Taming the Mountain Lion
Apple has officially released OS X 10.8 aka "Mountain Lion." As with any new release of OS X, two questions come to mind: 1) When the heck are they going to run out of cats? 2) Is the software that you use to make a living going to break if you install the upgrade?
While I can't vouch for the number of species left in Apple's repository o' cats, I can report some news about how well this particular feline will play with your apps. A new feature called Gatekeeper, which aims to keep trojan horses and other malware off your computer, will also make it more difficult (at least initially) for you to install some legitimate software.
Gatekeeper allows users to choose the sources that applications can be installed from. They can allow applications only to be installed from the Mac App store, from the Mac App store and identified developers, or from anywhere. Obviously, allowing installations from anywhere removes Gatekeeper protection, but it may be the only way to install some of your essential applications until they have been fully updated for Mountain Lion compatibility.
Apple's official OS X Mountain Lion Technical Specs list the general requirements, supported hardware, feature-specific requirements of 10.8, as well as the applications and utilities included in Mountain Lion. You can also get the full run-down (with all the usual Apple eye candy) at the official OS X page at Apple.com
Here's a round-up of Mountain Lion compatibility with some key creative applications:
Adobe Creative Suite
Adobe has published a detailed FAQ on Creative Suite - Mountain Lion compatibility. It states that they have worked closely with Apple to test applications in CS5 and above, and currently there are no known issues. CS3 and CS4 versions were tested as well and also turned up no significant issues. CS2 and earlier will not run in Mountain Lion. Currently shipping Adobe apps have met the requirements to be installed with Gatekeeper running. If you have to run a pre-Gatekeeper Adobe installer, consult the help page on that topic for instructions.
You will run into Gatekeeper obstacles if you try to install QuarkXPress 9.3 in Mountain Lion with default settings. A new version of QuarkXPress 9, officially tested and supported in Mountain Lion will be released in a few weeks. Until that time, the company recommends that Mac users stick with Leopard, Snow Leopard, or Lion. However, if you absolutely must install QuarkXPress in Mountain Lion, Quark has posted some relatively simple workarounds to get the install to work.
In their forums, Corel reports that Painter 12.2 is "GateKeeper ready and will be ready to roll."
Extensis reports that Gatekeeper's default settings will not allow any of their products to be installed. Again, the fix is to override Gatekeeper, and Extensis has posted instructions for how to do it.
Insider Software reports that FontAgent Pro 4 is not currently supported on Mountain Lion. And they recommend that FontAgent Pro 4 users do not upgrade to Mac OS X 10.8 yet.
For information about other applications and Mountain Lion, check the developer's support page, or consult a site like roaringapps.com, which is a compatibility wiki for Mac and iOS. As with any OS upgrade, look before you leap and back up your data before taking the plunge!