Roar! How a $30 Upgrade to Mac OS X Lion Could Cost Me $699
For major software releases, it’s often best to avoid being an early adopter and let others work the bugs and kinks out first. See how I got a nasty bite from the new Mac OS X Lion. – Samantha
If you’re a Mac user, you may have heard about the new operating system, Mac OS X Lion, which became available for sale last week.
Normally, these things fly under my radar until the early adopters have ironed out all the kinks. But since I started writing a tech blog earlier this year, I’ve been paying closer attention.
I read some reviews, which all gave it the green light. Then David Pogue, the New York Times tech writer, gave it a positive review, and that’s all the push I needed. $30 later, I was purring contentedly while batting around the new Mac OS X Lion.
Nice Kitty Kitty
I was pretty happy with Lion. My calendar and address book apps look nicer. Mail has some good improvements, like showing all emails in the same thread on the same page. It saves everything, automatically. There’s the full-screen feature, which lets you maximize your current window to fill the entire screen with one click (something the PC has had for years, by the way).
With the new multi-touch gestures, a swipe of a paw to your trackpad or mouse this way and that lets you do various things – a convergence with the iPad / iPhone navigation style. And of course new applications like Launch Pad, a better looking version of the Applications folder.
Two hundred and fifty regal upgrades in all!
Then, the Big Bite
Imagine my surprise when I attempted to open Photoshop, an application I use daily, and saw this message:
The “PC” here stands for “Performance Computing” and has nothing to do with that other PC, the personal computer. PowerPC is the old Mac processor type prior to 2006. That’s the year Apple switched to the Intel processing chip.
Turns out, I did have fair warning. David Pogue stated in his review that Apple, in the name of streamlining and moving forward, has dropped support for Rosetta, “a software kit that allowed ancient programs to run on the Intel chips that Apple started using in 2006.”
Which means all PowerPC applications will cease to function in OS X Lion. What I didn’t realize was how “ancient” my copy of Photoshop CS2 was. Told you I wasn’t an early adopter 🙂
Bone Number One
Admittedly, I haven’t upgraded Photoshop in, ahem, a while. So I decide to throw Lion a bone and purchase the $199 upgrade.
But when I attempt to install the application, it won’t accept the serial number from my existing Photoshop program. It was purchased as part of the Adobe Creative Suite in 2006, and as it turns out – once you purchase a software suite, you’ve committed to upgrading the entire suite. You can’t just upgrade one program within the suite. Lesson #1.
To get back the $199 I already spent, I had to submit a “case” to Adobe, promise to destroy the installation file (done), and hope they grant a refund.
Bone Number Two
OK then. I’ll just purchase the Creative Suite upgrade, even though I really only use Photoshop, and move on with things. How much is that? That’s $399.
But remember – my Photoshop CS2 is ancient. That price is for a “point” upgrade. Jumping three points from CS2 to CS5 will set me back an astonishing $699. Abandoning the suite and simply buying Photoshop CS5 as a standalone product? Grrr… that’s $699 too.
“I’ll never get that iPhone!” I roared, pacing the floor and switching my tail angrily.
Put the Lion Back in His Cage
Then I pounced on an idea. I’ll just rollback my Mac to Snow Leopard. It’s cuter anyway.
I consulted in-house tech support, who for the record advised against upgrading to Lion in the first place, on the grounds that it was too new.
Rich pointed out that operating systems, like most software, are really not designed to go backwards. There’s no guarantee my data would survive the rollback.
I do of course back everything up to an external hard drive, but things were really getting complicated. I was starting to feel caged in.
For now I’ve decided to punt on the issue. I’ll keep my Mac on OS X Lion, and whenever I need Photoshop, I’ll use the outdated version on my antiquated PC. While I tug on my mane and mull over the alternatives, Mac users please take a minute to review the list of applications that are not compatible with Lion – before you find yourself caged in with me.
Apps That Will Not Work in Lion
- Adobe Creative Suite: versions CS2 and earlier
- Microsoft Office: 2004 and earlier (including Office X)
- Quicken and Quicken Essentials: all versions
- AppleWorks: all versions; replace with iWork or MS Office
- FileMaker Pro: versions 8 and earlier
- Macromedia Freehand/Studio: all versions; replace with Adobe apps
- Drivers: some older Epson or Nikon scanner drivers/utilities
- Bundled apps — Art Director’s Toolkit, GraphicConverter, OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner and Zinio Reader
The Bottom Line
Free patches or updates are often important for stability and security. Go ahead and install those. For major releases (paid or free), it’s often best to avoid being an early adopter and let others work the bugs and kinks out first.
On the other end of the product life cycle, older software can experience compatibility issues with newer systems, and vice versa. You don’t want to let existing software languish too long either. Like my ancient Photoshop.
This strategy should help you avoid bugs, compatibility problems, and keep total cost of ownership down as well. Plus, you get to enjoy all the new software goodies sooner.
What about you – do you like to buy software upgrades right away, or wait until you’re forced into it?
Photo credit: Zooborns