OS X Lion: Apple’s Vista? No – worse.

I’m an Apple user, and I have been for a while – happily so far.

But the more I see OS X Lion, Apple’s new OS, the less I like it. No – the more I hate it. It is a dumb downgrade, designed to make your powerful computer into a dumb iPad.

Apart from the many cosmetics, the silly seven-finger (or whatever – after three I stop counting) swiping gestures, the “Full screen nonsense”, the “Launch pad”, the “App store”  – in general, the drive to use a computer as an iPad, not as a powerful work computer – there are many big issues that stop me from switching.

The lack of a “save as” function, and the fact that Apple in its app now always saves multiple versions of files unasked, is a show-stopper for me. The lack of a scroll bar, the unnatural scroll direction, and in general the dumbing down and the emphasis of scroll pads and de-emphasis of anything mouse-related are big factors too.

It seems to me that Lion was made for people with an IQ of 85 – unfortunately, those of us who know things are now reduced to the same level. It’s like you make a Boeing 747 that is able to be flown by Granny – that unfortunately means that a real pilot is going to be severely restricted in what he can do.

And to top it off, now I was told by Apple that iCloud will be unavailable if you do not use Lion or iOS 5. This is a cynical abuse of power – upgrade or lose your email address and any calendar synching, and so on. So Apple does not want people to use Lion because they like it – they will instead force you to use Lion if you want synching (which is 100% central to my life in the case of synching Calendar events). For no reason other than bullying, Apple now says “switch to Lion or use that ability”.

I didn’t think I would ever say this, but this may very well drive me back to Windows or Linux. The “save as” function is deeply ingrained in my workflow – it has been a staple function since early computers – and iWeb runs all my web sites.

When I was just telling Apple advisor “Yashika” this on Live Chat, she abruptly cut the connection. It seems that Apple staff, like scientologists, do not like to have anyone interfere with their reality distortion field.

So either I live with a severe dumbing down and a permanent impoverishment of my computing, or I switch to Windows, which has some pretty severe drawbacks of its own. Or to Linux, which lacks the apps.

Don’t take my word for it. Many pundits agree with me. Here’s a few:





Well – I have until June 2012 to decide on other options. What wil be my new operating environment? Ideas?


16 thoughts on “OS X Lion: Apple’s Vista? No – worse.

  1. I have always thought Apple was over priced. Work provided a notebook years ago. At the same time I had a Compaq notebook which was less expensive and much better at doing everything I needed to do.

    Vista and Windows 7 both took a bit of configuration but are well behaved.

  2. Linux (I think in particular to Ubuntu w/DarkTable) can provide a complete service for a minimal effort, but as a professional used to Photoshop(R) you may lack the features you are used to, mainly for heavy post-prod over images.

    As a transition solution, I’m using Ubuntu for the day by day archiving/mail/viewing, and when I badly need it, I use Photoshop(R) in a virtual “Good Old Windows XP” on the second screen of my desktop, thanks to VirtualBox.


  3. I have grown increasingly bitter over the years. I’ve been with Apple my entire life, as I really like their products (aside from my useless button-less iPod shuffle), but I have huge distaste for them as a company. Rather than do what everyone else does and make people feel insecure with having old technology and want to upgrade, they force it by abandoning old software/hardware as quickly as possible.

    I quite dislike the suggestion I’m about to make, because it involves giving more money to a company as a resolution to your problem with/caused by said company.

    You could pick up a Mac Mini (or find an older used one for much cheaper) to run Lion and all of the required crap associated, and then keep Snow Leopard on the workhorse machine to do all of your actual work.

    I certainly hope there is some alternative available, because I feel dirty even suggesting that. It means they profit even more from these actions. However, having both OS X and Windows Vista/7 as home and work, I can’t deny that I prefer working so much more on OS X.

    I’m looking to get a new machine in the next year. I wonder how accommodating they’d be if I asked them to preinstall it with Snow Leopard instead of Lion. (I’ve got a guess)

  4. I think Apple has perfected “ease of use”, quite possibly to the point where things are no longer easy to use for “power users”. Sadly, Microsoft is heading that way too with Windows 8. Some would say Microsoft is already there with Windows 7/Office 2010.

    If you switch to Microsoft or Linux, it’s not a question of maintaining similar/identical functionality to Apple products, it’s a question of how much work or time is invested to achieve that functionality. Anyone could host/build their own website on Windows Server 2008 R2, but they would need to learn IIS 7 and HTML/CSS first. It’s much easier just to pay for webhosting and to use something like WordPress.

    If you’re thinking of migrating to Microsoft/Windows products, I have two recommendations:

    1. Look into Windows Home Server as it’s a nice backbone for a small/home network. It does backups, streaming, and webhosting out of the box and even works with Macs and Time Machine.

    2. Look into a Microsoft TechNet subscription. It’s $200 for a year’s worth of access to almost all of Microsoft’s products past and present (Windows, Server, Office, and more – even DOS). You get one or two licenses per piece of software, and each license is good for up to ten computers. Technically, you’re only supposed to use the software for evaluative purposes, but Microsoft doesn’t seem to mind as long as you don’t resell the licenses. The licenses even remain valid after the subscription expires, too.

  5. I’m like you. I have gotten really good with using iWeb and have been looking around at all my options.

    What I’ve been doing is switching my websites over to blogs with blogger. On the downside it’s much more user hostile but Google can find and track you easier if you are promoting yourself. With their new pages feature you can even turn your blog into a pseudo website. I’ve done that with another of my blogs and in my tests it seems to work pretty well.

    If I do go to a more static form I am looking closely at SiteGrinder. It looks like a bit of a learning curve but I like what I have seen in the video tutorials they put out.

    Best of luck and I’ll be watching to see what you come up with.

    Randi Scott

  6. Wow! Michael, I get the feeling that something set you off and you decided to lash out in a big way here 🙂 But I think you’re being too quick to judge, and certainly much too rash in considering a switch to another OS. You are making a bunch of false assumptions here, but it sounds like you haven’t tried Lion yourself yet, so it’s easy to see why. So, a few clarifications are in order:

    • Scrolling direction can be switched back to what you are used to in the System Preferences. 1-click fix.
    • Same for scrollbar visibility — 1-click fix.
    • Dashboard, now shown as a Space by default, can be reverted to its old behaviour via a 1-click setting as well.
    • Spaces has been rejigged and merged with Mission Control, but if you’re used to its old shortcuts and behaviour, this too can be brought back, albeit with some tweaking: http://mattgemmell.com/2011/07/27/using-spaces-on-os-x-lion/
    • There is no functionality or task that entirely depends on gestures to function.
    • “Save As…” as far as I understand it, is not going anywhere. Yes, this option is gone from some bundled Apple apps like TextEdit and Preview. But it’s still in most others. Safari & Mail, which are both open in front of me as I write this, both include it. I agree that the Autosave & Versioning system is a radically different model than the one we are used to. But I haven’t read anything that claimed that third party applications would have to lose their “Save As” feature. I seriously doubt that Adobe would take this away from Photoshop. And you know what — I love that TextEdit saves everything I throw into one of its windows without bothering me to manually save files somewhere on my HD. It’s liberating.

    Anyway. There’s more, but you get the idea.

    We can be cynical and say that Apple is “dumbing down” its OS — but I don’t think that’s what’s happening here. Apple is working very hard to make its OS more accessible to inexperienced users. That means simplifying apps like TextEdit and Preview for people who have never used a computer before. But that’s not you and me. Yes, some changes require a couple minutes of tweaking to get things back to what we’re most comfortable and efficient with. But what’s that to a couple of “real pilots” like us?

    You know, I’m no dumb user. I use a whole slew of pro apps on a daily basis. Some Apple, some not. All of them work great. All of them can and, I expect, will continue to “Save As”. My workflow has not been diminished. This is not to say that Apple doesn’t make some odd choices at times — but I have yet to run into a feature of Lion that I could not change to fit my needs.

    I think your fears are unfounded. Lion is only 30 bucks. (Apple is overpriced, Ron says!). I strongly recommend you give it a try, then give it a few minutes of TLC to tweak it to your liking. I’m sure you’ll be fine. And if not, well… Linux and Windows 7 will still be there 🙂 (yikes.)

    • Sebastien – I have updated my Macbook Pro and Macbook Air. So alas, my objections are based on experience. And “save as” is gone from the Apple office apps, like Numbers. iCloud will ONLY work if you have Lion, Apple told me yesterday.

      • I stand corrected. I’m glad to hear you tried it. It is unfortunate that iCloud is going to be Lion/iOS5 only, but it’s typical of Apple to look forward only, as radical as it seems (not to say that I agree, but I am not surprised). There will be a web app at icloud.com, but I know that’s not the same.

        I do wonder what criteria they used to decide where to keep the “save as” functionality and where to lose it as there’s some inconsistency there. It can be replicated by creating a duplicate then saving, but thats a couple of extra clicks, so I guess the question is whether this is a bearable alternative in the apps that did away with “save as”.

  7. A clarification of my own clarifications — I know you didn’t mention Spaces or Dashboard, they just came to mind as some of the interface changes I ran into. Wanted to mention them in case you do use them. There are a few more and all seem to be reversible.

  8. My Lion install nightmare started when I bought the OS “upgrade” and started installing it as I then started reading the comments on the Apple site. Trashing Adobe CS5.5 apps? Turning my laptop into an iPad? There were other OS explosions that started happening like a bad dream as it was beginning to install that I quit the install as fast as I could. It was akin to installing Solaris after all the Sun software engineers had quit. Snow Leopard works just fine for me and the iCloud is not that important enough to me to have to trash my laptop to get access. Great article!

  9. Although I have no use for some of the frills (i.e. fullscreen for everything, LaunchMissionDashJunk, etc.), they’re easily ignored. And it’s not difficult to become accustomed to the altered scroll direction & tiny sometimes-there scroll bars. Those are annoyances, sure, but not game-stoppers.

    Unfortunately, my MacBookPro has become a nearly unusable dog under OSX Lion. Predictably and persistently halting, hesitant, and unresponsive. I’ve gone through far more attempted fixes than any operating system deserves. The last time I wasted that much time and effort on a kludge of an OS was nearly ten years ago on fiddly Linux distros.

    During that time, I’ve converted more than a few people from Linux or Windows to OSX – because it had *nix under the hood and “just worked” at the GUI. It was a real machine you could use for all purposes.

    It no longer is. As of now, it’s a nearly unusable dog for just about everything – work or entertainment. There’s no point in holding on to Snow Leopard – it’ll get obsoleted soon enough. The trend for Apple is clearly towards more required and intrusive integration with iCloud, iTunes, App store, etc.

    Linux usability has improved hugely in the last 10 years. I’m reluctantly – and somewhat to my own surprise – coming to the conclusion that I will be moving to linux in the next upgrade cycle (which, thanks to Lion, will be sooner rather than later.) I suppose I’ll dump the iPhone in favor of an Android phone, since maintaining an iPhone w/o a mac would be a dead-end PITA.

    • I sympathize with your thoughts. Lion is not a success, and the forced integration and dumbing down is annoying. I still don’t quite see Linux as there, though – not as an OS, but as an infrastructure.

  10. Hey!

    I agree with the Apple Ipadization of their OS. too much control. It feels like a dictature.

    On the other hand, Windows is giving on the Media Center side with Windows 8.

    All we need is for companies to make Linux version of their software. But you would be surprised of how many softwares are actually Linux compatible and used on Linux in companies.. (ToonBoom at Disney, Maya, etc..)

    Give me Adobe CS5 on Ubuntu and I switch. I have 2 windows and 1 Lion here. All I need is stable, reliable, simple. If I want a music player, I’ll get it myself.

  11. Pingback: Alan Zeichick – The mobile world is taking over the desktop – or is it?

  12. Pingback: Zeichick’s Take: The mobile world is taking over the desktop—or is it? | SDTimes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *