Lightroom 1.1 is here (at last!) and it is proving a very worthy upgrade. Like many other photographers, I really like the new Clarity slider. The new catalog function finally allows you to add processed photos from your field laptop to the database on your main computer â€” although I think there is still room for improvement in this area. There are several other new enhancements; I’m still exploring everything that’s there.
If you haven’t upgraded as of yet, you need to know that the actual upgrade process took much longer than I expected. My main desktop is a PowerMac G4 â€” a little behind the curve, but still quite capable. After upgrading the application itself, you need to upgrade the database from LR 1.0. The read-me file instructed me to load my latest Lightroom library file. Problem is, I couldn’t locate any recent Lightroom library files. There were some from April, but nothing from the last week â€” or even the last month. This confused me, since I use Lightroom often, so I assumed I should have more up-to-date library files.
I did find several recent Lightroom database files identified as Lightroom Database.lrdb, with a date code prefix. Taking a chance, I tried opening the most recent one in LR1.1. Success! I’m not sure why Adobe’s documentation says to open a library file when on my G4 I needed to open a database file instead â€” but no matter. I was on the way to having a working copy of LR1.1.
Lightroom next needed to upgrade the library (database file) to work in LR1.1. The dialog box warned me that this might take several minutes,
What does the term several imply to you? Three? Five? Maybe fifteen?
Try 135. That’s how long it took to update the database into the new Lightroom catalog format. I don’t really care how long it takes to perform a major upgrade â€” as long as I know what to expect. If the process took a full 24 hours – I wouldn’t care as long as I knew upfront and could plan accordingly.
But several minutes doesn’t mean more than two hours â€” at least to me it doesn’t.
First the program informed me it was checking the integrity of the database. I have Lightroom configured to preform this check weekly â€” and it has never taken more than five or so minutes for the integrity check. This time it took over twenty minutes â€” making me nervous that there was a problem somewhere. At long last, however the integrity check finished and Lightroom began updating the database into a 1.1 catalog file.
The program uses the typical Mac progress bar. I was working on a laptop while the G4 was chugging away at the upgrade, so I glanced up now and then to see how the upgrade was going. Initially, the bar moved along at a slow but steady pace. After about ten minutes it reached the center of the bar area. “Great,” I thought. “It’s at the halfway point â€” should wrap up in another ten minutes or so.”
Then the progress bar stopped progressing. It just stayed at the halfway point, with no indication it had any intention of ever moving again. For over an hour, the bar didn’t budge. I could tell the G4 wasn’t locked up, because I could change to other programs. But there was no progress from Lightroom.
If I was new to upgrading computer software, I might have panicked at that frozen progress bar. Fortunately I’ve had experience upgrading a wide variety of hardware and software including Unix mainframes and Sun Sparc systems. I’ve had operating systems that took as long to upgrade â€” but I can’t remember an application that took 135 minutes for that task. As long as the Mac wasn’t locked up, however, I decided to allow he process to continue.
Suddenly â€” after the bar had been stuck in one place for over an hour â€” the entire progress dialog box closed. At first I thought the program had crashed, but seconds later LR1.1 launched with all my images intact.
Of course your mileage may vary. There are a lot of people who seem to be experiencing trouble upgrading to LR1.1 on the Adobe forums. I’m sure that many of these users do have legitimate problems with LR1.1. I have to say, however, I have had no real problems with Lightroom â€” either 1.0 or 1.1 aside from the lengthy database upgrade. And I wouldn’t have sweated that if Adobe had warned me it might take hours instead of minutes.
I wonder how many users who are experiencing difficulties simply cancelled the upgrade prematurely instead of waiting for the installer to complete its tasks. When and if you upgrade, I recommend allowing the installer to take as long as it wants. The upgrade is well worth the effort — don’t sabatoge your install by force quitting because it appears to be locked up!