Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

Summary: Mac developers are only now uncovering new bugs in Lion and even more surprising support for entire APIs. The Lion software compatibility picture is unclear and users of old and even recently updated third-party software should be very careful before taking on the new OS version.


From the eager and ofttimes frantic posts on discussion boards, it appears that Mac users have an intense yearning for the new and fresh when it comes to OS upgrades. On the other hand, they sound outraged with any report of third-party software incompatibilities with the just-released Lion, Mac OS X 10.7.

Mac developers are only now uncovering new bugs in Lion and even more surprising support for entire APIs. The Lion software compatibility picture is unclear and users of old and even recently updated third-party software should be very careful before taking on the new OS version.

The warnings keep coming for popular programs that require the Rosetta library, such as Quicken for Mac. I received today a warning message about Rosetta requirements for the Gorilla screenplay software (the new Lion-savvy version is coming in the fall). However, this PowerPC-emulation technology has been on the developer's orphan list for a long time.

Aside from Rosetta, what is and isn't under the hood of Lion's initial release was only finalized recently and could have implications for your favorite program's compatibility. And developers trying to keep customers informed and manage expectations may be caught in a bit of a Catch-22 situation.

For example, Karelia, the maker of Sandvox, an excellent CSS site development tool, has been dealing with complaints by longtime customers. A month or so ago, the company released a major Version 2 upgrade, which is long on great new features, but riled some users settled in their workflows. Growing pains. Then the company said that the older, simpler Version 1.x software wouldn't run on Lion.

On Tuesday, co-founder Terrence Talbot told readers of the Sandvox discussion list that this Version 1.x vs. Lion situation will likely change.

Sandvox 1.6.8 relies on a very specific library, from Apple, being available on the system. This library was not available on any developer builds of Lion that I saw since WWDC. This meant that our initial evaluation is that Sandvox 1.6.8 would not run on Lion.

In the latest GM release of Lion sent to developers last week, this library is suddenly now present. So far all of my preliminary tests indicate that Sandvox 1.6.8 works fine in this GM version of Lion, though I have not exhaustively tested every last feature.

We cannot make a final statement on Lion compatibility until Apple officially releases Lion to the public and we can see what's in and what's out. We'll know more tomorrow, we will do more tests, and we will update our official statement when we know more.

At this point, there is indication that everything might just work. But we don't know for sure until there is an official end-user release of Lion and we have had sufficient time to test.

The library in question is libcrypto, which has been a problem child to a number of developers. I understand that recently Xcode 4 did not provide the 10.5 SDK, which was needed for backwards compatibility with some libraries, including libcrypto. From Talbot's report, that situation seems to have changed.

For Mac users, it is clear is that if a workflow is working under Snow Leopard, there's no hurry to upgrade to Lion. And unless you have a clear need for Lion, then there's also no hurry to upgrade.

Topics: Apps, Apple, CXO, Hardware, Operating Systems, Software, Software Development, IT Employment

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  • RE: Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

    As always here, do one machine and test EVERYTHING. If that goes well then get someone to use it everyday for a week or so. Then if you're happy with how that went, do any training needed and THEN deploy.

    This is true on whatever system you use (Mac, Windows, Linux, something else).

    However, start TODAY, like Windows before it there are significant advances in Lion, and you should take advantage of them as soon as you can... BUT not before you've made sure everything in your environment works (or can be replaced - if that's appropriate) and your users have the skills to use the software.

    Isn't this obvious?
  • RE: Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

    Apple fanboys, Please don't drag Windows in your misery.
    Windows 7 and 8 are miles ahead of Lion.

    Apple, fix your bugs and software incompatibilities.
    • Message has been deleted.

      • RE: Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

        @ewelch [i]You're joking, right?[/i]

        Yes, I'm sure he is.

        [i]Lion eats Windows' lunch. They are so far ahead of Microsoft, you Windows users can't see the details.[/i]

        Now that's funny. I've always thought that Apple hides the many details, and that's what makes OS X more user friendly. Ahead, behind... that depends on your PoV.
      • RE: Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

        @ewelch <br>I really had to laugh at this comment. To be nice, I want to point a few things out without mention of anything related to price which your right, apple is waaaay ahead of MS on that one. I absolutely despise apple but I will say, apple products are great for creativity, media and just surfing the web. It's built off of FreeBSD and the UI doesn't really every change in "major" releases. Give's the typical person a sense of familiarity and that's where it all stops. From a technical point of view there are several inherent flaws with apple by nature. <br><br>1. they build off of equipment they do not fully support, eg. Xeon processors but apple doesn't support virtualization which is a huge benefit from the right hardware. You buy it with your apple but your mac just doesn't use it at all, therefore you really just wasted money on something your not even using to it's potential like you can a PC. <br>2. Apple really doesn't want anyone but an apple certified tech to open your machine so with some models they purposely include designs that do not allow easy access to certain parts of the system inside, like say, changing your sata Hd for a SSD, in some models they have this piece of plastic in the way that has to be removed, along with a few items in the machine. This was reported on a few websites as well.<br><br>3. Now, understand OSX is built off of FreeBSD, which is linux. *nix by default has huge support for hardware. Knowing this, why not be able to run OSX on your PC since now in essence you are just buying a PC running OSX with a special bios? Apple could very easily do this since all it is a making maybe a few changes to kext. Given how apple works, in reality, Apple gains here because they can now control their revenue model through the sales of "apple" only hardware, it has to come from them or a company that pays apple for oem sales of it's hardware. <br><br>Now with the macbook air, you get new tech, on top of our old tech.. plus you never really get to use the latest and greatest tech when you want it, it's more like when apple has patched enough of osx to allow you to use it say with 500megs in "updates". ZDNet just wrote and article on a pain to install promise raid controller. <br>Hardware wise from a tech's point of view, you apple fans keep getting the short end of the stick for a big premium price. Doesn't seem right to me. <br><br>Now I think politely, I should stop here.
      • RE: Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?


        Just a couple of quick points/corrections. FreeBSD is [b]not[/b] Linux. Apple doesn't use a "special bios," they use EFI.
    • RE: Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

      @iluvmsft Windows 7 supports 198GB of memory. Lion supports 16TB of memory (it did that way back with Snow Leopard). OS X Lion leapfrogs Windows 7 in security and is now the de facto standard and king of the jungle in that respect.
      • RE: Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

        @veggiedude <br>Mac OSX 16 TB memory option is only theoretical. You couldn't order a SL Mac OSX server with 16TB then and you can't order it now since the Xserve line has been discontinued.<br><br>The maximum memory the last Xserve w/SL server that could support was only 96GB: <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a><br><br>The maximum memory config with Lion server you can order *NOW* is a MacPro with 64GB.<br><br>Windows 7 supports 198GB of memory indeed (still more than Mac OSX) but Windows Server 2008 can support up to 2 TB and it actually existed:<br><br><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a><br><br>So what can I say? Your Mac OSX Lion server have just take a theoretical leapfrogs to the magical fantasy land.
    • RE: Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

      You obviously don't have anything else to do than to post those inane comments.
      You are like many of those Apple or Microsoft fanboys. Fanatics! You are talking about computers, not religion. Unless of course for some people the OS is religion.
  • RE: Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

    Full screen apps and being able to resize windows from any edge. Time to upgrade .... to the 21st century. :-P
  • RE: Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

    That's not the question to be asking, now is it. Upgrade to Lion today.

    *jedi hand wave*

    - Steve
    Sent from my iPod.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

      @Cylon Centurion

      Actually, if you *jedi hand wave*, Lion brings up the dashboard.
  • RE: Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

    With two failed download attempts, a pending support case with Apple, and no OS upgrade one day later, Mac OX X Lion has been, from my experience, a disappointment.
    • RE: Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

      @cvcgrad Dude really? Did you get your copy from the Chinese Apple stores? Mac OX X? Really Dude?

      The problem with upgrades is people jumping blindly in to upgrade. The author needs his keyboard taken away for referencing Quicken for Mac, a product last released in 2007. See its funny, Apple has these things, that happen every year, where they work with developers to prepare them for the coming OS and IOS versions, its called the World Wide Developers Conference. So if you created an app back in 2007 and haven't updated it since, how is that Apple's fault? By the way, Intuit has since released a product called Quicken Essentials for Mac which works swimmingly.

      We've seen Apple upgrade Final Cut and immediately throngs complained that their workflow was wrecked because such and such feature was removed in the new version that the old version had beach in 2005. Thats like complaining that you can't use RCA component connectors on that brand new 65" LED TV you just bought, because those VHS tapes of you at Disney World on the teacups were simply magic. Did Apple force you to upgrade your perfectly working suite to the "new" Final Cut? Did they push the change down without these folks consent? No is the final and resounding answer.
      • So Apple gets a pass on backward compatibility?


        Four years (Quicken 2007) isn't that old for business...oh wait. :) Mac doesn't have business software, it has "graphics professional" software.

        Quicken is a consumer program. Quickbooks is their business software.

        And I'm sure graphics professionals are ecstatic to find out their $1,000+ software suites no longer work.

        Apple. No wonder it's compared to a religious cult. If MS did something like that the howls would echo around the world.

        (And no, 95%+ of all software worked on Vista, there were only a few holdouts who hadn't followed *10 year old* guidelines. MS is king of backward compatibility. Don't you wish Cupertino had fired up their copy machines now?) ROFL
      • RE: Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

        @mrgoodall [i]Dude really? Did you get your copy from the Chinese Apple stores? Mac OX X? Really Dude?[/i]

        Dude really? You're giving him a hard time about a typo? Really Dude?

        [i]was removed in the new version that the old version had [b]beach[/b] in 2005.[/i]

        Really Dude?
      • RE: Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

        As much of an Apple supporter as I am, still, I'm not blind to their follies and an apologist for Steve Jobs. I've had pretty much the same problems with downloading and installing Lion. Multiple downloads hanging up for no reason, the inability to consistently resume where it left off, and multiple failed installation attempts left me feeling like it was Vista all over again.
      • RE: Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

        @mrgoodall I don't know that it's fair to blame people for not upgrading their software when what they have (the old versions) work for them in their workflow. On the other hand, as you suggest, it's not fair for the users of older programs to complain when time marches on and their products are orphaned.

        Many users are doing fine work with older versions of Photoshop, etc. Many developers have been slow to move away from Rosetta APIs. Or the transition has been slower than they expected. And Snow Leopard works great.

        Still, there's zero reason to upgrade to Lion TODAY unless you have summer time to kill working out the kinks.
  • I have to laugh

    at all the vitriol articles like this bring forth. Idiots!
    Laraine Anne Barker
  • RE: Lion: What's the hurry to upgrade?

    one thing is for certain, the bulk of the postings in an Apple thread are guaranteed to be diametrically opposed, with very few objective ones thrown in.