OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) Late Night Review

I got a copy of Mountain Lion and rather than double clicking and upgrading I decided to make a bootable Mountain Lion USB drive. You will need a 8gb USB thumb drive for this, or if you prefer a DVD, you will need a dual layer 8gb DVD. For the fast and easy way to do this grab a copy of the Lion Disk Maker tool. I am not walking you through this, Google will find plenty of examples for you.

I was already running Lion so I booted the Mountain Lion USB by holding down the Option key and selecting the USB Device. Worked just fine on my mid 2009 MBP. I installed with no issues and it upgraded Lion without a hitch. The performance on the other hand was rather irritating. I have a lot of crap on my box, I like to program and test open source stuff so maybe it’s simply that my machine has been altered so I just decided to do a clean install.

I broke out my external backup drive and copied all my important stuff and rebooted into Mountain Lion installer again this time using Disk Tools and wiped my drive. I then installed Mountain Lion fresh. Let me just say, way better! Fast as hell on my 2.8 Ghz Intel Core 2 with 4 GB Ram MBP, but shouldn’t it be? I put my important stuff back, installed iLife ’11 and some apps from the AppStore, Pages for one. After a couple of iLife updates I’m in business.

First Impressions –

The damned thing upgraded Lion to Mountain Lion like nothing. I was impressed considering Lion would not upgrade Snow Leopard and I was forced into a clean install simply because I used BootCamp to run Linux.

So I really like the Notes and the syncing between my other Apple toys – been waiting for this since I got the first 2G iPhone to be honest. I never did understand why Apple decided to put notes into mail. WTF, right? I can just send myself an e-mail from anywhere and be done with it if I wanted that! I still would have liked the notes app to be accessible from the StatusBar like some other note apps I’ve seen over the years, and tearing a note off to the desktop and making a sticky post-it style note would be pretty cool Correction, you can pull the notes off onto the desktop and make it a sticky. Apple must have read my notes complaint last year?

Messages and Facetime, both work flawlessly! I set up Google Talk and with SMS messaging over iCloud, a feature I’ve wanted for some time, I am in SMS/MMS heaven! IRC would be cool, but again, can’t have everything.

The Notification Center is ok, even though it tells me stuff that I really don’t need to know. Really, who sits around waiting for e-mail to arrive that is so important that you need a popup? I do like the calendar event notifications though and over time, as more applications make use of the Notification Center, it will come in handy. Sorry Growl, Apple likes to make software useless over time – if I had .99 cents every time Apple obsoleted some app by adding the functionality into their products I’d have all my money back!

Techie Crap –

Alright, who gives a shit about all that – what about Macports: Gimp 2.8, and MyPaint? Well, I installed Macports and successfully built Geany, MyPaint and added a pretty GTK theme – worked fine. This required that I install XCode 4 and the command line tools. Next thing I did was compile some C++ scripts in the terminal. Again, no issues. Python and Ruby are both there and working as expected. I installed MacRuby and had the build fail though. A proper point to the /Library/Framework in the search path was all that was needed. I did find it interesting that I had to enable my computer as a developer machine during my first compile. Whatever, control freaks!

I also installed NimbleKit and PhoneGap – both work as expected. CodeBlocks also worked well – it always crashed from time to time so I’m not blaming this one on Apple. Then I added Editra and it’s plugins and I’m pretty happy. This is the extent of my development crap; although, I may install Lazarus just to see if that still works. It worked in Lion so I imagine it will work in Mountain Lion.

Now, the last thing for me to do was to install XQuartz because x11 is no more and if you want to run Gimp, Inkscape or any other open source app that runs in x11 you’ll need it. Installed xQuartz and both Inkscape and Gimp 2.8 run perfectly fine, but a popup will ask for the x11 location. Don’t pick from the list, just manually point to it. It lives in /Applications/Utilities/XQuartz — that’s a one time thing. It does take a little long for these to load, but not that big of a deal if you want some decent free graphics tools.

Now when you install and try and run these non-AppStore goodies that you download on the internets you will need to go directly to the file and Right Click, then Open. If you don’t it simply won’t run. For your safety a popup will show asking if you want to open it and hell yes you do or you wouldn’t have downloaded the damned thing in the first place, right? More of that control creepiness from Apple – like those creepy guys in Lifetime movies who stalk their wives. This pain in the ass is called Gatekeeper and it’s not a big deal, yet. If it annoys you set it to run anything in prefs…

So in closing Mountain Lion is a revamped Lion with some nice new Applications and some future lock down tools in place. Everything I ran on Lion is running on Mountain Lion without any issue including VirtualBox. My only suggestion is that if you decide to upgrade do a clean install, and keep a USB boot drive in case you need to reload your system(s) again at some point. It will save you time not downloading from the AppStore again if your system gets messed up, that’s if you can even get to the AppStore…

Hope this was helpful, interesting, or at least a time killer while at work… I’m tired and should go to bed.

Ah, I’m rested and it’s a few days later and I realize that I didn’t bitch about hardware life at Apple. It does piss me off that ‘not so very old’ hardware looses OS functionality as ploy to get people to upgrade. This is a tactic Apple uses on the iPhone, but the iPhone has a shorter shelf life and doesn’t cost as much as a desktop or laptop. Really Apple?