You know the drill. There’s a new operating system from Apple. It breaks some music software. If you don’t like things breaking, you should wait a bit. Then once you’ve verified the stuff you need is compatible, go for it — it’s probably better than the last OS once the wrinkles are ironed out.
This post occurs with each new OS, a bit like some sites do Holiday Shopping Guides, or April Fools’ jokes. I could almost turn it into a Mad Libs post. But here are the specifics.
The operating system: OS X 10.11 “El Capitan.”
What breaks: plug-ins, mainly. Some Audio Unit plug-ins don’t pass validation. We’ve heard that from Native Instruments and Arturia already. Arturia says they’ve seen issues with standalone software, too. Either way, we’re talking software qualification. And I suspect we’ll hear from more developers through the day, not just Arturia and NI (feel free to sound off in comments).
Check hardware, too. Here, we only have heard from NI, but it’s a huge issue — kernel panics with the MK1 editions of Traktor Kontrol S4, X1, Traktor Audio 2, and Maschine, plus the Audio 2/4/8 DJ and Guitar Rig 3 Rig Kontrol 3 hardware.
Meanwhile, Elektron say their Overbridge tech isn’t quite working with 10.11 yet, either. (Their hardware is fine, but not with all the integration features.)
The good news here — in NI’s case, at least, there are already beta drivers. I’m all set to use my VST versions of my plug-ins and Maschine in glorious monochromatic orange.
Back in my day, Apple never used to have OS upgrade quality issues. Why have they abandoned pros? Ah, too true. I remember the golden days, back in Yosemite, OS X East Bay, OS X Delayed BART train, 10.6, 10.5, 10.4.8, 10.3, Mac OS X Puma, Mac OS X Llama, Mac OS X Rabid Kitten Beta 3, System 8, System 7.5.3 revision 2, System 7.blergh, System 6, PowerBook 5300 On Fire, Apple III Drop It On A Table Until It Starts Working… no problems whatsoever. Everything “just worked,” back when Steve Jobs was with us and I used my Mac Classic at school which I went to and from uphill in the snow both ways even in September, until the sad day when Gibson bought Studio Vision Pro and killed Christmas forever and the End Times were nigh.
Okay, no, seriously:
Will this get fixed? Yes, and if past OS updates are any indication, reasonably quickly. Just sit tight.
Why Shatner? Kirk in Star Trek V climbs the mountain El Capitan, in Yosemite Park (each a namesake of an OS X update now). Also, spoiler alert: Kirk falls. So before you make “love to the mountain,” be aware of the risks, and make sure Spock catches you. I mean, uh, make sure you have a backup before you upgrade.
Backup first. I’m not preaching abstinence; I’m saying use protection. Make a backup first. That was tasteless, sorry — but I think I’ve written this story ten times in the history of CDM, so you can expect the quality to degrade as I age.
Updated: when you are ready, here’s four hours of Shatner while you wait on your machine to backup and upgrade.