Pondering an Upgrade

While my first Time Machine backup runs, I’m once again weighing the pros and cons of an upgrade from OSX Lion to something newer. I don’t anticipate coming to a decision tonight—more likely within coming weeks.

If I stay on this version:

That is, if I choose NOT to upgrade anything, or choose to postpone the decision until much later.

Pros

  • Adobe CS5 runs on this OS (not perfectly, but it runs). That includes Photoshop, Illustrator, AfterEffects, and InDesign.
  • I can install and run Blender (including the new build with the funky grease pencil stuff).
  • I can install and run Scrivener 2.
  • I can install and run Sketchup 2014.
  • As I write this, I don’t have enough space for a new OS. I can remedy that, little by little, but if I wanted to download an update tonight, I probably couldn’t anyway.

Cons

When I say I “can’t install” or “can’t run” a program, I mean even if I manage to install the program, there’s a dialogue that explains my version is too old, so it won’t launch. Sometimes, affected program icons have a grey overlay.

  • I cannot install Maya (I can only use each new version for 3 years after it comes out before I’m forced to upgrade, as per my student license).
  • Some users reported instability, crashing, and/or broken tools on newer OSs (El Capitain+), with Programs like Illustrator and InDesign. I have no idea if these issues have been remedied since, or if I would be among those affected.
  • I cannot install the latest version of Sketchup (and legacy versions are difficult to find).
  • I cannot install the new Mac version of Metasequoia 3D (which I was mad about, because I loved it on Windows and never thought there’d even BE a Mac version. It’s also free.).
  • I cannot install Discord.
  • I cannot install Skype.
  • I cannot install Dropbox (which has been a big part of my Scrivener workflow).
  • I cannot update to Scrivener 3.
  • UPDATE: I just checked, and Focuswriter no longer supports Lion, so I’m no longer able to update that program unless I upgrade to at least 10.11.
  • UPDATE: I can’t sync my iPhone SE.

If I upgrade to Sierra:

Pros

  • Version 10.10 is the minimum supported version for many Mac programs I want to try (or buy). Sierra+ should nip that issue in the bud for a little while.
  • Sierra/High Sierra supports MacBook Pro models from mid-2010 or later. Mine is from Late-2011, so that’s pushing it, but it’s still technically supported.
  • It’s free (unless I’ve missed something huge?).
  • I don’t need a disc, I can just go through the Mac App Store.
  • I could install and run everything I’ve wanted to get, but previously could not.
  • If I do encounter problems with Photoshop, I can temporarily rely on other software for personal projects. I don’t need software like InDesign badly enough to make going without it for a while impossible. All my local printing houses seem to require are either image files or PDF. Not PSDs or other types of working file.
  • UPDATE: I could continue to update Focuswriter.
  • UPDATE: I could sync newer devices, like my phone, an iPad, or iPod touch.

Cons

  • I’m sort of depending on my backup to work here, as I’ve heard rumblings about downgrading and how it can sometimes be a pain in the neck—if possible. I can at least make it less painful by backing up my working files to a second external drive, which again, would prevent me from doing the upgrade until I’ve shopped around for a drive.
  • The upgrade process looks easy, but at the same time, I’d be concerned about what happened if my CS5 license didn’t make the transfer, so there’s the extra step of deactivating/reactivating that, and I have to check which email my license is tied to.
  • As I said before, not enough disk space for a big OS download right at this moment.

That’s everything I can think of off the top of my head. I was kind of bummed that this “backup” drive is designed only for backups rather than storage (as in, I couldn’t make changes in Finder) without a format—but whatever. I needed a backup solution anyway, for piece of mind, and I still have a bit of money left this month for a second drive if I decide that I need one next week.

~Niki

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