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Apple Releases Lion into the Wild

Today Apple released OSX 10.7 Lion the latest version of their desktop and server OS. A number of new security features have been introduced with Lion which are very welcome, as well as a bunch of new usability tweaks and other generally cool things. I upgraded my i7 Macbook Pro to it a few hours ago and have a few quick observations:

  • It’s only available as a download via the App store. No going to the Apple store and picking up a DVD. Gotta download the whole 3.5 gig thing, which is going to suck for anyone on a slow connection. Apples servers were getting crushed when I downloaded it and it took a few hours instead of a few minutes on my 150mb/s FiOS connection. Should get quicker once the initial rush dies down.
  • You can only upgrade from Snow Leopard. If you’ve got anything older than that then you’re out of luck.
  • FileVault can now do full disk encryption instead of file level encryption. This is awesome. I hated having just my home directory encrypted previously with FileVault, and TimeMachine couldn’t back up your home directory while you were logged into OSX, which made backups a royal pain.
  • Safari now runs in a sandbox.  This should decrease the impact of browser exploits targeting Safari on OSX (who uses Safari tho?) because even if an exploit is successful it will be locked in the sandbox and should have a limited impact on the system and the users documents and files.
  • OSX now has Address space layout randomization (ASLR) which is a geeky way to say that hackers and exploit writers will have a harder time executing shell code after a successful exploit occurs, as important data that an attacker needs in order to execute code is stored  in unpredictable locations and moved around.
  • Fullscreen Terminal! I’m actually the most excited about this. I spend nearly all my time in Terminal and love being able to fullscreen it now. Hit Command + Option + F to enter fullscreen mode and enjoy some totally distraction free hacking and coding 😀

That’s my $0.02 for the time being.

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