Although it’s been over two months since my last blog post, surprisingly there’s not much to report in the Mac troubleshooting world. Apple hasn’t released any updates to Lion (holding at 10.7.2), and there haven’t been any major bug-fix updates to the Mac apps our client’s commonly use.

Questions about Lion haven’t slowed down though. At least a few times a week I’m asked… “Is it safe to update to Lion?”, “What are your current thoughts on Lion?”, “Help, I bought a new Mac with Lion!”.

Over the last couple of months, All Covered has completed a few Lion workstation and server projects. As expected, we’ve run into a myriad of gotchas, where basic things that should have only taken a few minutes ended up consuming the entire day.

I’m still telling people to avoid Lion on production workstations for as long as possible, but make it a priority to setup Lion on a test Mac ASAP to begin identifying what does and doesn’t work within their environment. We’ve experienced problems with getting older printers to work with Lion, encountered a lot of SMB related issues, found a few older incompatible peripherals, and discovered many strange instability issues.

The only compelling feature that Lion has to offer, in my opinion, is iCloud. If you own an iPhone or iPad running iOS 5.x, you’re probably itching to upgrade your Mac to Lion to begin using this feature. All I can say is, if your Mac is currently running 10.6.8 just fine, upgrading to Lion now is likely going to be an exercise in frustration. At a minimum, make sure you have a full clone of your Mac on an external device before upgrading. Trust me on this.

And don’t even get me started about Lion Server. It is by far the worst “upgrade” Apple has churned out in recent memory. It’s so NOT ready for primetime I wouldn’t even call it beta, it’s alpha at best. Why Apple would decide to purposely dumb down things by removing features and options is beyond me, plus Lion Server’s new replacement for Samba (SMBX) introduces a whole new era of SMB problems.

If you have no other option, Lion can be made to work for the most part, as long as all of your apps are recent and up to date. Don’t underestimate how much time you may need to invest in troubleshooting oddball Lion behavior. Also make sure Macs upgraded to Lion have all available firmware updates applied (this can get easily overlooked when deploying Lion using imaging methods).

As I’ve stated before, I’d guess Lion will be fairly stable around the 10.7.4 mark… which would mirror when previous OS X released had moved past the initial growing pains phase. Apple is currently seeding the third preview release of 10.7.3 to developers, and it will likely be made public in late January.