Mac OS X LeopardNative Instruments and MOTU have each posted compatibility update pages for Mac OS X Leopard. There’s not a whole lot of information yet (particularly form MOTU), but now’s the time to bookmark those pages!

Be sure to watch comments from readers for other helpful compatibility information — much of it positive at this point.

Native Instruments: Compatibility with OS X Leopard
NI’s latest versions of Kore, Traktor, Guitar Rig, and Kontakt are all good to go. But other software has some issues related to installation and dialog box operation. While it’s not reported on this page, we’ve also heard one person with a hardware problem. You should see patches over the coming weeks, with major updates in November and December.

Unleash a Leopard in your MOTU studio
Despite the title, actually, you might not want to unleash anything just yet. MOTU says testing is ongoing and hints updates for hardware and software may be likely. MOTU’s virtual instrument line is ready, though, and there are no significant issues reported yet. Best bet: bookmark that page and keep watch. That’s what we’ll be doing.

Tiger in your tank? I’ll say it now: while the issues are minor so far, I don’t recommend upgrading to Leopard on a critical machine. For folks with more than one Mac, many are having relatively smooth experiences, so on a second machine it could make sense. I’m expecting most of the rest of us will just wait a month or two; at least on the Mac updates are usually pretty speedy in coming and the OS itself looks solid.

Oh, yeah, and one other important thing: this is the first Mac OS X update that really doesn’t benefit music users, at least not out of the box. (There are some driver changes, but I don’t think there are yet devices that take advantage of them.) It’s actually good news, in that Core Audio and Core MIDI are mature at this point — you don’t want to regularly update the music and audio plumbing. But that means Tiger will be just fine for some time.

More Java bad news: While I know this interests a smaller audience, there’s been still more disappointments on the Mac Java front. First, Apple did not include Java 6 as expected, despite the fact that Windows, Linux, and other operating systems have had it since late last year and have even seen significant updates; Apple actually breaks their previous Java 6. It’s not just surviving with Java 5 that has people mad; it’s the sense that Apple has abandoned Java, once a priority for the company. At the very least, they’re not telling anyone what’s going on. Worse for music specifically, Apple’s broken, old JavaSound implementation hasn’t improved at all; it’s roughly equivalent to the ancient Java 1.3 implementation and has major playback issues. That’s really sad, because it knocks out the use of Java for sound, which could be really significant in education. I’ll be testing MIDI, as well, as I’ve been doing some development work with Java and Processing. There are some workarounds, but it’s still frustrating.

If we’re really lucky, we’ll see updates that fix one or both of these issues. And if we’re really, really lucky, someone will figure out how to get the open-source OpenJDK moving on Mac, which could eventually mean cross-platform, open-source Java on all platforms — and possibly with better multimedia result, which is what code artists most desperately need.

  • http://www.cyclelogicpress.com Neil Anderson

    So sad about Java. I wonder if the relations with Sun regarding ZFS will spill over to the Java department?

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I'm increasingly of the camp that says the best thing at this point would be for Apple to drop Java support entirely, but turn things over to OpenJDK. There's an army of Mac Java developers, and I feel like they'd be better stewards at this point than Apple has been for years.

    It's not quite that easy, though, in that even an OpenJDK port is not a simple matter on Mac. But if you think long term — one or two years down the road, even — it's clear this would be a better scenario.

    The problems aren't just on the Mac, either. I would love to see the pieces fall into place that would allow a cross-platform, open-source JavaSound successor to flourish across platforms with low latencies and, eventually, synthesis libraries over top. None of the existing odds and ends (JSyn, etc.), many of them proprietary, really fulfill that promise yet. But then, you look at how long it's taken synthesis to evolve, how much we're doing now that we've been doing for many years, how far CSound has come from early days on mainframes, and you figure this is a long-term proposition anyway. It's like the evolution of instrument building. Now I just need a workshop in Italy somewhere…

  • Doug Theriault

    I just installed Leopard in another partition off of my 40 gig hard drive. It works fantastic. Most all my programs run fine.

    But I have my tiger partition just in case.

    cheers

  • dead_red_eyes

    I wish Alesis would get their drivers ready for my iO/26. I really want to switch over, but I must wait. I knew this day would come, as I've only been using a Mac since Feb. I knew that I would become accustomed to what I could use now, and then everything would change and I would be left behind again.

    Patiently awaits.

    Atmosphere is rumored to come out next month … hope it has 10.5 support. Want.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Re: drivers — do NOT assume that just because a specific driver update or compatibility report is available, something is incompatible. There seem to be very few lower-level changes in Leopard that impact audio, so while we know some updates are coming, it's just a matter of testing.

    Re: Java — 64-bit Java is in Leopard, I should note, which was likely to be a big effort. So I remain disappointed, but this is not a "give up and switch to Solaris" situation by any means, unless you're *really* dependent on Java 6.

    Look at Mac OS, Windows, Linux, and even Solaris, and you see that desktop OS development is pretty much always a work in progress / late, in the best situation.

  • http://www.short-b.us/ maz

    I know for a fact that Ableton 6 (I used 6.10 or something like that, the latest) worked without any problems on my work MBP. I plugged in my edirol FA/101 and it didn't seem to have any issues either.

    I have yet to test reason, but seeing above that kontakt works makes me happy. Guess I'll have to upgrade it to version 3 to take advantage though.

    Generally most applications that I use are open source, and have been working since the early seeds of leopard on the work laptop. I'm probably going to upgrade next weekend and see what happens.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I'm curious how people are doing with Spaces… it seems some apps aren't behaving properly via cmd-tab.

    I have a couple of Macs here, so I'm thinking I may upgrade sooner than later after all. ;)

    This is pretty funny:
    http://thelameleopard.wordpress.com/

    Actually, a blog listing bugs would be fantastic. But this dude seems pretty limited as far as actual bugs — and these niggling points hardly qualify as "lameness." (I mean, unless you REALLY care about speech in the calculator. I'd be more curious on why they wasted time working on that.)

  • ali karibik

    i had a long chat with a sun engineer over tea today where this issue came up as well. he was basically saying:

    * apple has moved all developers from the java team to the ical team except for one poor bloke who is mainly working on a stable java 1.5 version

    * the guy doing the actual 1.6 port left apple, apparently finishing the port is just a piece of cake, could be done in a few days but for legal reasons he cant do it anymore.

    * apple will most likely never release an opensource version of their vm because it is a big dirty mess using various old frameworks all tied together in spaghetti code/ secondly it seems to require sourcecode access to the mac os x standard frameworks sources e.g. coreservices etc.

    * some people at the java fx team at sun have started making their own java 1.7 runtime for os x which hints that eventually sun might take java for mac back under its control

    * speaking of sound and other java things missing in osx – the answer is: wait for java fx! its very promising, you’ll be surprised.

  • Damon

    I just went ahead and installed it on my Mac PPC. I heard it will technically slow my (older) mac down a bit, but thought this would be a good way of forcing myself to be a bit more thoughtful in my creative sequencer process. I for one need a few boundaries just to keep me honest.

  • klangsulfat

    The Korg Radias Editor (even the brandnew 2.0 update) does not work properly under Leopard. At least on my Macbook. I've have to set the prefs (e.g. MIDI ports) new everytime I start the editor.

  • +ian

    Check out the Audio Units – spatial panners.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Ian: Very cool! Well, they've been doing panner work with Logic / Soundtrack.

  • http://mucca-pazza.org Andy

    While there may not be any implicit audio updates in Leopard, there are still improvements of which audio folk could take advantage. Spaces and Automator in particular offer unique workflow opportunities.

  • http://myspace.com/corbumusic Jonathan Graves

    I installed Leopard and really loved it, everything worked great until I tried to record… and realized that my M-Audio FW interface isn't supported yet, and neither is my roommate's MBox 2. Really disappointing.

    I know I should have researched more thoroughly, but with everything else working it was really surprising that M-Audio can't even give a release date on when a driver will be available.

    So the only way I can go on recording music is to downgrade back to Tiger. Weak.

  • http://myspace.com/corbumusic Jonathan Graves

    Also, M-Audio's homepage has a big friendly icon on their site saying, "M-Audio Welcomes Arrival of Mac OS X Leopard," and when you click on it, you get:

    M-Audio has a history of quickly bringing the benefits of significant new advancements in computer technology to the pro audio community—from the advent of USB and FireWire to the release of Mac OS X. We are working closely with Apple to ensure that our products and technologies will support Mac OS X Leopard.

    Due to the nature of software and driver development, we are not able to provide exact dates for when specific drivers will become available—but please rest assured that supporting Leopard is a top priority for us. As soon as Leopard drivers or updates for any product become available, our Web site will be immediately updated to reflect this.

    If you choose to install Leopard on your system before your M-Audio product has been qualified for use with the new OS, please be aware that your M-Audio device may not function properly. Please continue to check M-Audio.com for updates.

    Could be two weeks, two months…

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  • http://symbioticaudio.com Symbiotic

    Is there any advantage with Leopard and memory addressing on G5 machines? Specifically – under Tiger, Logic 7 could only 'see' about 3.5GB of RAM. I'm wondering if Logic 8 + Leopard would allow me to access more on a G5 system…

  • thedomus

    Yes, I'm interested in the RAM handling too!

    Anyone shed a technical light on this issue?

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  • http://myspace.com/floormodel David

    i updated from tiger to leo and its a blast on my PBG4. Only issue were 2 plugs i had to reinstall and some rewire device locking up ableton live. after that it runs just fine…

  • Shutup Man

    Very disappointed that M-Audio/Avid has dropped the ball for the Leopard update

    So far, my system is blazing, but my I/O module and MIDI controllers are all M-Audio, so I can't really do too much until they take their thumbs out of their asses.

    Wrote in to M-Audio tech support, to be told "Leopard is unqualified"

    More like M-Audio is unqualified for my further business!

  • Mark Duhamel

    OK. I have encountered a problem with a CME UF8, or more specifically the CME UF 400e Firewire audio expansion board. Leopard won't recognize it. Neither my 24" iMac, nor my MacBook will work.

    The system did recognize it several times, but no luck for several more times now. I did have a back up drive I could boot from still running

    Tiger, but after my last back up, it won't boot.

    Anyways, I miss my keyboard.

    My understanding is that no driver is needed for the Firewire audio – there is not one available in any case. The USB functionality is still there but this does limit the use of the keyboard, and all my associated audio inputs are now out of commission.

    Any suggestions?

  • http://www.electricstone.com/ Andrew Stone

    Mark,

    If you do a google on USB issues on the CME controllers (try the various models) you should find a lot of material on music related forums.

    I have seen numerous issues with the CME controllers relating to poor communication via USB. The solution seems to be using the MIDI ports at least this is what I have been told.

    I noted earlier today that CME has a major update for the VX. Not sure about your board.

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  • http://www.lindenstudio.co.uk Guy Forrester

    Serious Midi issue with Leopard and Pro Tools LE with Mbox2:

    The midi server won't launch error! (folder just bounces up and down in the 'dock')

    Also:

    Can no longer access 'Audio Midi setup App' in Utilities,

    unless you completely remove Pro tools '

    This problem has not so far been reported anywhere that I can find.

    Anyone Know how to fix this? GF

  • Bill

    I upgraded to Logic Studio and Leopard and the only really annoying bug is the remote does not work in Logic anymore. So I downgraded to Tiger to get it to work again.

  • Earlie

    I'm running Logic * w/ M-Audio FW 410 with no problems what so ever. When I installed the last driver for tiger on Leopard(via M-Audio) and restarted my system. After connecting the 410. The OS automatically configured my firmware in the 410. I haven't had one single problem since my upgrade.

    iMac Aluminum Intel Core 2 Dou 2.0GHz 20"

    1 GIG ram

    Logic Studio 8

    Reason 4

    Komplete 4 (working fine w/o 10.5 drivers)

  • David Desbordes

    I'm running Cubase4, Pro Tools 7.3LE with Digi003, Logic 7&8, and Ableton Live 6 all on a PPC Dual 2.0 Ghz G5 with the Tiger OS. The main IO for audio is a MOTU 2408 MkIII with Onyx 800F pre's thru ADAT in my Studio. Guess I'll have to wait a while until the non-Apple drivers and software are all compatible with third party developers on my main machine. Otherwise, I'm loving leopard on my 20" iMac w/ 4GB Ram and Garageband 8 and Logic Studio with an M-Audio Fast Track Pro in the kitchen no less. Great for those impromptu moments of inspiration with the family.