September 5th, 2012 • 5:17 pm
I have just upgraded to Mountain Lion on my main machine (a 2009 Mac Pro) and I must say that it has been a very smooth process — probably the smoothest OS X upgrade I have ever experienced. The only problem I encountered was that, after the upgrade, the Mail application was no longer able to “see” my groups in Contacts, which meant that my group-based rules wouldn’t work.
I initially thought it might have something to do with iCloud, but I eventually found that it was due to the fact that my user environment still had a very old customization that I had implemented years ago, where the “Address Book” folder inside ~/Library/Application Support was not an actual folder, but a symbolic link to a folder on my documents partition. I did this way back when because it made sense for me to keep all my documents, including settings and user data, on the same volume, especially for the purposes of making complete backups of my stuff.
I also used to have a symbolic link to a folder for my ~/Library/Mail folder, but that ceased to work properly under Lion and I had to give up on that and let OS X do its default thing instead, which is to store my entire Mail archive inside my home library folder (which still does not quite make sense to me).
Now, with new sandboxing rules, it turns out that Mail also needs at least a certain file (Configuration.plist) in ~/Library/Application Support/Address Book to be in its default location and not on a separate partition with a symbolic link to it in the default location. I was able to determine this by examining error messages that were appearing in the Console. Once I deleted the symbolic link and moved my “Address Book” folder back to its default location, everything was peachy again and my group-based Mail rules worked as intended.
It is obviously a very specific problem that I encountered and one that few other people are likely to encounter. It is still a reflection of the trend towards more stringent rules about what goes where under OS X, but I guess that it is, apparently, the price we have to pay for higher security.
Other than that, everything is working really well. Of course, I am part of the AppleSeed program, which means that I have access to early builds of 10.8.2, with yet more bug fixes and improvements. (I might not have upgraded yet if I had not had this.) But overall I have to say that things are remarkably smooth for a system that is still relatively new and a machine that does contain a fairly substantial number of third-party customizations and applications. It obviously helped that I really made sure that I had installed all the required third-party updates before upgrading.
It pays, from a productivity point of view, to wait a bit and not rush to upgrade as soon as the new system comes out, even if it can be quite tempting for someone like me. (The fact that I have had lots of work in the past several weeks also made it less difficult to resist the temptation.)
As for what I ended up doing about my beloved Spell Catcher X, which is not fully compatible with Mountain Lion, I will have to leave this for another blog post.