Seriously, is OSX Lion a joke?

Posted on July 20, 2011
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Seriously, OSX Lion is a joke, isinit?

I’m a huge fan of Apple products, and especially their OS for Mac, to me there is no better OS for my personal and professional usage. Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) was released just this afternoon, 20th of July 2011, and in the next hour I already bought and downloaded the new fresh OS. Upgrade from my Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) went well, I haven’t lost any of my data, and all of my applications are compatible with the new OS.

At first, I was especially excited about the security improvements, such as Filevault 2, Versions, and the ability to crypt Time Machine too. But now, I’m already very disappointed by Lion, on many points. I’ve been playing with Lion just for an evening, so the list of my disappointments might not be so exhaustive at the time I’m writing these lines, but here they are.

Lion is buggy

Auto-light doesn’t work well, it goes randomly lighter or darker whereas it was working like a charm on Snow Leopard. Also, order of desktops gets shuffled sometimes for no reason.

Lion looks slower

In general, Lion looks slower (or at least more greedy for memory) than Snow Leopard. They added little new visual effects, such as the elastic scrolling (like in the iPhone, when you reach the bottom of a scrollable area, it will “bounce”…). They also added coverflow in the finder’s default view. All of these features look cool at first, but it’s very memory consuming in the end, and for no functional improvement.

Mission Control, what the fuck?

Spaces disappeared totally, and is now replaced by a new software called Mission Control. First, it’s not possible to organise desktops in a grid, from now on, desktops will be on a horizontal line ONLY, you don’t have a choice. It’s a big shock and change for all the users who are used to organise their workspace in a grid. Good luck for changing your habits. Moreover, Mission Control is quite buggy and far less reactive and fluid than Spaces used to be.

Launchpad is useless

The new application launcher, Launchpad, looks beautiful, strongly inspired by the iPhone looking. But what’s the point of using this on a computer? You’ve got the Applications folder that can be displayed as a grid that works exactly the same (and even better actually, Launchpad doesn’t respect the organisation of the folders you’ve made in your Applications Folder).

Key repeat disabled

It is now NOT possible to repeat letters while you’re holding the key. It’s not even a behaviour that you can enable/disable. No, Apple don’t give you the choice at all. Hey, I’m a big boy, if I wanna pass time repeating letters, let me do so. Although I don’t let letters to repeat very often, it’s very frustrating to be refused the right to do it.

Mac OS X Lion, the new Windows Vista?

I can’t understand, Steve. Steve, why? Do you want professionals to run away and switch to other OSs? While trying to oversimplify Mac OS, you’re in reality killing it. Numeric convergence, OK, but not this. Don’t make me use my laptop like I use my phone please, because they’re very different devices and have very different usage. And what are those bugs? And what are those performance issues? Seriously, Steve, you’re breaking my heart. Mac OS X Lion looks like Windows Vista. It was developed quick and bad, it tried to be innovative but instead became confusing and gave less freedom to users, and it sacrified performance against useless visual effects. Exactly like Windows Vista. Except Windows Vista was released in 2006 and even Microsoft themselves learnt from their mistake now and corrected everything with Windows 7.

Disappointed. Will downgrade back to Snow Leopard in the coming days…

Edit 26th of July 2011: I now downgraded back to Snow Leopard (see how I downgraded Lion from a Time Machine backup).

About the author

Cyril Mazur is a serial web entrepreneur with experience in various fields: online dating, forex & finance, blogging, online advertising... who enjoys building things that people like to use.

105 comments

  1. Jorrit Linnert
    on August 26, 2012
    I have just "up"graded to Lion yesterday on a MacBook 2.1 (2007) sporting 4GB of RAM, because Apple seems to have abandoned Snow Leopard (not even security updates anymore).
    The first thing I notice is the boot time (3rd boot after having installed all the upgrades).
    It takes 1:30 to boot Lion on my machine, SL took 30s. Almost every app I start sends the fans roaring. Not exactly the kind of roar I'd like to hear from a new OS called Lion...
    Starting apps feels sluggish at best.
    Both the address book and the calendar app start to look like Microsoft Bob( faux leather, how tacky!). On top of the questionable skinning of both apps, there is a lot of functionality lost when compared to the version in Snow Leopard.
    Because of the Intel GMA 950 GPU, Mountain Lion is not installable for me.

    Being a student, I need a Windows version alongside MacOSX because of my university's standard apps(VM's won't cut it here), so Bootcamp should take care of that, right? Wrong! The Bootcamp Assistant 4 installer hangs at approx. 20% for a long time before deciding that a network error has occured while my internet connection is working fine, even on my Mac. Proxy settings don't play any role here, none are in use. Either the Bootcamp Assistant is buggy or Apple's server containing the support software is malfunctioning.

    The rush to get Mountain Lion published was a reaction to the at best lukewarm response from their customers to it's bloated predecessor, Lion.
    Sure, OS'es can fail, MS has seen their share of them: 95a, Me, Vista...
    If that is the case, you should not rigidly stick to your n+1 policy of support for your OS. Snow Leopard is only 3 years old now and I loved it. It made my Mac 1.5x as fast when compared with Leopard. 5 years of security updates is not too much to ask, now is it?
    Apple, if you are so adamant to drop support for SL, at least have the decency to fix the bloody bugs in Lion.

    The present MacBook Pro's 13" have lost their appeal since loosing a both dedicated audio-in and the Express Card slot. The Air and Retina machines are not an option, they will become an unseparatable blob when recycled.

    No more Apple products anymore until they fix this.
  2. Stefan S.
    on August 30, 2012
    I have a Snow Leo running on a mid 2009 Macbook Pro. Really good performance and I still dont complain even when DB2 and Eclipse are runnning ( I program
    Java, C++ and a bit of perl).
    OK, dont start a VMWare then :-D

    We bought another Macbook (late 2011), also 4GB RAM. CPUs are about the same. The only differences are the HD (5400 standard HD in the late 2011, 7200 in the "old" 2009) ... and LION on the new box.

    Lion absolutely sucks. I dont want to repeat all the bullshit of this OS, like
    DVD player, Chinese keyboard, speed (to be renamed "slowness", "speed" is a blasphemy for this).

    If THIS shit is the future of Mac OS X, then this will be my LAST Apple!!

    Wake up guys! Redmond isnt sleeping. They'll catch you.
  3. airtonix
    on May 15, 2013
    I've been a long time Gnome Shell 3 user and I'll just add my perspective some of what you've talked about here.

    To prefix all this, I'll just say that Gnome Shell user interface uses Cascading Style Sheets to style the desktop elements, It use Javascript to power the logic, allowing you to create your own plugins easily these extensions are also installed easily with firefox or chrome from extensions.gnome.org.

    Spaces
    (Always been called Workspaces or Virtual Desktops in Linux based operating systems)
    Don't like the way your workspaces a laid out vertically? create your own plugin. or download one from extensions.gnome.org

    Launchpad
    Gnomeshell calls this Overview. Ubuntu unity calls it Dash. Previously in gnome 2 i used a spotlight type program called synapse or gnome-do.
    GnomeShell gets this right by allowing you to simply tap the super key (command key or windows key for you heathens). This encourages a quick workflow to launch apps with keyboard only.

    Macosx still doesn't have :

    lazy window resizing: hold alt left click drag anywhere in the window to move the window... alt + middle click drage will resize in the direction you drag. (this follows Fitts law of larger target areas for interaction items are easier to use and don't break your train of thought)

    Window Snap: windows 7 introduced this, shortly after... Ubuntu implemented it then so did Gnome Shell.

    mouse buffer: X Windows has two clipboard buffers, one for the keyboard and one for the mouse. Highlight text to copy it there and middle click the mouse to paste it.

    ssh mounting in finder. seriously? w...t...f.
  4. Cyril
    on May 15, 2013
    Thanks for your comment airtonix :) Clearly Apple doesn't want advanced users anymore...
  5. Gnalvl
    on December 4, 2014
    Was just forced to upgrade from Snow Leopard to Lion at work, and unfortunately 3 years has not done Lion any favors. The speed drop is unbearable...as a graphic designer I was able to use my Mac Mini to handle pretty large print files without noticeable slowdown, but now the simplest tasks take forever.

    You want to webbrowse while running streaming music in the background? Fine, but it will take 5 seconds to change tabs. You want to open a high-res image in photoshop, flatten it and save it? Better take a number and wait a while. You look up from your newspaper figuring it must be done by now, just in time to get the "are you sure you want to do this?" dialog box which would normally pop up instantaneously.

    What do we get for this trade-off in processing efficiency? Glossier icons. That's about it.

    Annoyingly Lion also fails to retrieve many of the basic settings you used on your previous OSX, like wifi network and password, "favorites" in your finder sidebar, etc. TextEdit reverts to smartquotes and auto-corrects your triple periods to "smart ellipses" so you can enjoy garbage characters in your html. The mouse settings default to an inverted scroll wheel configuration and Apple has the gall to call it "Scroll Direction: Natural" as if people who wish the page to scroll in the same direction as their finger are somehow "unnatural". For the next OSX, I look forward to a dropdown menu with options like "Scroll Direction: Incestuous" and "Scroll Direction: Blasphemer".

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