Updated December 17th, 2015.
We all like new stuff. With Apple’s new Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) coming out tomorrow and for only $29.99 it’s oh-so-tempting to download it as soon as possible. But I wouldn’t do that if I were you. You might end up with a better operating system, but you might also end up with a printer that doesn’t print, a scanner that doesn’t scan, installers that don’t install, and programs that won’t launch.
Your best course of action is to wait. While you’re waiting, do your homework: find out whether your printer will work with 10.7, and whether your scanner will work with 10.7, and whether your programs will work with 10.7. I would guess that they might not.
Here is a partial list of software that I know you will have trouble with after installing Mac OS X Lion.
- Microsoft Office 2004 (won’t run at all)
- Microsoft Office 2008 (installer and auto-updater are PPC)
- Quicken (any version other than “Quicken Essentials”)
- FileMaker Pro 7 or earlier (won’t run at all– and later versions have issues)
- Palm Desktop
- Adobe Creative Suite CS2 or earlier (Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2, InDesign CS2, etc.) won’t run at all
- AppleWorks (won’t run at all)
In some cases, solutions exist but they all cost money. For example, you can upgrade to Adobe Creative Suite 5.5,* upgrade to Microsoft Office 2011 (get the Business Edition if you want Outlook), upgrade to FileMaker Pro (but don’t rush out to do that– I would not bet on the current version working on Day One). In other cases, there is no upgrade to be had– not for Quicken, not for Palm Desktop, not for AppleWorks. In those cases, you’d be looking for another program to use. You’d better think about exporting the data from those applications before you install 10.7– if you can’t launch, you can’t export.
UPDATE: you can download Microsoft Office 2011 (Home and Student Family Pack– 3 Installs, or Home and Business– 2 installs) from the Amazon Mac Software Store via this link.* Sorry, they don’t have the single-installation versions available for download but if you need it now, you need it now.
I am sure that in time most (but not all) of the incompatibilities created by Lion will be dealt with. The key phrase is “in time.” Don’t expect everything to work right away. My advice: wait. Let someone else find out that stuff doesn’t work. Give developers time to gather bug reports and put out some updates. Make your move to Lion after that.
When you do decide to go to Lion, please make sure that you have a backup. If things go wrong it would be nice to be able to go back to 10.6.8.
UPDATE 2: the people at RoaringApps.com are compiling an extensive Lion compatibility table. See it at http://roaringapps.com/apps:table. Notable on the list: Microsoft Office 2004 (does not work), Microsoft Office 2008 (tested, has some problems), Microsoft Office 2011 (tested, has some problems). What a great time to switch to Apple’s iWork. Here’s a link to a good deal on it at Amazon.