Thoughts on Lion

Posted on by Larry

We are all looking forward to the release of Lion on Wednesday this week.

So I thought I’d dust off a few thoughts from operating system upgrades from year’s past – just to prevent any problems.

First – and most important – NEVER upgrade anything in the middle of a project. Lion will be just as dandy if you wait to upgrade when your project is complete. Yes, Lion is new. Yes, Lion is exciting. But both of those pale into insignificance if the upgrade breaks something on your edit system.

ALWAYS upgrade between projects.

Second, Lion is a big upgrade. For this reason, I recommend not upgrading any production systems for at least three months after a new OS ships. Give the third-party developers time to make sure everything works properly. Nothing is worse than upgrading only to discover that one filter you REALLY need for your project doesn’t work.

Third, a couple of weeks ago, I contacted Apple to see if Lion would bring any new features to Final Cut Pro X. Apple told me that it would not. My hope is that Apple will have new updates for FCP X in the near future, however, I don’t expect that at the same time as a Lion release.

For all these reasons, I recommend taking a cautious approach to upgrading any systems that you depend upon for editing. If you have a machine that you can spare for testing, by all means, give Lion a whirl.

Just be really, really, really cautious about putting it on any systems you depend upon until Apple has released at least one maintenance update.

Practicing patience can be difficult. But not being able to output a project is far worse.


17 Responses to Thoughts on Lion

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  1. Sebastian says:

    Yep. Lion Golden Master running here. No changes to Final Cut Pro X indeed. Not even full screen mode.

    Larry, do you happen to have any thoughts on what it means paid updates for Final Cut Pro X?

    Do you think there will be paid updates before the basic pro functionality is added?

    Thanks Larry.

    • Larry says:

      My GUESS is that we will see free updates for FCP X before we see paid updates. If you think about this, that’s what Apple has traditionally done with all their software. A big release costs money, while incremental updates are free. I would expect the same for FCP X.


      • Larry says:

        There were some initial rumblings that Lion would provide new features for FCP X. However, as I wrote, Apple has told me this is not the case.


        • Larry says:

          Apple announced this morning they will provide Lion on a thumb-drive for $69 in August. This is important, because not all Macs have an optical disc player – for example, the MacBook Airs.


  2. Ed Huber says:

    This is exactly the advise I needed. Like you say, “patients can be difficult”, but worth it. It is actually a little easier now after a few VERY disappointing Apple debacles. I have lost a bunch of trust in Apple and will never be an early Apple adopter again.

  3. Thanks for the info Larry.

    I never updated my edit suite with new versions of Mac OS X with at least 6 months of launch.

    Several people felt that with the arrival of the Lion would change something in FCP X, I never believed that.

  4. Patric says:

    This is the first OS to be distributed exclusively via the App store. Any thoughts on this?
    I’m VERY hesitant to have a download-only version of my OS.

    What if, heaven forbids, your Mac has a major crash?

    I had that once or twice in the past – and I was very lucky to have a physical disc at hand to repair my installation.

    Since I’ve lost my trust in Apple, I’d rather buy my OS on a disc – even if it costs a bit more.

  5. Dean says:

    Hi, Larry. For those of us who want to continue running FCP7.0.3, I’ve read that Lion lacks Rosetta, which may mean that it won’t be possible to install FCP7 on a Lion clean install, though it will be possible to upgrade a Snow Leopard machine with FCP7 on it and continue using it. Your thoughts on this are much appreciated.


    • Larry says:


      All I know is that Apple said FCP 7 runs on Lion. They didn’t indicate whether Rosetta would be necessary. So, I don’t know the answer to this question.


  6. Allynn says:

    Ok.. so Apple said **FCP 7** would run on Lion but what about the rest of the suite? I would be more worried about DVD Studio Pro since I don’t think it was updated at all last go around.

    Anyone know anything else that works/doesn’t work on Lion? What about QT Pro 7 and the half a dozen things that rely on it’s underpinnings?

    I’m not changing OS’s anytime soon. Heck, I’m still running Leopard on a couple of machines. No particular reason… I just hate the hassle of upgrading the OS (must be a throw back from my deep, dark Windows days!).

  7. Claes says:

    With Lion Rosetta is history. That’s a given, no matter how we upgrade to Lion. On my computer, all FCP suite apps indicate that they are Universal, meaning they will be just fine. It’s the ones that are Power PC that won’t work, like my copy of Quicken 2006.

    For anyone with questions about what will run, I recommend that you clone your current boot drive onto a new drive and then install Lion on top of that (or do a clean install on a clean drive). That way, you can play around and check things out and if something doesn’t work and it’s a deal breaker, you can always just boot from your old drive and have lost nothing.

    I still have a boot drive for Leopard sitting around even though I’ve been on Snow Leopard for ages.

  8. BenB says:

    Lion even has a web-only install method for a blank drive.
    I’m running FCPX & Lion on three systems, no problems at all so far.
    This actually seems like the most bug free OS update Apple has ever done.

  9. BenB says:

    All Final Cut Studio 3 apps run fine in Lion, as long as you download and install ALL updates for Snow Leopard, QT 7 Pro, and FCS3, FIRST.

  10. David Kuhnen says:

    BenB, it’s interesting you made two separate entries here.

    Are you saying the only way to have FCP3 “run fine” in Lion is to upgrade a Snow Leopard system?

    Is it unstable if you install Lion on a blank drive and then install FCP3 followed by Software Update?

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