Notes from a Linguistic Mystic

Around this time last year, I reviewed OS X 10.7 “Lion”, and as you may recall, I wasn’t that enthusiastic about it. I felt like Lion broke more than it gave users, and was especially skewed against power users.  I’m delighted to say that, although not everything wrong with Lion is fixed in Mountain Lion, it’s still a much better effort.

After installing it, I’ve managed to get nearly everything working, and there was MUCH less breakage than Lion’s release.  In addition, frankly, there were a whole bunch of actual gains from upgrading, which quickly overshadowed the few troubles which did come up.  I love the ability to text my iOS using friends from the messages app, and Airplay mirroring to modern AppleTVs is REALLY slick, to the degree that it’s tempting me to get an AppleTV of my own.   Notification center looks promising, and Time Machine backups to multiple disks (for redundancy) finally works!

A few notes for installing, focused on the particularly nerdy people:

  • Homebrew items may need to be removed and then installed again.

  • SVN install via Homebrew breaks. Symlink fix here: https://github.com/mxcl/homebrew/issues/13586

  • wxpython binary packages will say “This installer has been damaged”.  That’s Apple for “This installer isn’t signed”.  Go to Gatekeeper preferences and allow unsigned packages to install it.  This is poor communication from

  • GPGMail is broken, as expected with a major Mail.app rewrite.  Give them time, but every other GPGTools program is working fine.

  • Creating a bootable backup, especially for those of us who no longer have CD drives, just keeps getting easier

  • TotalSpaces gets rid of the biggest annoyance from Lion, their destruction of real Spaces support, and also can remove the “Change space” animation entirely.  Hallelujah!

  • “Save as” is back,  kind of.

So, in short, I’m actually recommending Mountain Lion to friends and family, the same ones I advised to skip Lion.  Apple has finally sweetened the pot enough to merit taking the functionality losses and annoyances you’ll inherit from Lion, and enough 3rd party apps are around to stitch up some of the remaining wounds.   You’ll need to make that call on your own, and it may not be a bad idea to wait for a point release, but as an early adopter of the new OS, I’m on board, and glad I am.


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