All the major music software developers I’ve talked to have begun testing Vista, but Propellerheads has decided to go out on a limb and be the first to declare it “Works with Vista”, slapping on Microsoft’s official “approved” label:

Propellerhead Software Vista Compatibility

The flagship Reason, the original loop splicer-dicer app ReCycle, and the sample loading utility Reload have all been certified as Vista-compatible. In fact, you don’t even need a special upgrade: the existing versions work as-is, with two minor caveats. You’ll need admin privileges to install, and you’ll have to reauthorize your machine. (Updated: I shot off my mouth here and said that ReCycle wasn’t Universal on Mac. In comments, it’s noted that, while there’s not an Intel-specific build for Mac, ReCycle runs just fine on Mac OS X in Rosetta — makes sense, as unlike Reason, it doesn’t have the same performance needs.)

Now, requiring admin privs to install an app is a good thing, not a bad thing; OS X users have been doing this for some time, and it’s a major security hole in XP. (If anyone tries to use the “Windows just has more spyware because it’s a larger target” argument, you might ask them what kind of OS would let any application install anything anywhere without any user intervention. This should absolutely make Vista more secure.)

This news does tell us a little more about what to expect from other music software, and even if you’re on Mac or XP and planning to stay there, I promise there’s some free modular goodness at the end of this story. Really. You should read on.

Music Apps on Vista

But what does this logo mean? And what does this mean for Vista app compatibility? Glad you asked. According to Microsoft’s “Works with Vista” certification requirements:

The purpose of the Works with Windows Vista logo is to highlight and promote Microsoft and third-party applications that are compatible with Windows Vista. The majority of applications that run on Windows XP also work on Windows Vista with no changes. Of applications that do not run on Windows Vista, the majority can run with the help of either a Compatibility Layer (a setting which provides some Windows XP functions to the application) or an Elevation Layer (a setting which runs the application with administrator privileges). Some applications will require code changes to run on Windows Vista.

The Works with Windows Vista logo is meant to be applied to applications in all three categories. Applications that need no change and those that need a Compatibility Layer or Elevation Layer may acquire the Works with Windows Vista logo with no product changes. An application that needs a product update to be compatible may also obtain the Works with Windows Vista logo after the necessary changes have been made and the product update is made available to customers.

Okay, so in other words, most things will work on Vista, even if Vista is doing some fancy compatibility footwork behind the scenes, and if they don’t, they don’t get the logo.


The bigger news is that REX and (more importantly) ReWire, which were broken in their current releases in Vista, now work thanks to a new installer:

Vista REX/ReWire installer

That should clear a major hurdle and mean we’ll be ReWiring music apps on Vista as of day one.

Of course, software is unlikely to be the issue on Vista so much as hardware driver support. Stay tuned.

Free Modular ReFill

Okay, let’s not end on that note. Compatibility updates are boring. Let’s end on a free modular ReFill by James Bernard, available for download from the Props site. “If you are looking for something to spice up the holiday season, download Modular Madness today and help yourself to a tweaked out Christmas. Your family will love it!”

I’m not sure if my family will love it if I’m tweaked out on Christmas, but — okay, I’m game!