Mac OS X Lion has been released and can be downloaded and installed on existing Snow Leopard machines. I have a Mac laptop for communication, travel, etc. and a Mac desktop which is my primary data reduction/analysis machine. I have chosen to upgrade my laptop immediately and test some of the software I use everyday before upgrading my workhorse desktop. Below, I will describe my installation experience and the software I have tested so far. I will periodically update the post and add comments over the next few weeks.
Why did I upgrade?
I chose to upgrade immediately to OS X Lion because there are several features that I want, most particularly iCloud syncing of Calendar, Contacts, etc. Also, I want to rapidly upgrade my workhorse desktops because Lion supports multi-user login with each user having separate graphical interfaces. There is a very thorough review over at Ars Technica, shorter summary at Engadget, and an installation guide at MacWorld. We had a preview post earlier with some of our favorite features as well.
I downloaded OS X Lion through the Mac App Store, which took 1.5 hours on a fast ethernet connection. The installation process itself took about 15 minutes and I had no immediate problems. Below are some of the differences that I noticed having used OS X Lion for less than 2 hours now:
- I previously had 4 Spaces (individual desktops), which disappeared after the upgrade. I re-created them by opening Mission Control (three-finger swipe-up) and scrolling to the upper right corner. A plus sign appears and you can add desktops.
- The first app I opened was Mail trying to connect to an IMAP account. It prompted me for my password continuously; but I keep getting an error message saying my password is invalid. This is an issue with Mac Mail and they are apparently aware of it (only receiving email is an issue, sending is fine). This is turning into a very big issue, so hopefully Apple will get on top of it quickly.
- The look and feel of Mail is different with a more iPad look-and-feel. You can go back to “Classic View” in the preferences.
- The second app I opened was Safari. Scrolling is different in Lion and scroll bars don’t appear by default. I immediately changed preferences to always show scroll bars (System Preferences -> General). I have left scrolling behavior at the defaults for now as it is more iOS like. I switched my scrolling behavior in less than 5 minutes without even thinking about it. But other people may want to adjust preferences to their liking.
- Old PPC applications that rely on Rosetta don’t work (e.g. MS Office 2004)
- Other applications that I have tried without issues:
- Address Book
- python, scisoft, matplotlib (already installed in Snow Leopard)
- Emacs (Carbon)
- Papers (version 2)
Feel free to comment below on your experience installing OS X Lion and particular apps you have or have not had trouble with after upgrading. So far, things are looking good and I am eagerly waiting iCloud syncing, which may be available in late September.