Mountain Lion – MacOS 10.8 has released — Time to upgrade??

The original July 26th post has been updated.  See the updated material below.  Greg

Well, if you are a Mac head, you’ll be thrilled to know that Apple has released the latest version of their MacOS, Mountain Lion or MacOS 10.8.  It’s what I’d classify as a “minor” release, which means that it doesn’t include significant new technology in the form of features or disruptive operating system changes (Microsoft’s Windows 8 will be a “major” release).

Apple

Apple is claiming about 200 new “features” in this release, though many of these features are minor changes to existing features or features for an international crowd (think China).  The new features that are interesting, like iMessage, better integration with iCloud, Notifications, and generally closer integration with IOS are interesting and certainly a bargain at $20.   Here are a few articles about the new OS for your reading pleasure:

  • NBC New’s Gadgetbox article
  • Boston Globe’s review
  • NY Time’s review (This one attempts to justify the cost of the upgrade vs. the new features)

Wheeeeeeeeeeee, let’s DO IT!!!!!

Whoa, not so fast!  Before you upgrade, consider your current  machine[s] and computing environment.  Though Mountain Lion is a minor upgrade, it’s a complete change of the OS software, which means that there will be older Macs, 3rd party apps and peripherals that aren’t (yet) supported.    The biggest difference which will effect older Mac support is that the Kernel will run exclusively on 64-bit systems.  This means that 32-bit Macs will not be supported with Mountain Lion.   So, check this list for Macs supported by Mountain Lion.  If you are still unsure, take your machine to your nearest Apple Store.

Next, check your apps to see if they have been successfully tested on Mountain Lion.   Many have been (like Microsoft Office 2008 and 2011), but a number haven’t been tested yet or they have shown to have serious issues (e.g., VMware Fusion).

For your peripherals, contact the appropriate support sites to see if Mountain Lion is supported.   Assume it isn’t until you get confirmation of support.

Apple has acknowledged that there are several bugs that they will have fixes for soon.  This is normal, but lends credence to the idea that one should give new OSes some time to bake before rushing to  upgrade.  For a release like this, I usually wait a month or so to see how things shake out.  By that point, many of the more universal issues will surface and some will get fixed.

Keep an eye on the aforementioned apps list as well as your peripherals support sites to detect when your favorite 3rd party stuff get supported.

Finally, when you do decide to upgrade, be sure to perform a backup of your data (see my post on this subject) and update all your apps and drivers before you upgrade to Mountain Lion.

August 20th update:

Now that Mountain Lion has been out for almost a month, here are a couple of additional bits of information.

First, it seems that more applications now work with the latest MacOS release, including VMware Fusion (must at the latest version: 4.1.3).  This is good.   I inventoried my apps at roaringapps.com, then for any that I had questions, went to the app manufacturer support site.  Most of my apps are now supported, though my Iomega software still doesn’t appear to be supported yet (it took over 6 months for Iomega to even acknowledge Lion version 10.7.x).   This stops me from upgrading at this time.

Also, there is a very good article on Mac Forums about how to upgrade to Mountain Lion.  I’d strongly recommend a read prior to upgrading.

Finally, the Mac community seems pretty lukewarm about Mountain Lion.     The aggravation vs. new functionality balance seems to be pitched towards aggravation, with many folks complaining about issues with the upgrade.  The general rule-of-thumb with OS upgrades is that the new or improved features need to significantly outweigh the potential upgrade issues to be worth the hassle.

Now, if you’re a hardcore early adopter, it probably doesn’t matter since you’ve already upgraded.    Any one have an experience to share?

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