King of the jungle, as seen at the British Museum. Photo (CC-BY-ND) wootang01/mckln (Uninteresting side note – I happened to be at this location yesterday.)

It’s become something of a tradition here on CDM. Apple releases new OS. Music developers – one or more – release notes that suggest you might want to wait to upgrade. It happens every time, and so you should be cautious every time. This time, it may be even more serious: developers are describing symptoms that they say they haven’t seen in previous updates.

Native Instruments, often some of the first out of the gate with reported issues, has already flagged one significant set of problems that will likely dissuade their users from upgrading right away. (Think immediate crashes with 64-bit plug-ins.) But just because they’re the first to report something doesn’t mean that there won’t be other issues. Apple operating systems tend to change right up to release, and music developers have limited test resources, and music software is sensitive stuff. Do the math.

I’ve been told specifically that there are significant issues involving plug-in validation, which can go as far as causing DAWs to crash. (I have not confirmed that this is necessarily related to the symptom NI is describing; it’s better to look at it this way — stuff you rely on has changed and you may want to be patient.) Some of these issues may occur during Mac OS X testing, but because of the complexity of supporting things like Audio Units, I think it’s fair to give credit to music developers who say they may not be able to keep up with OS release timeframes. If there is a more significant long-term issue with compatibility, we’ll report it here.

Also, we have now multiple confirmed reports of significant crashes that should strongly dissuade all musicians from upgrading at this time, until there’s a timeframe for fixes. (I’m bolding that just in case anyone should miss this message.) Updated: these symptoms are reported in a variety of hosts.

Oddly, some of these regular posts by me have caused people to accuse me of being anti-Apple, which is like saying someone is anti-bicycle for suggesting you wear a helmet (or shoes).

Let me put it more clearly: if you like to test things yourself, and don’t mind an occasional problem, you should upgrade, at your own risk. (Just don’t complain if it doesn’t work.) If you prefer to let the companies you pay for your software do the testing, and you’ve got a system that’s running well, don’t. If you’re in the middle of a project or trying to finish an album or playing later tonight, you should take a deep breath and think about what you think is prudent.

If you’re the kind of person who never makes backups, there’s absolutely nothing anyone can do for you. May the computer gods have mercy upon your soul.

Here’s what NI has to say, though they tell CDM that they’re continuing to do tests and expect to have more information soon. I expect to hear from other developers, too – and, of course, what we’ll hear from some of them is that everything’s fine.

Native Instruments has conducted initial compatibility tests with pre-release versions of Mac OS X 10.7, and has found an issue that causes the 64-bit versions of NI applications to crash both when used stand-alone and as a plug-in.*

The cause of this issue has been successfully determined, and updates for the affected products are currently in development, with their respective release planned for September or earlier. In the meantime, users should utilize the 32-bit versions of the respective NI applications**, or consider to refrain from updating to Mac OS X 10.7 for the time being.

The following products have so far been updated with a 64-bit fix for Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion”:

Native Instruments has observed no additional compatibility issues under Mac OS X 10.7 yet, but will conduct further systematic tests once it has access to the final release version of the operating system. New information will be provided on this page as it becomes available.

Full NI post:
Mac OS X Compatibility [updated regularly, so if you use a lot of NI stuff, bookmark!]

Apogee is also out of the gate with the first solid hardware compatibility. So far, they have confirmed compatibility with Duet 2, GiO, JAM
ONE, and Symphony I/O; ONE low-latency mixing compatibility is coming next month. Duet and Ensemble will be compatible soon; Symphony 64 for X-Series and Rosetta Series converters is listed as TBA.

More telling than that, though, is the advice Apogee gives about upgrading (remember what I said about backups?) —

Apogee Product Compatibility Overview: Mac OS X Lion

— and this advice: “If uninterrupted operation of your studio is critical, please wait for an official Lion OS compatibility message from Apogee.”

I’d just skip that last clause and apply it to everyone.

By the way, does anyone remember the days when SoundHack and SoundStudio were the only two apps you could run natively on Mac OS X? Ah, those were the days. I had that,, a browser, and, but someone had to be an early adopter…