From Mavericks back to Mountain Lion: so much for that plan

From Mavericks back to Mountain Lion: so much for that plan

Summary: Mavericks refuses to talk to my NAS even with work-arounds. That's a deal-killer. So it's back to Mountain Lion for now. Share my pain and read along.


For those of you following along on my adventure to push the limits of an iMac, I have some bad news.

Mavericks kinda sucks. You betcha!

OS X Mountain Lion

What?? I'm the political columnist here, too. Do you seriously think I'd be able to resist one small "you betcha" for an OS called Mavericks when it all goes kaplooey? No way. It's a gag just beggin' to be played. Anyway, back to the story.

When I got the Mac last week, I immediately updated it to Mavericks. I gotta say, I complained last week that the Mac shipped with Mountain Lion, not Mavericks, but now I'm rather relieved it did.

Even so, I wanted (nay, needed!) the ability for Mavericks to use an AirPlay receiver as an external monitor. That would get me my four monitors.

That part worked, and worked wonderfully. It's the only part that worked well, however.

All of my data is stored on NAS devices, and I must-must-must be able to access them via SMB. Having read Steven's article on work-arounds to the Mavericks's SMB2 bug, I was convinced all would be good. I followed his instructions to the letter.

All was not good.

First, the tank (what we call our huge NAS array) would show up in Mavericks and then go away. You'd click on its name, and it would vanish. You couldn't log out, or log back in. I even deleted the key chain elements and still I was scrod.

I could connect to the tank from other Macs (running Mountain Lion) without any problem and have been able to since Mountain Lion came out. This was definitely Mavericks.

Second, the iMac kept eating my external USB3 hard drive. It tested perfectly on other Macs, but corrupted the drive on the Mavericks machine.

I had great display access, but I just couldn't get to my data. In other words, if I didn't need to work on my main work machine, it would have been fine.

Fortunately, I used Carbon Copy Cloner to make a clone and recovery volume of Mountain Lion before I started. I had this... feeeeling.

So, I deallocated the Creative Cloud registration, deallocated my copy of Mac Office, and am crossing my fingers that I can migrate my Parallels license back to Mountain Lion like their support page implies.

The machine tells me that I've got 50 minutes before it's able to restart with Mountain Lion, so cross your fingers, too.

Oh, and I did have two ideas for the fourth display. Apparently DisplayLink works fine with Mountain Lion. So I'll try that as my way to talk to the fourth display. The sad point? I really liked having Apple TV available and the monitor I'm connecting to only has one HDMI port. On the other hand, AirParrot claims to do what Mavericks did by extending the display to an AirPlay device, so for ten bucks, I'll give that a try, too.

Sigh. Apple, fix Mavericks, will ya?

Update: It took about two hours, but I'm now back on Mountain Lion and everything is much better. As for the fourth monitor, I've downloaded a trial of AirParrot and it works, so I'll pony up the ten bucks sometime tomorrow when I get a chance. By the way, for those of you wondering how I back-revved so quickly, it was because I made a USB key with the recovery partition for Mountain Lion (and then deleted the main Mac partition), so the recovery would install.

Topic: Apple


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • How to turn apples into lemons

    Looks like Maverics shapes up to become a real lemon for the Company that prides itself for "just works".

    Windows Vista never recovered from the image it got when hw/driver vendors delivered sub-standard drivers. After a 2-3 months the drivers had all been fixed and Vista showed itself as a formidable OS (e.g. most gamers went with Vista x64).

    It will be interesting to see if Mavericks will be equally tarred. Oh well, at least it is free. You get what you oay for, I guess.
    • I wouldn't call it a lemon

      With any OS update and especially with Macs there are a ton of early adopter problems. Most people would hold off updating until the first or second point update. I think you are seeing a higher volume of people complaining because it was free and more people updated right away.

      I have had my fair share of issues with Mavericks but not any more than with other updates.
      • I would

        There are a plethora of reports about how quickly Mavericks has reached x% of Mac users - apparently it was being downloaded and installed at 3x the rate Mountain Lion was.

        Furthermore, in the, what?, 3 weeks since it was launched it's already gone through 4 serious bug-fix updates, so your claim that "Most people would hold off updating until the first or second point update" is clearly unfounded.
        • Lemon or not

          I certainly was smart enough to wait to see how well Mavericks might perform. I never, ever, upgrade a production machine to the latest release of anything until at least 90 days after it is released. I used to be a Beta tester kind of guy (NT 1x, 2x, 3x as well as Linux) but not any more. Now all of my hardware is used for work and I don't have time to test software for free.
          • Kind of hard to have been a beta tester for NT 1x or 2x

            Seeing how the first three releases were 3.1, 3.5 and 3.51
            Mike Galos
  • I have used Air Parrot with my 2009 MacBook with success

    However, over time, Air Parrot streses my MacBook CPU and the laptop's cooling fans kick in after ten or fifteen minutes of continued use. The effect is similar to that experienced with efforts to run HD quality Flash based videos on older CPU equipped computers.

    However, with your Haswell equipped iMac, this solution to add that fourth monitor might prove acceptable.
  • I know you won't return to Mavericks until these bugs are squashed.

    However, I have installed Mavericks' OS X Sever app on both my laptop and iMac systems and I was wondering if OS X Sever would have eliminated your difficulties. Just a thought.
    • Doubtful

      I have OS X server on one of my Mountain Lion-equipped Mac minis and it's essentially a selection of server applications and their Macified UIs.

      If you look at the two real deal killers, the first was very inconsistent SMB access. Server would provide Samba (or Apple's equivalent) server services, but the client would remain the same. Second, although I'm not running WD drives, I found Mavericks badly corrupted USB3 drives and couldn't withstand the verify pass when run more than three times.

      Now, to be fair, I don't know if that second issue is the iMac or Mavericks, but I could run Disk Utility's verify 20 times and have it succeed when the drive was plugged into the Mountain Lion-based mini, and fail in three goes on the iMac.

      So, we'll see. So far, it's been stable back-revved to Mountain Lion.
      David Gewirtz
      • David - I have recently experienced the same problem

        with my Mountain Lion based MBP. It surfaced after an Apple OS update and was giving me headaches with my NAS storage all day Friday. Unfortunately it seems that Apple may be pushing this problem, er feature, out to older OS X installations. Still no problem with Snow Leopard though.

        Apple appears to be following in the same misguided direction that MS took to drive me away from their products. I feel like I am on the cliff and about to go over as the "market" and "marketeers" keep moving relentlessly to a tablet mind set that ignores folks that actually work by using a computer...
  • It. Just. Works.

    Isn't that what Apple fanbois keep telling us?
    • Usually "It Just Works". Grin.

      David's problems with Mavericks were "eye opening" and David provided some good info. But, even you must admit, ye, that Apple eventually solves their software bugs and rather quickly, IMO. Usually - Grin.
      • rather quickly?

        define quickly please.
        IMHO, in this particular case, quickly should be within hours, one-two days tops.
        • Usually takes about a month for a software update of this nature

          I'm thinking back to issues with Airport connectivity, display issues of various kinds amongst various products and the such. Security updates take about two weeks before they are released to the public. (I know, two weeks is a "long time", but it's been my experience with those security updates that once released, they successfully answer the threat.)

          But, IMO, a time period defined as "rather quickly" or "several days" is at best an ideal stretch goal rather than a realistic expectation.
  • Two hours seems high.

    It took me 50 minutes to install Lion using the Internet Recovery option. Given this I would have expected a USB install to be faster. Is Mountain Lion significantly larger? Did you restore more than just the base OS (I had to go into the App Store to download Itunes, iMovie, and Garage Band)?
  • Mavericks has trouble with any external storage

    My USB external drives fail to mount or disappear all the time. So far no problem with FireWire.
  • Could you elaborate on the SMB problem

    I am curious, what is your current setup and what are you seeing, exactly. Are you using SAMBA? What version?

    I have tested Maverick with few of the SAMBA networks I have around and it has never been unreliable --- although for some reason servers are not discoverable in Finder. I always have to connect by explicitly naming the server. That is apparently those SAMBA server's setup fault, they are very stripped down in order to support older clients. The funny thing is all workstations show up in Finder, just not the servers.

    As for external drives being corrupted -- I have really not seen this, but granted all my WD drives are USB 2.0 or FireWire only. Could it be some USB 3.0 problem?
    • SMB

      Well, exactly would take quite a while, but here's a short summary. I have three Drobos and an additional two-drive RAID attached to a Mac mini, which acts as a file server. The Mac mini runs Samba (not the Mac OS X version, but real Samba). I used SMBup to get it started and have a very complex smb conf file written that controls all sorts of network details.

      I've been connecting to this setup on other Macs constantly for a very long time, with no issues. I also connect to this setup with PCs (ranging from XP to Win 7 to Win 8), also with no issues.

      So, there you go.
      David Gewirtz
      • Re: SMB

        > The Mac mini runs Samba (not the Mac OS X version, but real Samba). I used SMBup to get
        > it started and have a very complex smb conf file written that controls all sorts of network
        > details.

        Can you tell me what version of Samba you're running ? Maybe I can help ?

  • Did you install the "missing" security updates for OS X Mountain Lion yet?

    If not, why not?
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • The real question:

    Will you shut up when Apple ships an update that fixes the SMB2 bug?