zondag 4 september 2011

Mac OS X Lion: one month later

It has been about a month since I upgraded to Mac OS X “Lion”. In short, here's what I like and dislike so far:

Like:
  1. ‘Natural scrolling’: it took surprisingly little time to get used to and after this short adaptation stage it proved so much more intuitive, even for the scroll wheel. And I don't even have any iOS device. I even tweaked my Linux environments to reverse their scrolling.
  2. Applications and their open windows are remembered between logins. Especially handy for Terminal, which will even show previous output in gray.
  3. The weird LCD backlight issue where the screen would sometimes light up again after dimming is fixed.
  4. The acceleration curve of the mouse has changed to more resemble the acceleration under other operating systems. I believe the previous acceleration curve had remained unchanged since the introduction of the Macintosh in 1983, but I have always been annoyed by its extreme acceleration behaviour at very low cursor speeds. When going from OS X to Windows/Linux I never noticed anything unusual about the mouse, but when coming back the weird acceleration always took a while to get reaccustomed to.
Dislike:
  1. My mouse cursor will often make unexpected jumps. Many other people have this issue and Apple is aware of it, but it still isn't fixed. It seems to happen mostly with third-party mice like my Razer Imperator. If you also experience this and want to have it fixed sooner, file a bug report at http://bugreport.apple.com and refer to bug ID #9701670.
  2. The Finder does not play well with the remembered windows feature. Sometimes I see my previous windows vanishing into thin air immediately after logging in.
  3. Instead of the LCD backlight issue, now the keyboard backlight will sometimes be blazing at full intensity when I return to my MacBook Pro after a while, even though I had turned it off.
  4. There is often an annoying delay in ‘open/save file’ dialogs, with the hard drive rattling for reasons unknown.
  5. There is still no good free Lion-compatible VNC server that I'm aware of (I'm waiting for an update to Vine VNC) and the built-in screen sharing is awful. It only supports bandwidth-gobbling lossless compression, it incorrectly assumes the command key is pressed at certain moments and worst of all, logging in requires a dozen attempts on average — unless you know the following trick. The issue is that when connecting, the login screen will only start to react to input after about five seconds and only during a random time period that ranges between zero and ± seven seconds. However, anything you do in those initial first five seconds will be buffered and executed. Therefore, click your login name as soon as it appears and immediately type your password + enter, even though you don't see anything happening. Just wait for ten seconds. If you're not too unlucky the connection will not freeze before your cached clicks and keystrokes have been executed, and you will be logged in. This still does not work every time but it increases your chances of getting in to something like 50%. Have fun playing login roulette!
  6. The lack of scroll arrows makes it hard to impossible to advance a single line (or other unit) while scrolling.
  7. Joesoft's ‘Hear’ still is not Lion-compatible, therefore I have to do with the standard sound quality of my headphones, which is not stellar despite them being from Sennheiser.
  8. The XiphQT plugin has not been upgraded to 64-bit. No biggie since iTunes can be set to run in 32-bit, but I don't like to have to do tweaks like that.
Despite the ‘Dislike’ list being much longer than the ‘Like’ list the overall experience is still positive, but if there is no immediate reason for you to upgrade to Lion I would recommend waiting until it is a bit more mature and software developers have caught up.

If you're using Fink and can live with sticking with current release versions for a while, you can do an upgrade to Lion and keep using most of your existing Fink installation. I have found only few things that stopped working. Eventually you will need to reinstall everything from scratch however. When you're going to do that, be prepared for a disappointment because many packages are still not compatible.

3 opmerkingen:

DrLex zei

At last, there is a beta of Vine VNC server that works with Lion: try the 4.0 Beta. It may sometimes drop the connection while trying to login, but it can't be worse than Lion's built-in screen sharing. Enjoy lossy compression, a working alt key, and the ability to search in spotlight without getting unwanted ‘enter’ keypresses!

DrLex zei

More rejoicing: the jumping mouse cursor issue seems to be solved in the 10.7.2 update!

DrLex zei

At last, Hear is now available for Lion as well.