OS X Lion - First Looks

I downloaded Lion, Apple's latest upgrade to Mac OS X yesterday afternoon.  I used my work connection to do so and completed the download in about 20 minutes.  When finished, I had a new application installed named "Install Mac OS X Lion" in my /Applications folder.  I burned it to a DVD and scurried home to install the upgrade on my 27" I7 iMac.

What follows are some first impressions about the new operating system.  This is just the kinks and quirks that I've discovered.  If you want a painfully in-depth review, I suggest the Ars-Technica review.  All 20 pages worth.

I was somewhat worried about the install as I'd heard, through co-workers, that there were problems with the install and that your system had to absolutely be up-to-date with the latest software upgrades in order for the installation to be seamless.  So, I ensured that, before installing, I hit software-update off the main menu and installed everything Apple recommended that I install.

That took about a half-hour because there were a lot of 10.8 updates (iTunes, iWhatever) to install.  When that finished, I copied over the "Install Mac OS X Lion" folder from the DVD into my Applications folder and double-clicked.

It took about three minutes for the installation prelims to sort themselves out.  Then my machine re-started itself and began the install in earnest.  It informed me that I had about 30 minutes to go.  Watching the progress bar tick across isn't all that absorbing, and Sarah had a chicken wings cooking, so I left the upgrade to it's own fate and left to go scarf a couple pounds of her awesome chicken wings.

When I returned, the computer had finished the install and was displaying the Lion login screen waiting for me to sign-in.  I did so, and was presented with the new welcome dialog box and the new-ish desktop.  So far, so good....and, uh-oh.  Up popped a dialog box telling me that Lion had detected incompatible software on my system and had removed said software to a folder called "Incompatible Software" on my install drive.

I had two programs in this folder - one I don't use anymore, can't remember what it was called, and really didn't care.  The other was visor, my terminal program hider which I did, very much, care about.  I checked the author's website and, sure enough, a replacement program was already available for download and installation.

I didn't have a lot of time to play with the new OS, but this is what I learned in the hour or so that I did have.

-- I crashed terminal once, after SSH'ing into a remote server.  The crash report popped and I sent it off to Apple.  I relogged into the remote server and it's not crashed since.

-- Safari failed to display the Netflix plug-in necessary to display/run/show movies.  Chrome worked without issue.

-- The new email program is really cool.  A lot like the iOS mail program in terms of the UX.

-- I have a dual-boot set-up with Windows 7 running off another partition on the same drive.  After installing Lion, I checked and tested and the partition was accessible and stable.  (As stable as Win7 can be at any rate.)  The only difference I noted was that, before since Win 7 was the last OS installed, it booted by default; I had to hold-down the option key to boot into Mac.  Now, Lion boots by default and I hold down the option key to select the Win 7 bootable partition.

-- I have a recovery partition now in addition to the Win 7 and Lion partitions...I had read about this in the Ar review so no surprise.  It's nice to see that I have this parachute though in case things really head south.

-- Not sure if all my mac-ports software will still function.  I do some development at home and I know that whenever you change OS versions, you have to pretty much R&R ports which is a real pain in the patoot.  I'll need to test this later today when I get home...

-- The application formerly known as spaces is very new, interesting, and will take some getting used to.  Overall, I prefer the new UX.

Everything at this stage is superficial as I've not checked CPU burn or memory usage.  Does it feel faster?  Ah, meh.  I've not run any serious apps under it so I can't say at this point.  As I explore more, I'll share what I discover...

[Edit: July 22, 2011]

Mac Ports is definitely broken.  It requires a re-install of Xcode which is, in itself, a total pain in the ass apparently to download and install.  I've been trying now for over a day to get Apple to push this application down to me and it's only been in the last hour that I've started to see some bits and bytes squick down the line to me.  You can only install this app from the AppStore, unfortunately.

(And, while I'm thinking of it -- why the hell do I have to keep plugging in my AppStore password every single goddamn time I access the store?  Wasn't there a reason you had me store this information?  (System Preferences -> MobileMe?)  FFS, Apple, one of the reasons why the Android Market is so much better than the iPhone AppStore is that I'm not forced to enter my password each and every time I want to do something.)

Anyway, when I tried to update ports, I got errors.  So I checked-out the source and went to build from source and was informed that I don't have a worthy C-compiler installed.  You *have* to download the XCode package for Lion and install that first.

Also, I cannot recover my Lion install from sleep mode.  Key presses, power-button flicks, mouse shaking, nothing seems to work other than a hard re-boot.  I called Apple Support and scheduled a call -- which was incredibly unsuccessful.  I was advised to try the following:

-- turn off your computer and remove the power cord for 15 seconds.  Me:  Why?  How is this different from shutting off all power to the computer during a reboot?  Them:  Well, it's different if there's no power to the computer.  Me:  Oh.  So, when I shut off the computer by holding down the power button for 5-seconds, and it goes black, it really continues to run?  Them:  Uh, no.  It's, ah, just better to not have power.

-- boot from the restore partition and run the equivalent of fixperms (reset all file/directory file permissions on the filesystem)  Me:  You're saying that Lion messed up my permissions during installation?  It was working, I installed Lion, it's not working, and you're telling me file permissions are keeping my computer from waking from sleep?  Them:  Uh, no - this is just what it says on the support forums.  (Thank you, Support Forums, for not suggesting that immersing my computer in water is also a solution.)

-- Reset the pROMS by booting holding down option-R until it beeps twice. Me:  Are you serious? How about you just acknowledge this as a hardware-interrupt driven software failure and tell me you'll file the bug and send me on my way?  Them:  Uh, can you send in your system report, please?

Jeez.  What a waste of time that was...