Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

More on Mountain Lion

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

It’s been a few days since I wrote my Mountain Lion first impressions so it’s about time for a bit of reflection.

The good

Earlier I mentioned performance was a little sluggish on my Mac since upgrading. Although some things seem very slightly slower than on Lion, on the whole, performance is as it was before upgrading. I think the reason for the noticeable difference last time was to do with a large post-upgrade Time Machine backup.

I also mentioned some problems about GateKeeper at the time, i.e. I couldn’t see it working, even though it appeared to be enabled. This is actually down to me not knowing enough about it – it is working, but not how I expected it to.

I’d also suggest reading Lifehacker’s Top 10 Secret Features of OS X Mountain Lion for a few partly-hidden-but-cool new features.

The bad

So there are some issues that have cropped up.

  • Firstly, GateKeeper seems to be a bit of a damp squib of a feature. Despite my previous posts about apps not being signed, it would appear that all of your apps that were present at the point of upgrade will be automatically allowed to run post-upgrade whether they’re signed by Apple or not. And, any apps that aren’t signed, can be permitted when they’re launched, provided that you right-click the app’s icon and select ‘Open’ (i.e. they won’t run from the Dock or if you simply double-click them). You only need do this once, agree to the warning, and then they’ll run as normal. Whilst I suppose this offers some improvement to security, I expect users will get used to permitting apps this way and won’t bat an eyelid when faced with a trojan horse that isn’t signed.
  • If you had Java previously installed, then you’ll probably find it missing after the upgrade. When you come to a site that requires it, you’ll have the option of installing it, although you’ll then need to restart your web browser. On the one hand, Java is increasingly irrelevant and a security risk if not kept up to date – I expect that some users will never need to install it. Frankly, I’d kill it with fire if I could, but I need it if I ever have to do work from home and need access to work’s computers via Sun Secure Global Desktop, which is Java based. Same goes for X11 – it’s downloaded and installed when needed, not by default. Saves disk space I suppose.
  • Mission Control (what happens when you press F9) sometimes doesn’t work, and to fix it requires a reboot or restarting the Dock process.
  • There seems to be a bug in the current release of Firefox (14.0.1) which means that when you click a link in another app, such as Twitter or Mail, the URL isn’t passed to Firefox if it isn’t already open – Firefox just launches with your home page. If Firefox is already open, then it works fine. Chrome, Safari and Opera all seem fine though.

And the ugly

I’ve not had any major issues, other than those already mentioned. But Dave2 has, and I would suggest reading his review before upgrading. Two of his four Macs have developed serious problems as a result of the upgrade which even a fresh Mountain Lion install hasn’t fixed.

I would, therefore, suggest that you may want to wait until version 10.8.1 is out, to fix some of the initial teething troubles. But despite everything, I do feel it is a worthwhile upgrade – £14 isn’t much to ask and there are some nice new things, even if I only expect to use one or two of the new features.

One Comment

  1. Java is required by newer Adobe Creative Suite apps. When one of them can’t find it, you are asked if you want to install it, at which point the Adobe app crashes. I ended up having to hunt down a website which uses Java so I could be prompted to install that way, just so I could use Adobe CS6. Just one more problem to pile on the heap…