The Macalope Daily: Your Lion eyes

What’s the deal with Lion?

Before it even came out, the PC press was desperate to tar it as Apple’s Vista—not as in “a pleasing view” sense but as in the craptacular operating system from Microsoft. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes even called it “more painful than Vista.”

Well, the Macalope never personally installed Vista so, while he imagines it was more painful than a proctologic exam from Hellboy, he can’t speak from personal experience. About either. Just to set the record straight.

Of course, most of the point of making the Vista comparisons was obviously to get Mac users all riled up, which is why the Macalope ignored them. The two operating systems are hardly comparable. Microsoft foisted Vista on its users after making them wait more than six years for an OS update. It wasn’t a viable alternative, though; most XP users waited another two and a half years for Windows 7 instead, meaning they had ended up waiting nine years for Microsoft to ship an OS update that they could actually use.

So, for starters, the pressure on Lion is so much lower. But moreover, it may just not be not that bad (tip o’ the antlers to TUAW).

Our epic battle has come to a close, with Mac OS X Lion winning six rounds outright and Windows 7 winning four. Both platforms tied in the special features category. So the final score for Mac OS X Lion is seven versus five for Windows 7.

Laptop magazine declares Lion the winner! Case closed!

Wait, who? Yeah, OK, the Macalope has probably seen Laptop magazine in an airport somewhere, but he’s not sure why he would really care which operating system their “winner” is—not that they don’t, for the most part, make some decent points.

It’s kind of a silly comparison, though. While you could run Windows 7 on your MacBook as its primary operating system, using Boot Camp, only a relatively few number of people are going to go that trouble. It’s like comparing AT&T’s data plan against Rogers. OK, Rogers is cheaper, but that’s not much help if I have to move to Canada to get it.

A more practical comparison would be between Lion and Snow Leopard. That’s really your other alternative.

The Macalope’s used OS X experimentally since Cheetah and as his primary OS since Puma. That’s almost 10 years. Overall, it seems obvious that the last two have been less impressive than Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, and Leopard. But the horny one wonders if we just aren’t more jaded. We’ve got other things to hang our collective hats on these days. It’s not just that the success of the iPhone and the iPad have made each upgrade to OS X emotionally less critical, they’ve made them practically less critical as we’ve replaced some of the hours we used to spend on OS X with hours spent on iOS.

There’s no denying some people have had real problems with Lion. But the Macalope’s really not sure these issues are any worse this time out. There are always problems. While it’s been a little rough around the edges for him at times, the Macalope thinks the improved security model and the new version of Mail have made it worth it.

Your mileage may vary.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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