Mac Update: Snow Leopard to El Capitan

A few weeks ago, I finally made the jump from Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) to 10.11 (El Capitan) on my primary computer. I had been using 10.11 at work for months, but not at home. I was probably one of the last holdouts on hardware that could be updated. Some of the reasons were:

  • software that wouldn’t work after the update, such as Quicken 2005 (have no replacement yet), Office X (using LibreOffice), and Parallels 5 (using VirtualBox)
  • worry about privacy concerns with a more “connected” OS
  • possible problems updating iTunes and iPhoto libraries
  • possible problems with such a large jump
  • general update time and problems
  • possibility of worse performance
  • disliking some of the direction Apple has been taking
  • lots of EULA reading material (yes, I’ve been reading these lately)

There were many reasons to do the update though:

  • 10.6 hadn’t been updated for security since 2013 and for general bugs since 2011
  • Safari stopped receiving updates when the OS did, at version 5.1. Not my primary browser, but before the security updates stopped, I had used it for secure transactions to segregate them from my normal browsing.
  • Chrome stopped providing updates in March 2016, version 49. Not my primary browser, but still.
  • Firefox finally stopped providing updates in August 2016, version 48. This was my primary browser and definitely a concern.
  • Calibre stopped receiving updates at 1.48, which didn’t have support for my kobo.
  • Quicksilver stopped receiving updates in 2013 and some things had broken when it tried to auto-update.
  • Atom, my primary text editor at work, never was released for 10.6, leaving me on Sublime at home.
  • Occasional bugs and probably older versions of macports
  • Other software also stopped receiving updates or couldn’t be installed.

Also, the OS had received updates in the years since 10.6, some of which I liked, such as:

  • Finder tabs, long desired.
  • File tagging, also long desired, though maybe not implemented as well as I would like and not portable across OS’s.
  • Sidebar thing, quicker and better than the dashboard for looking at a few things (I have weather and stocks there)
  • mission control is an improvement over exposé, though it took a while to win me over.
  • bluetooth was really slow on 10.6, and seems to be better now
  • lots of other bug-fixes, tweaks, and polish

I was certainly getting to the point where security was a potential concern. But the Calibre update was what finally won me over: I got some e-books from the 10kapart contest that I wanted on my e-reader. Much easier to read there.

I am not yet done with the update, but I have most things working that I need regularly. The update went very smoothly, surprising for jumping that many versions. I just had to download from the App Store, and the install went smoothly. I am mostly pleased with the results. Installing a new OS version always gives a nice, new feel, sometimes more-so than hardware these days, and can be fun configuring.

I have a partition set aside for installing 10.6. I will either use that for running older software on or use one of the old iBooks I have sitting around.