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One Year with Lion (1)

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CUPERTINO (Rixstep) — Apple's OS X 10.7 Lion was introduced one year ago next week. It's been a bumpy ride. Lion's successor is due out within days. Let's hope for something a bit better.

'10.7 Roars, Win7 Trembles'

Microsoft never had any of the cool catty names. Their predecessor to Win7 was 'Vista' after the post-Allchin makeover and what a view it was. People on the Apple side would soon be claiming Cupertino had their own 'Vista' in 10.7.

But 10.7 Lion started well enough with gobs of security features Gates and Ballmer desperately need but Unix can mostly yawn at - ASLR, sandboxes, full disk encryption, to name a few. Charlie and Dino were lyrical. Lion wasn't a hacker's paradise.

'Ten Days After'

Ten days later and people's cheeks weren't so rosy anymore. Safari turned out to be a formidable cookie monster. It still won't block third party sites and now it hides cookies all over the place.


Multithreading went wild with new system threads spawned in client application address space, burning up older hardware and generally wreaking havoc. That old adage about giving researchers yesterday's technology to work on their new groovy ideas came back to haunt.

Then someone at Apple left the battery password in the clear and of course Charlie Miller immediately found a way to exploit it. Best trojan/rootkit combo ever.


Now /etc/hosts started acting up. A new batch of great (but undocumented and unusable) ideas from Apple's UE engineer elite.


The great new Apple Mail - or so it was touted - proved to be a bit of a dog too. It still won't offer 'user in control' feedback without the speakers turned on. Someone in that UE engineer elite forgot to read their SAA/CUA.

'Those are bugs!!1!' someone posted to YouTube.

'Kernel Panics'

More signs things were definitely not alright in that California town.

Kernel panics are the worst thing in the world. They're scary - downright scary. And Apple's touted MACH architecture is supposed to virtually eliminate them. But the ingenuity of Apple engineers can never be underestimated. Suddenly OS X was downright crash-prone.

'Battle of the Bulge'

The same attention to high quality engineering started turning up on the desktop. People started sending in screenshots of bulging scroll bars and warped windows. Apple again at the avant-garde of computer science with yet another gem never before (or again) seen in the entire industry.

It really takes a lot of effort and imagination on the part of a conscientious developer to even dream how such an embarrassing thing would be possible. Apple excel in so many ways.

'Lion OWNED!'

The fun just kept on coming. By mid-September Michael Evsteen found a foolproof way to root any Lion box. Brilliant.

$ dscl localhost -passwd /Search/Users/<YOU>

Evsteen reported on the bass-ackward Apple 'fix' one month later. Quite a few further bloopers were mentioned in the autumn security update. Some of them were staggering facepalms.

'I keep telling myself that there must be some mistake, there's something I'm missing', wrote Sean Collins. 'This is bad.'

'More Lion Screen Munge'

Further screenshots popped in to the Rixstep inbox showing that Lion 10.7.2 was growing by leaps and bounds.

Apple's OS X 10.7 Lion was clearly not anywhere near ready for prime time.

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See Also
Industry Watch: 10.7 Roars
Industry Watch: Lion: Kernel Panics
Industry Watch: Lion: 'Ten Days After'
Industry Watch: Got Lion? Get OWNED?
Industry Watch: Apple Lion Security Update

The Technological: OS X Lion 10.7.2 WTF?
The Technological: Lion's Bulging Scroll Bars

Developers Workshop: Apple Rooting Their Own Systems?
Developers Workshop: Fireworks in Apple's /usr/bin/clang

9,737 files (97,370 data cells) in 0.143 seconds. Beat that, Apple.

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