7 days with Mac OS X Lion

While most Mac users are just downloading and upgrading to Lion on June 20th, I was fortunate enough to install and use the GM seed build last week. Here are my first impressions of Lion over the first 7 days I used it. Keep in mind that this is a journal of a long-time Mac user, and OS X systems administrator trying Lion out for the first time rather than an objective review. So how did my first week go?

Day one: Install and first uses. Clean install difficult at first blush.

Apple is clearly setting Lion up for the in-place upgrade that the company started making the default approach in Snow Leopard. In fact, being a download makes the option for a clean install seem virtually impossible at first blush - maybe not impossible, but hard to find.

On the one hand, I like the simplicity and sheer speed of doing an in-place upgrade. It was a few clicks, a restart in the middle, and one of the simplest install or upgrade of an OS I've ever seen.

On the other, major OS X releases have always been the time where I use a clean install to help me do some spring cleaning. It adds to the process since I end up reinstalling apps and copying files, but it ensures unused apps, orphaned preferences and app support files, and other types of extraneous system extensions I've tried don't move forward unless I want them to. Ditto for any old documents or project files that I don't need anymore (like all the notes, network diagrams, tools, and disk images associated with that consulting gig six years ago).

Have to say I dig the new login window. First impression of Mission Control is positive. Still on the fence about Launch Pad. That's probably all the years of just having the Applications and Utilities folder nestled in my Dock.

Launch Pad

Not a fan of the new "natural" scrolling. It isn't a huge issue, and it may be more "natural" in some ergonomic way, but it makes trackpads (or the Magic Mouse) scroll opposite of how we're all used to them working. At least Apple pops up a movie about it as part of the install and you can turn it off in the Trackpad System Preferences pane. I think leaving it as is could get confusing if you switch between Lion and other OSes regularly.

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