Jul 12 2012
A clean installation of Mountain Lion GM fixed the performance issues. Which means that the old Windows rule also applies to Apple’s operating systems: Never upgrade, always install a fresh system on a freshly formatted hard disk.
However, the behavior of the dock, the menus and even the web browsers (who no longer visually indicate that you are hovering over a hyperlink) remain. From what I was told by other Mountain Lion users, this is by design. I hear Bill Gates saying “it’s a feature, not a bug”. Nevertheless, for me this feels buggy like hell and the changed UI concepts don’t work for me. I don’t like it and don’t feel comfortable with the new behavior, end of story.
I will now slowly re-install my load of software onto this machine and see how it goes. VLC already is not fully compatible with Mountain Lion and shows some weird interface issues (like player controls that do NOT disappear automatically) and it does not always close properly. VLC actually IS also one of those applications for which you have to de-activate Gatekeeper before you are allowed to run it because the VLC team apparently has not registered with Apple and accordingly Gatekeeper blocks the execution of the VLC player.
That brings me to one major design flaw in Gatekeeper: You can only turn off the thing completely when you intend to use “software from unknown sources”. You cannot add exceptions for specific applications. It MIGHT add some additional security to the system when you have Gatekeeper running in the background, but it is an awfully weak design to only offer the user to disable the thing entirely when he or she just wants to use ONE “application from an unknown source”. Apple clearly did not invent security concepts and they don’t deserve any laurels for this “it’s all or nothing” design.
However, since I still believe that Gatekeeper is only there to slowly prepare OS X users for a world where the Mac AppStore will be the ONLY source of software, it doesn’t surprise me that all those smart people in Cupertino did not come up with a simple feature that allows the creation of Gatekeeper EXCEPTIONS. So I say that it never was their design goal to make the system safer – my bet still is that they only wanted to make the platform more closed to increase their Mac AppStore business.
By the way, I’m not interested in any comments from blind and rabid Apple fanboys – keep your comments on Macrumors or other sites where they find the audience that they deserve. Polite comments are welcome even when they criticize me – it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Or as we Germans say, “der Ton macht die Musik”.
I found one culprit for at least -some- of the “glitches” that I mentioned: The Cyborg RAT 7 Contagion drivers for OS X. As it seems, the drivers are not yet Mountain Lion compatible and seem to cause some of the weird behaviors.
UPDATE 2: There is a new beta driver for the Cyborg RAT7 available on the company’s ftp server. I don’t know yet if it fixes the problems or not. Other than that, restoring the Mac is coming along nicely enough, but it’ll still take a while. Except for the initial showstoppers, Mountain Lion feels now very fast and responsive – better than Lion, actually. It’s been too long to remember how Snow Leopard or even Tiger were, but I think that Mountain Lion now is the fastest cat in the jungle.
What never fails to annoy me is that with each new OS X release, Apple –will– break compatibility with many applications and it usually takes the authors several weeks or even months to fix that. And most of the time, they only fix it with a pay-for update. Microsoft does a MUCH better job when it comes to backwards compatibility, you have to give them that.
At the moment, I already have a Cyborg RAT7 Contagion mouse that causes problems and an HP Officejet 4500 for which HP only provides Lion drivers that will NOT install on Mountain Lion (and I do not yet know how good and complete the drivers are that Apple ships with ML). I’m still installing software and restoring data and have not yet seriously tried any application on ML yet. I don’t even know if I can re-install Microsoft Office and other stuff.
The good news so far: My old Photoshop Extended CS3 could be installed on Mountain Lion – but it does NOT connect to the Adobe update server anymore, I had to download the available patches manually from their download website. I don’t know if this was a temporary problem with Adobe’s server or if CS3 has a problem with Mountain Lion’s networking subsystems. And no, I will NOT spend a couple of hundred bucks to upgrade to CS6 just to get a version from Adobe that MIGHT be fully Mountain Lion compatible. The only feature that I would be interested in – content-aware fill – is also a feature in Pixelmator – and buying Pixelmator was much cheaper than upgrading Photoshop. For everything else, good old CS3 works perfectly fine for me.