Friday, July 29, 2011

Lion - Showstopping "uh oh"

So I've had a bit of a rough go of getting Lion up and running this week, but I am now running Lion on my desktop, and my Laptop is about half setup. As we've begun testing, we have encountered a bug/feature that is a total showstopper for us at this point.

Here's how you replicate it.

(1) Place a photo on a server.

For us, this is where we recommend people keep important files. Their desktop may be backed up with time machine, but the server is RAID 6 with hot spares, and on top of that is backed up. Much, much safer.

(2) Open that photo in preview. Crop it so that you can print it. Close preview. Notice it didn't ask you if you wanted to save?

(3) Open that file again. It's still cropped. The original? Gone. Choose "Revert to Saved" from the file menu. Notice the large number of empty windows on the right? Yup, you can't get back to the prior version, even though you never saved.

Now, as a network administrator, imagine the consequences of this for your network. Users accessing shared files and making changes they need, but not saving them because they don't need to be saved. Yup, their version is now THE definitive version for the entire network.

The ability to do non-destructive edits is something that computer users have been doing since, well, the dawn of computing more or less. Lion removes this. Now, add on top of that user mistakes in a network environment. User accidentally deletes all the text from a 24 page document. They don't know what to do so they close the app. Unless the backup has run since that 24 page document was created, it's gone. Forever. And ever. Amen.

So you make sure time machine runs every fifteen seconds on the server. Problem solved right? Well, what if it's six months before that file is opened again (and discovered to be blank). Hope you have petabytes of backup storage, because you are going to need it.

Time machine is great. The idea behind versions is great. But as it exists now, Lion is a recipe for catastrophic data loss on the network. Auto-save of this type simply does not work in a share document network environment.

For years I've laughed at windows shops who clung to old versions of windows as long as they could because the new ones were so bad (I'm looking at you, Vista) that they didn't want to use them on their network. Suddenly I emphasize with them, because I don't see any way I can allow a Lion machine to access our server until this is resolved.


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