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Mac OSX Lion Install Tips, Insight, & Considerations

Bill Malchisky  July 20 2011 05:25:57 PM
Image:Mac OSX Lion Install Tips, Insight, & Considerations
Yes, the big news today is that Mac OSX Lion (10.7) is released. One of the best parts is the instant gratification of an on-line installation. Ubuntu has been offering this for over three years, so I am glad to see Apple finally catch-up in this regard. :)

But seriously, with so many new features, functions, and capabilities, invariably there are things that will be addressed in the first round of patches. Looking at this post may assist you deciding if you should upgrade now or wait a bit. Of course, your mileage may vary and may quite possibly you will have no issues. Having stated that, I spent part of the day and most of this evening discussing Lion installations and test builds with several friends. We removed issues due to hardware errors, and unsupported software, and the like... here is list of relevant pieces we compiled. Thus, I thought I would put together this post and share it with the community. Enjoy.

It should be noted that overall, things have been going well for most people, which is important. And of course, be certain you apply any patches for your existing OSX build before upgrading and have a backup of your data--just in-case (see also: bullet in VMware Fusion Insight)

Here are Some Noted Areas of Concern and Possible Solutions
  • Time Machine does not work currently with many external NAS devices. There are many posts on this, one here is from Vowe; ReadyNAS with Sparc chips here via Ben Poole; one here on a Western Digital NAS and comments on FreeNAS
  • ReadyNAS with Intel -- upgrade RAIDator 4.2.18 before installing Lion -- Release Notes and also cited here via Vowe
  • To open URLs Cmd-double-click is the new command, switched from Cmd-Shift-double-click
  • If you are unable to keyboard activate your dialog boxes with tab, or enter, for example, change the setting here: System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Keyboard Shortcuts
  • As you may have read already, dual head configurations running full-size apps only display a linen backdrop on the second screen, completely defeating the purpose of the dual-head piece
  • If you have transparency set on Terminal windows, items behind the terminal are blurred
  • When synching iCal to Mobileme, the Mobileme contacts were deleted; absolutely backup your data
  • We did notice one instance where Lion chose to resolve the hostname of a Linux server with the external IP versus he internal IP address; so if you are unable to connect to a server, particularly through your terminal window, here is a place to start
  • One person noticed on his MacBook Pro that many of his window settings were forgotten and his icons arrangement radically changed in the main HD window
  • If you dislike the thin scrollbars (similar to those with Ubuntu's Unity program manager) there is a desktop preference to change them
  • In Finder, the ~/Library directory is invisible. Two ways to resolve:
    1.        Finder, hold down the Option key, then click the GO menu to show the Library folder
    2.        Terminal window, type: chflags nohidden $HOME/Library --> courtesy of Parallels FAQ
  • If you install, check the build number: you should have build 11A511, which is the final build; there are reports that some users pulled build 11A494 and Apple changed the download package to the final. So if you are seeing issues check the build
  • "VMS offered the new OSX Versions feature back in 1984"
  • Citrix client is having problems with Lion at this time
  • Application compatibility is key. The new OS is 64-bit and thus, if your apps are 32-bit, you may have some issues after upgrading. Check for compatibility here; the list is pretty thorough, as it even had Lotus Notes listed!
  • UPDATE: If File Vault 2 is used, seems that Time Machine is required to be encrypted

Drobo Insight
  • The latest Drobo Dashboard is needed else the Drobo goes into a boot loop
  • Drobo Dashboard 2.0.3 is needed for Lion, and that time machine doesn't work on Drobos with Lion at this time
  • Time Machine has problems going to third party NAS's
  • "If your Time Machine has been set up to work with Drobo, Drobo S, DroboPro or Drobo model B800i before upgrading to Lion, you will be able to continue using Time Machine."
  • Recall that the Drobo "Check for Updates" feature has been broken for a long time, so if it says you are current, check their website
  • Otherwise, you might want to wait till the Time Machine aspect is resolved
  • Note: upgrading the Drobo Dashboard requires a reboot, so be sure to unmount, then turn your Drobo off before rebooting

VMware Fusion Insight
  • OSX Lion runs fine as a host OS under VMware 3.1.3
  • ``Lion is not supported in Fusion 3.1.3 as a Guest OS, I apologize'' -- @VMwareFusion
  • Then continued, ``As the blog mentions, we're looking into that [Lion as a guest OS] for a future release. 3.1.3 only supports 10.6 and 10.5 Server as a Guest OS''
  • If you run VMware Fusion 2, then you are unable to run Lion, as that is an x64 OS and Fusion 2 can only run i386 flavors
  • Time Machine does not backup VM's or Fusion itself properly...so you must proceed with a non-Time Machine backup of your VM files with a different package, or just copying each VM to the external media of your choice; once finished, install Lion then reinstall Fusion

Parallels Insight
  • There's an update to parallels 4 so it will run with Lion as the host OS
  • Parallels has yet to comment on running Lion as a guest OS

Of Course, There Are Many Positives
  • Windows-style window capability; so you can resize a window from any edge now
  • The pause and resume feature is quite nice, but know that it is much faster when using an Ethernet connection, versus WiFi
  • You get to run Lion in two VMs on your desktop machine; just be certain to make a bootable disc (or with screen shots)
  • You can update every Mac in your home with one Lion purchase -- so the $30 cost is quite valuable; just make sure to burn the image to disk before you upgrade your first Mac as Lion will purge the installer once it completes
  • Observation, that previous that Spotlight indexing and Time Machine running a backup were mutually exclusive; in Lion, they are working together
  • In reading the user reports at Macintouch, most people are liking the upgrade

A Quick Note to Developers
  • Avoid the temptation to design your web pages based upon how they look on your Mac in full-size mode; most of us won't view them that way

Need a more detailed review?
  • Try Ars Technica 19-page review located here


And to end on a lighter note... as Maru has his own blog, and YouTube channel, it's about time he joined the ranks of the other famous felines in the Apple OSX release coterie. Perhaps a sneak peak cover for the next version of OSX. If you don't know who Maru is, click here then watch this.
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