Lurching into Lion

I mentioned yesterday that I was reluctantly upgrading my Mac to OS X Lion. I thought I’d lay out my reasons, and then get into some of my early reactions.

My first problem is the removal of Rosetta, the software layer that lets Intel based Macs run PowerPC based software. What’s irritating is that it appears to be part of Apple’s mindset that old stuff is bad stuff, that they hate clutter, they have to get rid of cruft, etc etc. I’ve read rumors that the company they licensed Rosetta from withdrew the license for newer versions of the software. I’ve heard explanations that all software has a maintenance cost. I’ve heard that it’s the price of progress. I don’t care.

While most of the software I use on a daily basis is at least Intel based, I did keep around a couple of older versions of Adobe Illustrator and Corel Painter that were PowerPC based. I never upgraded because I didn’t use them often, but they were handy to have. At some point, I’ll probably pick up newer versions, but it’ll cost me several hundred dollars. I’ve also lost a couple of games, one of which was my very favorite, that aren’t being updated. At least I wasn’t dependent on Quicken, as many people are.

I have other issues with Lion as well. One of its features is auto-saving of documents. While I can understand the value of it for some people, it’s an irritant for me. I often create doodles, especially in paint programs, that I have no intention of saving at all, just because I’m either just noodling around, or am experimenting with brushes.

Gestures are another irritant. They were allegedly a big feature of this version, but I just don’t care. I ended up turning off the most of the gestures in Snow Leopard, because I was triggering them by accident. I have a habit of selecting text as I read it online, and this tends to invoke gestures by accident. The one gesture I do use, the two finger scroll, they reversed the direction, of in order to be more like iOS.

Resume, where OS restores everything to it’s pre-restart state, is another annoyance, I’ve just discovered. I tend not to turn off or restart my Mac much at all, and when I restart it, it’s generally to put it into a clean, lemony fresh state. Well, I just restarted, and after I did, all the apps I had open restarted themselves. This is not what I wanted. I’m hoping to find a setting that means, “Shut down, and restart clean.”

(Update: 11:34 PM — I just found it; a checkbox on the Shut Down confirmation dialog box.)

Finally, I just don’t like the new look of the system. I don’t like the more rectangular buttons, or the flatter look of the controls. I fell in love with the big jewel-ly look of 10.0/10.1, and have disliked most attempts to tone it down.

So why did I upgrade? Infrastructure, in one word. I used MobileMe, mainly because I have a talent for making things vanish, and signed up for the Find My iPhone feature. Over the course of time I got used to syncing of contacts, and discovered Mobile Me Galleries (which are going away, sob). Mobile Me is shutting down in a couple of months in favor of iCloud, and you need Lion in order to use iCloud.

A side rant about iCloud

I am not thrilled with iCloud. I like the Find My device feature, and it’s convenient syncing contacts over the air, but I don’t want it to be the central repository of my data. There are enough places that I spend enough time in that have crummy internet and cell phone coverage that I want to have primary storage on my own local devices. I’m willing to put up with some inconvenience to do this. I’m also not keen on having my data out of my control. Finally, the PhotoStream feature is not a replacement for galleries– I don’t want all the pictures I take on my phone on all my devices. For example, in Bonaire, when we rented a truck, I took pictures of all the dents and dings on it. I only needed those pictures if there was a problem, and I’m happy they didn’t get propagated.

More important than iCloud, in terms of infrastructure, is software support. There will come a time when there is software that I want to use will require Lion, and there will come a time (probably soon) when Apple stops issuing security updates for Mac OS X 10.6.

Early Reactions

So now, I’ve upgraded, what do I think? So far, I’d say my reaction is “cautiously guarded.” There really wasn’t anything I was greatly looking forward to, so there’s nothing I’ve fallen in love with yet. Full screen mode is kinda nice, and well done. I absolutely detest the shrinking of the traffic light controls at the top of the windows. I like the lighter color of the window title bars — I never did care for the Leopard/Snow Leopard gray. I dislike the reduced roundness of the buttons, but am finding I hate it less than I thought I would. My first reaction the Mail changes was to immediately set it back to the Classic appearance, but I’ve re-enabled the new appearance and will give it a couple of days. I have to see how hiding the quoted parts of a mail message feels… I like seeing the quoted mail thread. I’m also giving the scroll direction a couple of days.

Maybe I’ll fall in love with it. I’d like to fall in love with it. I’d love to discover some cool things about Lion. More realistically, I suppose I’ll get used to it– but I resent feeling like I have to get used to it.