crash with 10.7.0, but 10.7.1 supposedly fixed it. Are you running 10.7.1? Didn’t have any of the other problems altho the new mail isn’t like the old mail. Not sure it’s better.

  20. Brand new Macbook Air, after using Snow Leopard and Leopard for some time. Really like Lion, none of the problems descibed above have ever affected me. I think the author is what is usually called change averse.

  21. I got a Mac a month before Lion was launched. When Lion came out I got it, and i did not have any major problems, only one or two annoying bugs.

    And I really like the “reversed” scroll feels much more natural on my trackpad for me.

  22. I dont see any of the issues that you see dude…you probably have a bad hardware..Launchpad is useless for MacBuffs but good one for Mac beginners….I did see some battery performance degradation and couple of apps hung in 30 days…beyond that the goodies that comes with lion are worth it…

  23. I think you might want to try a clean install, then reinstall your software packages one at a time. I haven’t had a single crash with mail, and I run it with 8 mail accounts. I haven’t experienced any of what you relate, except for being pissed off about the absence of Front Row.

  24. I’ve never experienced any issue on my main computer or any of the other 10+ macs we have running. I don’t mind anecdotal/experiential writing, but when it is extrapolated to “this applies to all versions of Lion” then you start to look like a crackpot.

  25. Try seraching for items in a long drop down list without a touchpad. There is no such thing as incremental scroll in Lion now (as they’ve taken away the arrows on the scrollbars).

    This OS really is surprisingly hard to use — not at all what I would expect from a company that has always put UI first. My fear is that Snow Leopard’s UI was practically flawless, so now they’ve decided to tinker for the sake of change.

  26. On the plus side of losing FrontRow, I did discover Boxee, which is simply amazing. It launches from the Menu key on the old Apple Remote Control and save for a few bugs here and there runs like a dream. I’ve literally stopped using iTunes for the vast majority of my Video Podcasts.

  27. Wow, your OS X (and Windows) installs sound totally f’ed up. I suggest enrolling in a ‘how to use computers’ from your local learning annex.

  28. Ever consider that maybe your installation or something else is wrong with your machine? Oddly, I’m unable to reproduce ANY of the bugs you claim are ruining your experience (ignoring the infantile wailing about added features that no one is forcing you to use) on any of the FOUR Macs I have running Lion already.

    I’m taking Geekosystem out of my feed for linking this turd of an article.

  29. Here is the deal.

    It is a great OS on the latest hardware. It is a great OS on a clean install.

    I have been playing with it since it has been in development.

    As far as the UI changes. You have to embrace change and give it time.

    In my limited experience I have learned that it is a BAD idea to upgrade from 10.6 as 10.7 leaves behind most legacy apps. The upgrade process does dot clean up your mess for you.

    Clean install FTW.

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  31. I would pay for the option to go back to snow leopard where everything worked and made sense. Apple should offer a downgrade path.

  32. It is hard to believe you’ve ever used Lion. The only thing in this entire article that I can agree with is that Launchpad is pointless, although I know quite a few people who like it.

    I use mission control with my two monitors all the time. It is not slow, there is no graphics issue, and both monitors are supported. I have not had the Finder crash ever, nor Mail. The only issue I have had with Lion is that sometimes it seems to get stuck during a Fast User Switch.

    Dragging files to open dialogs works just fine, as do Garage Band and Pages. I don’t use flash or Adobe AIR (Tweetdeck) so I can’t comment on those, but everything else in this writeup doesn’t match my 5 year old machine running Lion *at all*. Volume controls work properly, keyboard shortcuts work properly, everything I used my machine for under 10.6 works, and all the nifty new features in 10.7 work as well. Just like even OS X version since 10.1 it is noticeably better and faster than the previous one.

  33. I don’t remember any of those “bugs” you mentioned for XP. I’m not sure what you “experienced,” other than perhaps tales from someone else who never actually used it before, either, and just went with what you thought your audience would swallow. As for Vista, I used it for several years, and never had any trouble with it other than I felt it was slow. It took drivers for 10+ year old hardware like a champ, including an old SCSI card and TV card.

    I mean, unless you bought your computer at Office Depot on clearance and there was evidence it had been in a flood… yeah, you’re pretty much blowing smoke. Funny how you’re getting called on the same thing for the Apple side of things.

  34. No kernel panics here. No mail crashes here. No spotlight crashes here. In fact, none of the issues you’re saying are problematic have been an issue for me on any of the three computers I own that run LION. That being said, like the first iteration of Leopard, there are issues, but I would bet they vary user to user, based on the types of extensions, and software they may have installed from the previous OS.

    None of this surprises me. No OS can anticipate the myriad system configurations and preferences out there in the “real world.”

  35. This article may have been written by someone who has never actually used OS X Lion, or maybe even a Mac.

    Here are some true facts:

    – No 10.x.0 version of Mac OS X has ever been free of bugs, but Lion 10.7.0 has less bugs than many previous first versions.

    – Upgrading an existing version of Mac OS X to a completely new version has ALWAYS been problematic. The safest and most bug-free method to upgrade (for example Snow Leopard to Lion) is to do a clean install. Most of the people complaining have obviously tried to do a “dirty” upgrade.

    – The bugs listed are not experienced by everyone, nor are all of the bugs listed present on the Macs of those that are having problems. This is a good indication that there were bad installs… not a bad operating system.

    My own experience is that I did a “dirty” install. Even though I repaired permissions and verified/fixed the directory structure before upgrading, I did have one bug. Mail would sometimes not send or receive email on one account. This problem was easily fixed by resetting the account preferences.

    Overall, I am very happy with Lion. Apple did an excellent job on this version.

    Regarding comparing Lion to Vista… someone is out of their mind (or perhaps a Windows fanboy).

  36. Lion is working fine here, and on most Macs where it is installed. It appears you know nothing about basic computer maintenance and troubleshooting. You probably installed Lion on top of a crumbling system filled with junk, and expected a miracle. If Lion was anything like you are saying, don’t you think we’d be hearing about it all over the web? Why don’t you learn how to manage a Mac instead of blaming Apple for your incompetence?

  37. @ Dreamtiger: You’re chewing more than you’ve bitten off. I’ve been using Mac since 1995. As well as building several recording studios I also designed a commercial radio station entirely around the Mac. I’ve done more business with Apple, over the years, than you’ve had hot dinners. I know how they work. This is nothing new for them. If you Google the above mentioned bugs you will find they are affecting a wide range of users. Having said that, and as I’ve noted above, the latest update does address some of the stability issues with Mail and Safari and I’m sure future updates will fix other bugs too.

  38. This isn’t the first time. Does anyone remember the transition from Classic Mac OS to OS X? Lots of gratuitous eye candy, but many features were dropped and behaviors changed for no apparent reason. Apple eventually fixed the worst of it, as I’m sure they will do again. But it’s too bad that they keep putting us through this.

    Nevertheless, for all its faults still I’d rather be using a Mac (even with Lion) than Windows of any flavor.

  39. Four macs and none of the problems u describe.
    One problem I did have (wifi connections dropping on an old MacBook 4,1) was solved by a clean install—nuke and pave HDD/SSD first and then see what that fixes.

  40. Gave a Macbook Air with Lion to a Colleague with not much expertise in Computers and he finds – ” it hums like a young thoroughbred horse”. He used to have Snow Leopard on another Mac earlier. He has no problem with scrolling – find it much more natural and the only program that consistently crashes for him is Office 2008.

    Looks like you are a power user and tricked out your system with a lot of expectations. However, the Mac is made for the consumer – mostly – consider the iOS – remember almost 90% of the geeks said touchscreen computing would never work. They bitched about iOS and predicted that it would be abandoned.

    Lion is a new beginning for the Mac – it leads the convergence towards a simpler computer system. As a developer, you better get with the program.

  41. I’ve been running Lion on a MacBookPro3,1 since late July. My only complaint is the Safari page redraw. I’ve not had pages/tabs disappear or any of the other problems you’ve listed. iTunes, Photoshop/InDesign/Illustrator CS5, etc. open and run quickly, with no problems.

    I’ve been using Macs since around 1987, so I’ve gone through quite a number of system updates (hardware and software) over the years. Lion has been one of the easiest — after I got used to the new reverse scrolling.

  42. No problems here, smooth upgrade, works as advertised. But I still prefer Space to Mission Control espacially for multiscreen setup…

  43. The one recurring theme from the Lion praise responses I note are “yea, lot’s of changes to get used to, it has problems, what 1st iteration out the gate doesn’t, It’ll get fixed – but it’s great!

  44. Well Jim, I installed Lion on my “late 2008” macbook (purchased early 2009).
    It was more slow than unstable. And battery life was a nightmare.
    Full screens apps were buggy as well: for ex. mail: was impossible to read current mail while typing a new one.

    I formated my machine and got back to SL. So much faster. And stable. And great battery life.

    I’ve never have been so disappointed of an OS/X release.

  45. Lion is a mess. Still with 10.7.1 and all updates that exist. I have had kernel panics so many a day I can’t count them all.

    Only some things that made me hate my machine :

    iPhoto 11 ( with Lion updates ! ) crashes when exporting pictures after you edited them in iphoto.
    having Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 ( sold via lions AppStore ! ) set as external Editor in iphoto, crashes iphoto.
    Safari eats memory as if it was sugarcandy and tends to crash on Java applets loaded ( Java installed as Softwarepdate )
    The file system starts to swap badly even with physical memory available.The harddisk is continuosly reading/writing.
    Fullscreen apps forget their “come back” button in the menubar, only the Escape button saves you.
    Pages and Numbers crash, even with their updates applies that Apple said would make them Lion compatible,
    The Graphics have display issues and freeze in games.
    Quicktime Player X’ UI controls in Lion will go crazy if you try to trim a MOV/MP4 clip, saving impossible.
    Turning of the resume feature in the Shut down dialog has no effects sporadically.
    Mission Control shows phantom finder windows that are just not opened anywhere.
    Mail randomly forgets Pop3 and SMTP passwords.

    Now the common answer to all these problems over at the AppleSupport Forum is : “Your Ram is bad”, “Your HDD is full”, your PRAM /PMU / NVRAM / blahblah needs to be reset” ..

    I tell you what : ALL of these “hardware related” problems INSTANTLY go away when I boot into SnowLeopard 10.6.8.

    Clear as Blue Sky : Lion is completely defective and misconstructed. This OS could be a beta or a “public field test”, but it does not deserve Apple’s official approval to be “OSX next”. The fact that they are selling this and preload it onto new machines without the option to downgrade to the last working OS X, is just shame- and speechless.

    OSX Vista ? No. Vista was not THAT bad as this.

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  47. @Vino

    “Lion is a new beginning for the Mac – it leads the convergence towards a simpler computer system. As a developer, you better get with the program.”

    Translation: “I use my expensive Mac for playing flash games and viewing porn and I could care less about professionals who are affected by this abomination of an operating system called Lion”

  48. You forgot to mention autocorrect, which changes what you’re typing and lets you think the applications are to blame for ignoring your preferences.

  49. I know the original post is old, but I just had to pop in and concur. After a few months of Lion, installed on 4 machines, it has proven to be the most unstable of releases I can remember. So frustrating! I used to pride myself in seeing that my Mac had not been restarted in 14 or more days…humming along beautifully. With Lion, I have a hard crash or forced restart at least once a day. Have had this ever since day 1 with Lion. Sad.

  50. four hours into Garageband, 4 crashes. I was so happy when I left windows for mac because it would be stable.

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  52. For Pete’s sake, the author talked about HIS experience with Lion and not YOURS! And read all this thread, 90% agree.
    So if you’re one of those who had a flawless encounter with it, well knock on wood, be happy and STOP CALLING HIM A LIAR saying that he’s “undocumented”, not based on facts and whatnot! What he experienced were “facts” for HIM.

    And I almost forgot, take a look at Apple’s website to check what’s hot in the top sellers for software: Lion is nowhere to be seen and Snow Leopard shines in all its glory like a star on a Christmas tree! So Jim Gardner is probably not so full of it after all…

    Not all Apple admirers (me included) are fanboys BTW. So maybe it’s time you take the “red pill” instead of the blue one and admit the reality.

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  55. Totally feel the same way (and I love Apple products from my Apple II I got in 1978)… I love many folks that say “Oh, it works totally 100% great for me”… had some folks like that and then saw their machine crap out and their argument is “Oh, that must have been some other company’s software that caused that… since OS X is 100% stable”…

    So yeah if you’re on that Apple religion and OS X reliability is your “faith” then any crash isn’t the cause of Apple/OS X… kind of like when things go right it’s God, when things go wrong it’s *your* lack of faith.

  56. Loved your article…and couldn’t agree more…MAC spends more time choosing new colours than test their pathetic betas….I am tired of being a beta tester…and being paid….
    For decades I have love the Mac and its intuitiveness. It has been my moneymaker. But I find now that my mighty tool has been downgraded to a toy.
    I ain’t 13 and I hate being treated like one.


  57. I agree I “upgraded” to lion and it didn’t allow any of my applications to open and it was very slow. I went back to sl and I lost everything

  58. The only thing bad in Lion is Apple’s discontinued support for Front Row.

    Front Row was one of my favorite programs on my Mac, it made it easy to just chill in your bed on weekends and browse movies, music, etc… Now I use AppleTV for essentially the same thing, but many people my not want to buy an AppleTV.

    Most of your complaints I never noticed, my Mail has never crashed, and I use multiple email accounts. Launchpad, while not a traditional program list menu is useful for kids and possible senior citizens to find a program. You need to realize that not only super computer literate people buy computers, they need to be designed with everyone in mind… you can always remove launchpad and just drag Applications folder to the Dock and set to display as list… this is just like Windows start menu with programs.

    Most of the other issues you mention just take some time to adapt to, once you do however it makes using a Mac even easier.

  59. I so wish I’d read this before installing Lion, I’m never an early adopter of new OS, but this time with the future changes to .mac and me.com accounts we were kinda pushed into it, but I wish now I had changed my email and not my computer.

  60. I have an iMac since many years. A 2008 model Core 2 Duo (2.4GHz) with 4G RAM, Radeon GPU. Used Leopard, then Snow Leopard with no problem, those ran flawlessly on my (nowadays old but well respected) iMac. Then upgraded to Lion and experienced a sluggish OS with “zero” graphics performance, tearing “mission control” and other graphical “side effects”, deadly slow application start, completely stupid usage of memory. In addition the new “full screen” mode concept is simply a shame that most of “hardcore” Mac users complain against. Seen endlessly long lists about similar complaints on many forums.

    So I said it’s time to upgrade… Latest 15″ Macbook Pro, i5 CPU, Radeon GPU, 8G RAM, etc. Looks pretty cool even if not the “highest end” config. Hey, what’s goin’ on? All the “effects” are almost the same. “Tearing” graphics, sluggish performance. (Slightly better, but still so far from that I expect from a brand new hardware “paired” with its exclusively designed OS.)

    And finally another interesting experience: installed MS Windows 7 with Bootcamp and…. WOW! I never seen Windows running so smoothly even on my very powerful “PC” laptop. So the conclusion is obvious for me. If the OS manufacturer is unable to gain affordable quality and performance on its “own hardware”, then something must be seriously wrong. (Not even talking about the significantly better performance of the “3rd party”…) I think it’s time for Apple to learn about the negative effects of the nowadays fashionable “version rush”.

    As a final conclusion I “downgraded” my old iMac to Snow Leopard (system erase and re-install) and now everything works perfectly.

  61. Well they finaly created a catch 22 for themselves (Apple). Where is Steve ?? They could have had a potential winner if they just stuck with a complete integrated OS on a CD – but no – they have broken the only way back to a clean OS re-install.

    You will remember the emotions of Vista and many late hours when you have lost the “Recovery track HD” and cant use firewall 2 and cant reload a new lion os. I am bringing my system back to the apple store for a new OS reload of Snow Leopard or a Lion OS with an intact recovery HD so I can at least get my $29.00 worth for the upgrade. Other than that – they also destroyed Airports guest network with thelatest “Lion compatable” update, and functionality under Lion. Too many other steps back into the Vista ages to list.

    Still up trying to get a full version of Lion to reload (error, no recovery HD)

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  63. Thanks for another magnificent article. The place
    else could anybody get that type of information in such a perfect way
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  64. Great article!…

    I hate all the tinkering, apparently for the sake of tinkering…….!
    What idiot thought it was a good idea to leave the default launch options, in textedit, like that. When I launch textedit, I want a blank text document IMMEDIATELY. And I don’t give TS about iCloud in a text editor!

    AND WHY THE HELL can I not choose dialogue box options with the keyboard, like I could with every OS since the moon was created!….!!!!!!!!!!!!????!!!!!!

    It’s almost like there’s some kind of socialist collective design rota where the next guy in the hot seat gets to spray paint all over the last good/tasteful idea because it’s his turn.

    Is this what happens…. was that THE peak, back in Snow Leopard?…

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  66. 3 years later and im still on snow leopard! but mavericks does actually look good. i just wish we still had the option for spaces and not this gash affair, mission control. MC is safely apples biggest fuck up to date.

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