OSX Lion Upgrade (Part 1)

Upgrading from OSX Snow Leopard to OSX Lion has so far been somewhat of a disappointment, especially when compared to previous upgrades. Actually I’m glad it only cost $29, as any more and i would have probably returned it. The upgrade process itself was fairly smooth and seamless (apart from one complete hang/lockup requiring a reboot).  It’s the post upgrade, i.e.: adoption, that’s caused the most, or be they “slight” frustrations.

A quick summary of the upgrade.
1. Upgraded Macbook 5.1 (first uni-body aluminum macbook released) from 4GB to 8GB ram.
2. Installed new Crucial M4 256GB Solid State Drive.
3. Performed Clean Install of Lion (via USB stick) – takes about 1 hr (probably would have been less if it didn’t hang half way through)
4. Install everything and migrate from old 256DB SATA drive to new install.

Elements of Frustration.
1. Random Mouse Pointer Jumping / Acceleration.
It seems OSX Lion is plagued with these problems. Don’t underestimate how annoying these are.  Seriously, your Mouse Pointer will simply disappear and randomly jump around the screen real-estate.  If you have multiple screens you’ll have to look to find it!

So far there are no fixes.  If tried everything I’ve found.   (this is on a regular Mighty Mouse).

2. Performance is Poor.
Out of the box it’s remarkably slow. Well, it appears to be remarkably slow. While there are some beautiful GUI transitions between windows, applications loading, spaces etc, these chew a lot of CPU. Basically add one second at a minimum to all window opening/application loading interactions (on my machine anyway). Luckily there are some solutions.

Open a terminal and execute these commands:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool NO
defaults write com.apple.Mail DisableReplyAnimations -bool YES

These will disable the animations for windows (which use to be an option in Snow Leopard, but is now gone).

3. Auto Repeat (when holding down a key) Doesn’t Work.
Yup. Amazing, but here’s how to turn it on (again using a terminal)

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false

4. Eclipse Margin Warnings Aren’t Displayed
There is a defect in Eclipse (all versions I can tell) that prevents the compiler error/warnings some being displayed in the right-hand scroll-bar area. This is fixed by turning on the “hide scroll bar” option.

Apple > System Preferences > General > Show Scroll Bars: Select "When Scrolling" Option.

Any other option seems to break Eclipse. Trust me, without this fix you’ll be searching for compiler errors by scrolling through each document by hand (or having to click through the Errors Panel).

5. Adium crashes intermittently
Not a biggy, but Adium randomly seems to crash if you change networks.  Have you upgrade to the “beta” as all other versions are not supported on Lion.  Funny, seems like is a “beta” too :(

Bottom line: Unless you’re willing to invest some time ironing these things out, I avoid the upgrade. I’m certainly not upgrading my other Mac’s.  If I had time I’d probably roll back, but I’m determined to move forward.

On the Positive Side: There are some very nice features, like the new Mail.app which I’ve become addicted to pretty quickly.

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6 responses to “OSX Lion Upgrade (Part 1)

  1. I’ve also heard that Lion doesn’t include Rosetta, for those of us who are still using things that need it this is a bit of a pain. Can anyone confirm this?

    • Correct. Lion doesn’t come with Rosetta, but I believe you can install it from your Snow Leopard DVD. Simply look in the Optional Installs on the Snow Leopard DVD, you should find Rosetta in there. Install and away you go.

      (mind you I haven’t tried this, but I had to do this with Snow Leopard, in which Rosetta was a optional install).

  2. Weird, I don’t seem to have any of these issues. Mouse moves as it has always moved, reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepeat works out of the box, transitions are smooth (I actually took a slow motion video capture, and no framerate problems were visible), Eclipse has compile warnings on the left gutter, as usual. I do not have Adium, but maybe they will release a compatible version soon.

    • Perhaps if you did an upgrade (I’m guessing), some settings will remain from Snow Leopard. But with a clean install, repeat is now turned off by default. You have to turn it back on. :(

      If you set your scroll bars to me “always visible” (which is what I wanted), then you’ll see the problem with Eclipse. So if you leave Lion as “default”, which means “hide scroll bars”, then Eclipse right-hand gutter compilation errors will disappear.

      Unfortunately Mouse Acceleration issues appear to be a regression with display drivers. Hopefully fixed in 10.7.2.

  3. I just bought a Mini to hook up to my TV and Lion IMO has been a disaster. The very first thing I did was to turn off the reverse scrolling. The mouse pointer jumping all over the screen is maddening. They completely changed all of the default trackpad gestures from Snow Leopard. The only option (by default) to drag a window is with three fingers, which eliminates the three finger swipe to go forwards/backwards in your web browser/IDE. Luckily I found a workaround here: http://navinpeiris.com/2011/07/22/os-x-lion-enable-one-finger-drag-gesture/. The bluetooth keyboard/trackpad will disconnect at random. I really hope they get their act together in the next service pack…

    • Oh man. I’ll definitely take “mac mini with lion” off my list for a while then.

      Hopefully 10.7.2 isn’t too far away!

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