Monday, 04 July 2011 10:57

Mac OS X Lion tipped for this week or next


July's here and the blogosphere is full of rumours about the exact release date for Lion, Apple's latest version of Mac OS X. And it seems there's some good news on the virtualisation front.

With the release to developers of the golden master build of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion at the end of last week, it shouldn't be too long before it reaches the rest of us. During the Lion presentation at the Worldwide Developers Conference last month, Apple merely revealed that the new OS would be released in July.

Speculation is now rife about exactly when Lion will appear in the App Store. (In case you've been incommunicado, we know that Lion will - at least initially - be available for existing Macs only from the Mac App Store as an upgrade from Mac OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard.)

Suggestions are flying around that Lion may arrive this week (July 6 is one specific date that's been mentioned) or next (July 14 is another supposed candidate). Both of these are US time, so add a day for Australia.

Given that it's a holiday weekend in the US, releasing the golden master (GM) on the Friday with the intention of starting sales on Wednesday doesn't give developers much time to provide Apple with feedback about any issues they uncover with the GM.

There are also reports (eg, MacRumors) that the Lion licence allows use on up to two virtual machines. The clause specifically limits use to each "Mac Computer" owned or controlled by the licensee.

What about virtualising Snow Leopard to keep Rosetta? Please read on.

Many potential buyers are asking whether the licence will permit the use of a virtualised copy of Snow Leopard so they will still be able to run older software (notably PowerPC programs) after upgrading to Lion. The Snow Leopard licence only allowed one copy of the operating system to be used, and prohibited the use of the previous version after the update, and the situation with Lion is not clear at this time.

Reasons for virtualising the same version of the OS include testing (eg, checking that a software update from Apple doesn't cause compatibility problems with existing applications) and to maintain compatibility with applications that don't function correctly after a minor update to Lion.

Virtualisation software running under Mac OS X includes Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion, and Oracle VirtualBox.

Lion will cost $31.99. Upgrading to the server version will cost another $51.99.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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