Snow Leopard Is The New Retro [Opinion]



Unlike the majority of my esteemed colleagues here at Cult of Mac – indeed, unlike almost everyone in my profession, it seems – I’ve not upgraded to Lion just yet.

My MacBook Pro is still running Snow Leopard like a, well, like a pro. It’s fast and stable and as things stand, I have no need to upgrade.

What’s more, I belong to the camp that likes to wait a while before upgrading. It’s not that I don’t believe the broadly positive comments in all the reviews I’ve read, and I’m not expecting to keep using Snow Leopard forever.

But past experiences have made me cautious. Sometimes – but not always – a hasty upgrade has caused regret. A computer that, pre-upgrade, was fast and dependable has been rendered slow and painful to use. Software I’ve used for years has ceased working, or ceased to work quite as well as it did before.

So my plan is to take things a little more slowly. I’ll wait a while, perhaps just a week, perhaps a few weeks, before clicking the Lion icon in the Mac App Store. I want to take my time, make sure the software I use most is compatible and up-to-date, and keep an eye out for other people’s real-world experiences with the new system. I just might learn a thing or two that could come in useful when I do decide to upgrade.

All of which means that, for the time being at least, I’m sticking with Snow Leopard and I’m perfectly happy with it.

How about you? Are you happy to stick with the system you’ve got, or do you think we should all move with the times (assuming our computers meet the right spec) and get with the Lion taming? Your views, as always, are welcomed.

  • carlosnvelez

    Completely agree. What’s the hurry? 

  • Daniel Middlecote

    I wish i did this – it is so much more sensible. Obviously though, clicked download as soon as it was live, and at the moment, this doesn’t seem like a bad decision.

  • Jan Wróblewski

    Hah! I’m not alone with my opinion about upgrades!

  • Adam Rosen

    I’m with you, Giles.  I have two systems on Snow Leopard and am no hurry to upgrade either one.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

  • landonius

    In hindsight, I probably should have stuck with Snow Leopard for a while longer.

  • poppa1138

    I wished I had not upgraded,after all it’s not a new OS,it’s just a service pack we had to buy.

  • dagamer34

    Out with the old, in with the new!

  • FarkFrankBurns

    Unfortunately being an early adopter has come back to haunt me. I have a first generation MBP, with the Core Duo as opposed to Core 2 Duo processor and am unable to upgrade. Other than replacing the battery and a noisy fan (upgraded the hard drive while I was in there), she runs great, so I can’t even rationalize upgrading yet.

  • Al

    When the 7.1 release is out, I’ll buy it and thus avoid some potential problems. No need to rush.

  • Adam Schneider

    I bought Lion yesterday and Snow Leopard was SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWW on my MacBook Pro running a Core 2 Duo. Now Lion gave it a little of a speed bump. So far I have not ran into any bugs but some issues with Java and Shockwave. The first time I watched Netflix, Safari crashed. So I downloaded Safari again and now it works fine. When I opened Photoshop CS4, there was no Java. So it opened Software Update and it installed it.

  • gerenm63

    You’re not alone. In our facility, we’ve got 22 Macs still on Snow Leopard, 6 on Leopard, 1 on Leopard Server and even an oldish MacBook Pro on Tiger. And, they all still work just as well today as they did yesterday. I’m the Guinea Pig here, and once I’m sure that everything we need to work does so correctly, then we’ll move. But not before.

  • Ben Amponsah

    haven’t really heard from any of my mates who might be using it so not sure what the score is but interestingly I have downloaded Lion but not installed it yet…

  • julienbertheas

    The same for me, my MBP for work will stay in SL until all my day applications are compatible… but thanks to I created a “dock” on the wiki to track compatibility evolution!
    In personal slide my MBA was freshly installed few hours after the release :D

  • justcallmeray

    I have a mid 2007 model Macbook Pro running Snow Leopard and am curiously waiting to see if Lion will have a POSITIVE or NEGATIVE impact on the performance. It feels like things ran better on 10.5 rather than 10.6. So highly doubtful if 10.7 will have any performance increase.

  • crateish

    I usually wait a few weeks, but Snow Leopard has slowed to a crawl for me, so it’s time for a system refresh anyway. Tomorrow I’m creating a flash drive boot disc, wiping my drive, and doing a clean install of Lion (after a final Time Machine and bootable backup of the current setup). It’s my understanding that my mid-2009 MBP should handle Lion fine.

  • charlie edwards

    So far only a shockwave error.  I’ve tested every individual app that didn’t come with lion and leopard and seems to be smoother on most apps.  iPhoto seems to be working much better, which is a huge deal for my wife.  I believe the external editor option in it was buggy.  Big deal: VMware seems to load faster.  Right now only Safari and a few widgets running and memory usage is up to 2.1 GB.  I recommend RAM max out if you can before Lion, especially if using a hypervisor daily. 

  • prof_peabody

    This is probably good advice, but for the record other than a few video glitches Lion is fairly rock solid so far for me.  The big differences are in the gestures and the way you work with it.  Lion is jarringly different from Apple’s previous OS’s in quite a few ways.  

    Now that I’ve installed it on two different machines, I can say definitively that if you have a MacPro with an ATI card you might want to wait for a driver update before installing.  My Mac Pro is noticeably slower than my iMac with Lion, even though the iMac is only slightly newer and the Mac Pro has more cores and enormous amounts of memory and video memory. 

  • prof_peabody

    What a ridiculous thing to say.  You know nothing about OS X it seems.  

  • breck

    Known Issues with Adobe products on Mac OS 10.7 Lion >

  • Douglas Thiel

    yup, waiting here as well. Lion is a huge upgrade. 10.7.1 or even 10.7.2 sounds like a sound strategy. Still… reading user reports on MacInTouch, tracking my apps’s status on RoaringApps — and a few important ones for me are still “unknown.”

  • munale

    i’ll probably just wait till IOS5 and just have a big ole day of it

  • Jaap

    I agree too. I downloaded as soon as possible and just what you said happened: My computer became slow and laggy. Before it was a lean, mean machine.
    I could do a TimeMachine restore but then I would have wasted E23,99… Or can I use the product again when I feel the need to upgrade?

  • Mike Rathjen

    I’m stuck on Snow Leopard due to Rosetta. A Lion upgrade would require several hundred dollars of software upgrades as well as finding alternatives for (or living without) software that has no Intel version.

  • Clydeskid

    Other than eye candy I don’t see that Lion offers anything to warrant even a 30 dollar upgrade. I’ll keep that 10 gigs Lion wants for a very Windows sounding recovery partition and stick with Snow Leopard. 

  • dldennis

    Funny, this reminds me of when Mac OS X was first coming out. I signed up to be a beta tester, installed the thing on my shiny new graphite iMac DV and it ran like crap! At least with that you could go right back to System 9 by using the Startup Disc control panel. (And O did the computer feel speedy again!) I doubt (seriously doubt!) that Lion will let you dump it and retrograde the system with any modicum of ease.
    Quite frankly, I’m turned off by all I’ve read about Lion; I don’t want the system simplified any further than OS X has already done. I get nostalgic for System 7, where it seemed like you could customize and personalize every single aspect to suit your needs! (Ah, me.)

    The only thing at present that’s appealing to me about Lion is the multi-touch aspect. I’d have to get a track pad first, but wouldn’t that be cool to pinch and swipe just like I do on my phone?!?

  • Hampus

    Windows sounding recovery partition?
    Windows doesn’t have a recovery partition, not normally at least, OEM put them on computers sometimes though. Normally you’d just put the disc in.

    Isn’t it possible to disable that recovery partition?

  • Hampus

    You could install Lion again at a later time yes, you have paid for it, it will be among your other purchased apps in the Mac App Store, ready to be installed at any computer you log in on.

  • John Alice

    I am holding off.  I don’t see any real benefit to “upgrading” to Lion.  I never open more than one or two apps at a time and don’t really care about adopting new gestures just for the sake of adopting new gestures.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 

  • Michael Womack

    I use Apogee music interfaces, some which have been discontinued just this year. I called Apogee, they have no plans to write software that allows the interfaces to work in Lion. Also, many of my music plugins won’t work either. So until Thunderbolt interfaces come along, AND I can dump another 5,000.00 into new audio interfaces, I’ll be with Snow Leopard a long, long time. But you know what? I don’t care, I like Snow Leopard :) Wasn’t in anticipation over Lion, but I do want my iOS5!!!!

  • Akula971

    I installed Lion on a spare drive in my Mac Pro. So Glad I kept Snow Leopard. The’ve changed, not doubt for the better the method used for addressing my NAS. Lion can see it, but cannot access it. So for me Lion is no good till that is fixed. You think they could have given the option of   still using the old method. Absolutely hate the new calendar and address book themes, had to download third party skins for them. So I’ve pulled the Lion disk out for the moment. I’ll wait until it does what I want, and if it never does? Then Snow Leopard it is then.

  • Forest Walker

    The benefits are far outweighing the possible ill effects for me so far. The full screen apps/browsing are great (on my tiny little 11″ air screen, this is a huge advantage). The gestures, launchpad, altered scrolling and UI tweaks are all refreshing changes as well.

  • David Rutan

    Not sure if you’re dealing with the issue I was, but there were two things that slowed me down:
    1) A bug in Parallels and 10.6.8 which caused cpu usage to go to 100% even when the app wasn’t running!  Updating Parallels resolved the issue.
    2) Running iDefrag helped quite a lot.  I tend to fill up my drives close to capacity on several occasions so the drive was extraordinarily fragmented.  You can check how bad yours is by downloading the iDefrag demo.

    Anyhow, Lion will run quite well on your MBPro :-)

  • TheDigitalPimp

    Sometimes the latest greatest thing ain’t necessarily so. It’s not that those of us who don’t upgrade are curmudgeons, but it’s more like “where’s the beef?” The answer to that question is personal.

    For me, gestures seem to be the key feature, and I just don’t care. I use a mouse 90% of the time. Full screen apps seem to be more of a Apple thing than something critical for 3rd parties. Can’t say I ever thought I needed that feature. The rest is meh.

    Snow Leopard is so rock solid, I think I’ll be keeping it around for a while. I’ll see Lion in a coupla years when I upgrade my machine.

  • Dilbert A

    yeah. “service pack”, what a tool.

  • TylerHoj

    I took my Snow Leopard out back and shot em dead. Lion is the new cat in town, and it’s MIND BOWING! 

  • TylerHoj

    Buying Lion gets you a free 90 days of software support via Apple. So when you eventually decide to join the rest of us in the future, you’ll have help to overcome the bugs. Why wait? It’s not like every single machine in the world running Lion will suddenly blow up, it just sounds like your taking too much precaution. I didn’t even back-up my files and I’m half way through writing a book and every things savvy. Suck it up old man.

  • Idongetit

    Work MBP will stay on SL. I downloaded and installed Lion on my home iMac and I like it…except for the stupid way Apple mangled swiping, in particular 2 finger swiping (I just want to move forward and backward, not page to page). So until Apple fixes the swiping issue (more options needed), I’d rather not infuriate myself with Lion on my work mac as I love the quickness of the trackpad as it is now under SL.

  • GrimWit

    Yep, my MacBook Pro is running just fine with Snow Leopard.  I have thought about it and thought about it but see no need to upgrade to Lion at this time or anytime soon.  I will definitely be waiting for all the fallout before thinking about again.

  • Tomas

    For years I was an eager early adopter – not any more.

    These days I prefer to wait until after the first maintenance release has been out for at least a week, with good reviews, before I’m wiling to commit my main machine to something drastically new.

    My biggest problem right now is at least one old app that requires Rosetta, that I’ve never been able to find a replacement for and never been able to find anything that can read it’s files (of which I have a few thousand).

    I’ll be waiting and watching while the new generation of early adopters work out all the bugs in Lion for me…


  • John

    My mac is my toy computer, and NZ$40 for a weekends entertainment isn’t to bad. 
    I have a Mac Mini 2008 2GHz with 2GB RAM and a 500GB HDD I replaced myself. It took longer to backup than to do the install, and initially I was very dissapointed by Lion, but initail spped problems I think were just spotlight and timemachine arguing over the disk for the first few hours. 24 hrs on and I like it mostly, but boy, is the intel GMA950 really showing its age now. I really wouldnt recommend this to an original macbook air owner, it would be worse than on the mini. 

  • crocodilejock

    I’m with you. Let the bleedin’ edge / early adopters test it for bugs! They’ll get fixed in 7.1, wait a day or two after that’s launched (I’ll give it a fortnight) and go for it. Delayed gratification is always better, anyway!

  • Rik Nemanick

    I downloaded Lion for my home iMac to play with it, but won’t be transitioning my MacBook Pro, which is my primary computer, for a while. This delay is because Quicken won’t run on Lion (with Apple having removed Rosetta), and QuickBooks 2010 not officially supported on Lion. I am investigating other options for tracking my finances, both personal and business.

  • Joachim Meek

    So I upgraded and was not so happy… Everything feels a bit slower on my 2009 15″ mbp, animations are not smooth. Would love to have the four finger down expose/mission control and four finger up desktop back. Don’t like the look of the finder (too grey).
    To revert to my old super smooth SL I had to use time machine, couple of hours later: everything working great again.

  • simon othen

    Upgraded macbook and disappointed with mission control…terrible that there is no option to keep using spaces and expose..for a pro using a trackpad is not a option and spaces works well with a mouse and being able to se a exact overview of all the applications open and where they are was a big plus for macintosh and os x…all that is now gone, at least let us toggle missions control and spaces if we want Apple !!!!! versions is crazy especially locking file and not letting you say trim a video capture and then just saving..i dont want 2 version apple !!!. I hate the black icon in finder and the fact that drives are now at the bottom…it all smells of apple wanting to grab ipad users and get them to spend $100 on a imac as well to me

    just my thoughts…

    so my imac will stay on snow leopard..i like spaces and expose and mission control is not a improvement it is a mess !!!!

  • Patrick Joseph Lines

    I sadly was not this smart and upgraded the day that lion was a option in the app store.  I soon found this to be a dreadful decision as features that  I depend on for my work environment, I’m the lone mac in a sea of Windows boxes. All of our data is stored in a Tera Station and I soon found that the new apple solution to SMB isnt as good as the old one forcing me to retro grade to Snow leopard.  Additionally, other programs that I use for my enjoyment would no longer work as they needed rosetta which lion lacks.  I feel that I have wasted $30 on a downgrade rather then a upgrade and that mac needs to get it sorted out or my next new toy wont be a mac!!! 

  • mijlee

    Although I love Lion and am in general glad that I upgraded, my discovery recently that my copy Axure 5 no longer works and that I will need to now pay for an expensive new version has soured it for me. Hoping that they release a patch but from what I understand they are concentrating on Axure 6 and improving it’s compatibility :(

  • FortuneWolf

    l am still using my beloved Snow Leopard and so far no regrets.l loved all the new stuff and things about Lion. But just like you, l will be patient and wait before going to Lion.My Mac is running smoothly and l just made my respect for this company even deeper.

  • Foo

    I just switched back to Snow Leopard after 9 months of Lion.