Lion Upgrades Go Well . . . Mostly

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Overall, most Mac users upgrading to the new Lion version of Mac OS X seem to be doing so with minimal problems. There's still ongoing debate about whether Lion, which introduces concepts and features from Apple's mobile iOS platform, really roars.

Among the post-installation Lion problems being cited in various online forums are problematic Wi-Fi connections, inability to log in, applications not working or working slowly (one cause may be that some software vendors haven't updated their code for Lion) and some complaints of overall slowness. The slowdown may be more evident for users with older Macs, which are more likely to have less powerful CPUs and the minimum RAM needed by Lion.

IN PICTURES: How to upgrade your Mac to OS X Lion

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One experienced Mac user, an Australian who identified himself as an "advanced Windows Server administrator," reported a smooth download, install and reboot. Only one minor glitch: Lion detected his Java version was outdated and started to download the new version, but stalled when it was half done. A second attempt downloaded all the code but didn't install it. Finally, the user quit the "auto detected download prompt," and used the "Software Update" feature to download and install it.

The forums at ran the gamut of reactions, also.

Headlining his post, "who else hates lion?" whooda4 complained, "Personally I don't like it. It broke xbmc [Xbox Media Center], i can no longer use my Cisco vpn, it changed the settings on pathfinder and now it is all messed up. ... I'm a minimalist when it comes to desktops and this is just fluff that I don't want or need. I wish there was a 10-day money back guarantee."

"'Hate' is pretty strong, but I definitely don't like it," replied CapnJackGig. "There are far too many idiotic design decisions, and a bunch of changes that were made just to say they made more changes, often at the detriment to features that were loved in previous versions."

But Lion is just fine for many others. "I like Lion," replied iBunny. "So far so good. No major issues, minor GUI lagging but I'm sure that will be addressed with future graphics drivers. ... It's not Apple's fault that 3rd party developers did not invest the resources needed to make an early transition from SL [Snow Leopard] to Lion."

At least a couple of users on Apple's own support forums said their Mac had inexplicably slowed down after they installed Lion.

"All indexed & finished settling down but man it's sluggish," posted fatpotanga. He runs it on a 2.4 GHz Mac, with 3GB RAM, and "loads of free disk space." He listed what's sluggish: "In Logic I get constant system overload errors on files I [previously] was working on for a week without problem. In design has almost ground to a halt, photoshop slow, internet slow. Slow to boot, slow to shut down. Time machine again really slow to open." He ran through a list of steps he'd taken to bring it up to speed: "Permissions repaired, caches cleared, prebinding updated. ... I've disabled Restore Windows when quitting etc. Activity monitor shows nothing untoward.

"I'm stumped," he said. "I know most people have no issues. I guess I'm just special."

A few Lion users want to switch back to the earlier Snow Leopard release.

"In my eagerness to upgrade I didnt check that all my essential apps would work (idiot)," confessed cptblue. "I have massive problems with photoshop and illustrator, buggy, crashing etc. Checked java as in the faq but still no luck; I need to go back to snow leopard until this gets sorted by adobe, quickly as I have to finish some work this weekend. ... Is this possible without doing a fresh install, as I have 150gb-ish of projects on the main drive and moving to an external is going to take some time."

The Wi-Fi connection problem seems ongoing for at least some Lion users. Several say they've had lengthy sessions with Apple staff at Apple's retail stores without solving the problem.

"Since installing Lion on both my IMac and MacBook Pro, the WiFi cycles (wifi icon on the menu bar) -- looking for network -- network on -- looking for network," reports lrogersinlv. "The AirPort Utility log shows lots of connection activity but I don't know if that means anything. The network troubleshooter says theres no problem but it's causing big problems with connection speed and applications that need a constant connection are giving me network errors constantly."

"Yeah, this has to be a bug," posted JamesWinans. "I installed Lion on my Mac Mini yesterday. Prior to the upgrade, I had zero connection issues. Since I upgraded to Lion, my WiFi connection has been up and down constantly. I hope Apple addresses this soon. I know the Wifi is fine, because my iPhone, iPad, and other computers can still get to the internet without issue. Just the Lion computer. No bueno!"

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.



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