Why was Lion considered so bad?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by Traverse, Nov 22, 2014.

  1. Traverse macrumors 604


    Mar 11, 2013
    Just for kicks I read back over the pre-Lion release threads and so many people were excited and claimed it to be stable. Today I always see people referring how bad Lion was. I ran it for a full year and never had any major issues.

    What were the issues with Lion?
  2. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    Thoughts about the transitions from Snow Leopard to Lion then Mountain Lion

    Why was Lion considered so bad?

    A good question.

    I wonder whether the reflective (post-'Lion era') comments about the badness of Lion era are representative of majority opinion. Please note, this is not to devalue minority opinion (Lion aside: some of my views place me in a tiny minority); it's just food for thought.

    If I put myself in the shoes of others …

    I suspect that some of the kickback originated with the novel method of distribution. An understandably negative reaction, to failed or interrupted download of a large file, may be over-amplified when it's realised that any number of people suffer what appears to be the same problem. (Modern approaches to App Store are much more user-friendly; it may be easy to forget that the electronic-only approach to distribution of Apple software was in its infancy in the late Snow Leopard era. I don't recall exact details but it's likely that the app did not present plain english messages when errors occurred, and so on. In the absence of plain english and technical knowledge, there's a massive "me too" effect when in truth, there are a variety of problems, none of which is massive.)

    One step beyond distribution and download, still in the shoes of others … Lion was probably my first realisation of an extraordinary difference between (a) pre-release installation experiences and (b) installation experiences in the real world. In reality it seemed to me that many of the installation failures, or problems immediately subsequent to installation, were without reasonable explanation. From my point of view (not entirely without bias) the likeliest explanation – for a significant proportion of the unreasonable/inexplicable incidents – was the file system constraint. No system-integrated ability to check the integrity of media, and so a 'disk' (more accurately, a volume) that was apparently OK might have been truly in a marginal or bad state. And so a significant amount of writing to a marginal disk might lead to noticeable problems, and so there's misinterpretation that the installer app itself is the cause and so on. It was probably around this time that I began pushing for a more capable file/storage system … enough said (this paragraph could go way off-topic).

    My key point from those two paragraphs: more than the usual amount of noise about App Store, plus more than the usual amount about installation. The sum of those two masses was simplistically misconstrued as carelessness by Apple in its preparations for Lion. All that noise, amplified … and the many good things that are later discovered do not necessarily allow the customer to shake that feeling of negativity.


    One thing was outstanding: change for the sake of change. I found this in only one area, and I suspect that not many customers were affected by the regression, but the regression was extremely troublesome to those affected.

    That one change for the sake of change was the aqua popover, in lieu of a sidebar, in iCal.

    I had no objection to the use of popovers, but Apple had removed a critical part of the interface; it was almost insanely difficult to work within the constraints of that popover alone. The customer was denied the choice.

    From Lion, to Mountain Lion

    Mountain Lion should be off-topic, but it's worth noting that Apple's reintroduction of the sidebar, to Calendar, did not undo the subtle damage that had been caused by Lion's removal of the sidebar.

    I'm not ungrateful for the reintroduction. Just, honestly, that year or so of deprivation by Apple effectively killed my enthusiasm to use (and to test) the calendaring side of Apple's software.

    A little research

    I spent a few hours putting together http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=19602911#post19602911 – it was remarkable then, it's remarkable now, that I could find only one thing worth listing that was Lion-oriented: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1204565
  3. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
  4. snorkelman, Nov 23, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    snorkelman macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2010
    Some of these are back in the mists of time, so I may be attributing them to Lion unfairly but I *think* they were all Lion related

    the sudden change to the install method:

    • forcing a need to get to SL before upgrading to Lion
    • making for a potentially much slower/more involved install than from disc based media
    • signalling the long term writing on the wall for inclusion of DVD drives (the MBA had kinda hinted at it but that was an ultraportable device)

    The dropping of Rosetta

    the seeemingly arbitrary dropping of support for some machines (MacPro 1,1 in particular?)

    the following three I'd group together under the 'left folks wondering what direction we were heading in'

    • the introduction of launchpad
    • the integration of the app store (albeit available on snow leopard as a download, one would suspect mainly to allow SL owners a means to upgrade to Lion)
    • the start of application sandboxing

    reverse scrolling as standard (and the concern as to whether being allowed to turn this off was only going to be a transitional option)

    Removal of scroll arrows, hiding of scroll bars by default (same concern as above how long was the option to force them back on going to be allowed)

    Dropping color cues from the Finder sidebar icons

    the introduction of AutoMangler(TM) aka versioning which made a pigs backside of a lot of folks long established workflows - a) if they tended to use templates and b) if they tended to work on other platforms as well as OSX where Save and Save as were still the norm.

    Airdrop got hyped to the heavens then dropped like a hot potato from some of the machines that had supported it in beta (the reasoning was sound but it should have been made clearer at an earlier stage what the plan was)

    It just didnt feel as snappy as SL (for folks buying new macs that had no ability to run SL, then rightly or wrongly it gave you that one step forward one step back feeling; how much better would that shiny new hardware have felt if it could have been let loose on SL)

    At end of the day IMO, it was an OS upgrade that left the impression of having taken much more away than it actually brought to the party.
  5. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    It began the horrible trend of iOSifying OS X. It also dropped Rosetta and generally ran like a pig on the Macs I installed it on. Also upon release, very little apps actually worked on it.

    Lion was when OS X began to go downhill in my opinion. And since then it has continued going downhill.
  6. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    Some responses

    I do understand that perception. I also believe that is not – or should be not – entirely horrible. Also I am not entirely convinced that it is essentially a trend. (This is a very complex subject … I'm no expert … I'll be happy to continue somewhere in the Yosemite area.)

    That's a great point. From my point of view, the keyword here is communication.

    Given the big picture, removal of the Rosetta option did make sense. I had no objection. However: Apple failed in two ways, and the suffering of those affected was made greater by a general lack of empathy.

    A) First, Apple failed to provide appropriate advice to prospective customers.

    B) Then, Apple failed to apologise for failing to advise.

    C) In parallel, generally, I was disappointed to find so many people (in Apple Support Communities and elsewhere) ridiculing the customers who suffered as a result of Apple's failure to advise.

    Point (A) alone might have been forgiven, but there was a sense of arrogance around points (B) and (C) so ultimately, the removal of the Rosetta option probably generated a shared negativity that will take years to dissipate.

    I suspect that there were legal/licensing reasons. We might find a good guess in the Daring Fireball area.

    Some people might think of that as part of an iOS-ification of Mac OS X.

    I adapted very quickly and with no frustration. It's intuitive. It's not a removal.

    Agreed, agreed, and I must add that modern scroll bars are too narrow. I suspect that I will never properly adapt to forced invisibility (off-topic from Lion: the forced removal and the narrowness annoy me intensely every time I use the web interface to iCloud mail).

    This will be hotly debated for years to come.

    I enjoyed, still enjoy (Mavericks) the more restrained use of colour. I'm certain that the restrained interface, neither too dark nor too bright, and not too colourful, allows me to focus more on content.

    Interesting. Removals plus lack of communication …
  7. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    I disagree. In a world where Windows 8 can still run Windows 9x era apps no problem, removing Rosetta was probably the worst thing Apple did to OS X. All of my old OS X apps were considered useless in the eyes of Apple and was the final straw for me.

    Apple's lack of backwards compatibility and true software support has always bothered me, but the day I realised Lion had no Rosetta, that was it. Over half my apps just slapped away as incompatible in an instant. It was weak.

    Also, Mission Control, even though they have fixed the issue since, was a downright mess on Lion and nothing compared to Expose.
  8. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    That sinking feeling, bad enough without people suggesting that you're stupid

    Reflecting again on the removal of the Rosetta option:
    Traverse, you may have a sinking feeling following the discovery that your iCloud Drive content is no longer easily available (preferring Mavericks after trying Yosemite). In this case I believe that Apple did offer advice – probably on screen before you opted to use iCloud Drive.

    Now, for a moment, imagine that sinking feeling made worse by hundreds of people suggesting that you were stupid to not realise the limitations.

    Of course, you're not stupid. But this theoretical example may help you to realise the shared sense of negativity that arose when support for PowerPC-only applications ended in such a careless and unsympathetic way.

    (Was there a sense of an unforgiving attitude to removal of the Rosetta option? I wonder.)
  9. Traverse thread starter macrumors 604


    Mar 11, 2013
    I like SL, but I was relatively new to Mac when Lion came out. I like Lion. Multitouch gestures always seemed underutilized in SL, though they weren't perfect in Lion (the four finger pinch out for the desktop is still finicky so I use Better Touch Tool).

    As for multiple desktops vs spaces, I'm indifferent. I like how Apple utilized fullscreen mode; apps in their own space vs on top of each other like in Windows. I don't use FS for everything, but apps like Mail, iTunes, and occasional Safari are nice.

    Lastly, like grahamperrin, I adjusted to the new scroll direction easily. In fact, and I thought this was kind of amusing, after using my first Mac on SL for awhile I comment to my friend how I kept scrolling "naturally" (as Apple calls it) and it threw me off. In windows with a click-wheel mouse I never scrolled incorrectly, but with the MBP trackpad and Magic Mouse I often scrolled up hoping to move the webpage/document up and see content below without much thinking. Lion was just appreciated.

    I never had issues with FileVault, but did have occasional bugs with Safari under Lion (would freeze and hang for no reason).

    Just my $0.02, I was curious to hear what others though.

    I don't completely agree. Full screen mode and Mission Control were changes to established methods of doing things. I can fully understand being messed up by this sudden change, but had Apple introduced these features instead of Exposé and Spaces I doubt many people would have had issues.

    As for Rosetta, grahamperrin and you both have good points. I think Apple's abrupt drop was uncalled for, but I do see their point. One of Apple's biggest issues is a lack of communication. Apple should have announced this in some way.

    Personally, I don't blame Apple for removing it from the OS since most users probably didn't need it and they were trying to keep the oS lean, but they should have maintained support via an add on or download. At least give users a transition period.

    That is what surprised me with the new iWork. Not only did Apple leave the old versions in tact on existing systems, but they also published a document stating features that would be added back. If Apple would behave more like this I think they could relieve some user frustration.

    I like how you worked in the unforgiving part. ;)

    I agree (like I said above), that Apple's lack of communication is what made the Rosetta situation worse.

    As for the iCloud Drive issue, I knew I was giving up Finder integration by reverting to Mavericks. I was trying upload files via iCloud.com which Apple states will work with any modern web browser. That is where I was getting failures.
  10. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    Zero costs, bean-counting, licensing, Rosetta, Exposé, Mission Control

    As promised: Daring Fireball: Thoughts and Observations Regarding This Week's Apple Event Introducing the iPad Air and Retina iPad Mini (2013-10-26, highlights). No mention of Rosetta, but reading between the lines I stretched phrases such as 'convoluted bean-counting' to somehow encompass licensing and by implication, Rosetta (under license from … IBM, I think it was).

    Yeah. It never bothered me but a very level-headed Mac-loving friend of mine refused to upgrade because Exposé had been so effective in programming classes that he taught.

    There was, long ago, a quite lovely enhancement to Mission Control that never made it to release. I'll not attempt to describe it here (it was difficult to describe to Apple at one point), suffice to say that for a pro or prosumer user it could have made the transition away from Exposé much easier and friendlier.

    If I recall correctly there was a popular (but not suitably communicated) assumption that the transition period began long before the Rosetta option was removed. Popular in the Mac press and so on, but not common knowledge for Mac users as a whole.
  11. swingerofbirch macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    It introduced huge bugs into QuickTime for recording and editing, and also bugs into TextEdit if you had many windows open at the same time. These were finally fixed in Mavericks.
  12. tkermit macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2004
    Bugs. Lots of 'em. Plus people were confused by the new document and process model.
  13. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    Features (2011) including Auto Save

    Apple - OS X Lion - Over 250 new features. Read about all of them. (2011-07-27)

    Auto Save was a huge change. Considering what could have gone wrong, I'd say that Apple got this more than 95% right first time.
  14. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    I can confirm that first-hand as I quickly went back to the Apple Store asking for a solution, whatever it may be, to allow me to work. The answer was a flat-out "no" to all of them. No solution except "call your software / hardware provider". This would have been the typical answer from a Microsoft representative. Probably the worst experience I had at the Apple Store.

    Luckily I discovered the hardware was compatible with SL.

    Lesson learnt: never switch computers in the middle of an important project. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    I still can't adapt. On every Mac I happen to use with a more recent Mac OS X, my first step is reverting the trackpad movement to its original, normal position, even if Apple calls it "inverted". It's counterintuitive for anyone who used a laptop in the past 4 years, especially other platforms.
  15. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Because Lion regressed in so many areas that Snow Leopard had previously nailed.

    • Multi montor support
    • Rosetta
    • Mission Control
    • UI Appearance
    • Save As
  16. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    Well the Lion UI wasn't as bad as Yosemite is. They kept the change rather subtle. Can't say for multi monitor support, but definitely a resounding "yes" for the others.

    Only Apple apps are using the "Duplicate" function. Word, Excel, LibreOffice and countless others don't. Other platforms don't. This creates confusion as one never exactly knows wether or not a given document is saved, and lacks consistency. Again, anyone who used a computer in the last 4 years grew accustomed to [shift]+[cmd]+.

    Mission control is another feature I disable on post-SL Mac OS Xs. I prefer to stick with the classical Applications menu in the Dock, even if I launch most of my apps through Spotlight.

    And we wouldn't still be lamenting the loss of Rosetta if Apple provided a way to run SL in a virtual machine with USB support.

    You also forgot the half-baked Notification center: can't be configured to only include priority messages, and can't be disabled altogether.
  17. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Well yes, the UI wasn't that bad. It just wasn't "as good", but at least the changes were bearable.

    Multi-monitor support though, it was terrible non existent. If you had 2 monitors, and wanted to watch a video full-screen, it turned the 2nd monitor linen grey and made it completely useless.
  18. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    I assumed, at the time, that the limited support was intentional.

    Not to deprive users. Just to get plenty of feedback, before Mountain Lion, on what should be done with multi-monitor support. And so on.
  19. MichaelLAX macrumors 6502a

    Oct 31, 2011
    You can run Snow Leopard in a virtual machine with USB support.

    Apple lost its license to use the technology underlying Rosetta with the release of OS X Lion and since IBM had acquired it from its original developers, it was somewhat doubtful that Apple could have relicensed it at a financially reasonable price, even if it wanted to do so.

    While Apple did promote the loss of Rosetta prior to and during the release of Lion, the fact of the matter is that many users just do not know to use "due diligence" before upgrading ANY version of OS X. This is no one's "fault" but a side-effect of the ease of using OS X.

    Further, the "miracle" of Rosetta was so transparent, that many Snow Leopard users had no idea they were using it with out-dated PowerPC applications. They just ran!

    This factor was seen in abundance when many Snow Leopard users opted for the "free" upgrade to Mavericks.
  20. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
  21. MichaelLAX macrumors 6502a

    Oct 31, 2011
    This statement is wrong!

    It was a common Urban Myth that the Snow Leopard EULA did prohibit its virtualization in Lion, Mt. Lion and then Mavericks on a Mac. That myth has been debunked!
  22. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
  23. MichaelLAX, Dec 8, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014

    MichaelLAX macrumors 6502a

    Oct 31, 2011
    No need to bother...

    Apple rendered whatever was left of that debate moot when it dropped the price of Snow Leopard Server by 95% to the same $20 price as Snow Leopard client.

    I already pointed out in my original post in this thread (in the linked post): it is much easier to install, run and maintain Snow Leopard Server in virtualization!
  24. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    For the record

    The question under 'Third party virtual machines and Apple's SLA (Software Licence Agreement) for Snow Leopard on an Apple-branded machine' was ignored. The question was not specific to Lion, not specific to Parallels software.

    In a few topics MichaelLAX uses the word 'shill' to describe people who disagree with his interpretation. For what it's worth: I'm not a shill, plant or stooge.

    For those three things, and for other reasons, MichaelLAX is indefinitely listed as ignored by me.
  25. MichaelLAX macrumors 6502a

    Oct 31, 2011
    I am not sure why I have become the object of your scorn, but since I am now ignored by you, that is my preferable conclusion, too! ;)

Share This Page