In past years, the release of a new OS from Apple has meant a few weeks of aggravation, first with point-zero bugs and, just as important, the fact that loads of third-party apps just don't work, or are partly functional. So it's often a good idea just to wait till things settle down.
But for the first time since the original OS X Public Beta in 2000, Apple is making prerelease versions of OS X Yosemite available to up to one million Mac users who signed up for the program. The first betas were available for download on July 24, and updates may or may not follow the two week schedule of developer releases. So even though Developer Preview 5 arrived Monday, that doesn't mean regular Mac users will see an update this week.
Still a far larger customer base is now running Yosemite on a regular basis. It's no longer limited just a few thousand developers who need to make their apps compatible or develop apps that exploit the new OS features.
What I've seen, and this is by no means a scientific survey, is that it appears that more Yosemite updates have been released. I was decidedly cautious running Yosemite -- which is installed in its own partition on an external drive -- until a key app that I need to produce my radio shows, Rogue Amoeba's Audio Hijack Pro, became compatible. That release arrived with the Yosemite Public Beta, so I expect it arrived partly due to the pressure of reaching a wider audience to evaluate the updated app.
That doesn't mean everything works. I'm still awaiting a fixed version of my current backup app, Mike Bombich's Carbon Copy Cloner, and I understand that the first beta updates will go out to testers later this month, evidently depending on a Yosemite bug fix expected from Apple. So that means that, if I want to back up my stuff till then, I have to rely on Time Machine and my offsite CrashPlan backups. Or do manual backups of new documents and audio files.
On the other hand, the presence of the Public Beta makes me confident that developers will be more proactive in getting their needed updates to market. Sure, there's a danger in releasing updates for a moving target, and I have little doubt Yosemite will undergo changes that may cause problems for some of those apps. Yet those developers will be able to post beta versions to a wide range of their customers who have Yosemite betas running, which will make it easier to repair the most serious bugs. That helps the developer and customers who need those updates.
Besides, being first on the block with a Yosemite compatible update may also bring in more customers.
Meantime, before you install the Public Beta, assuming you haven't done so already, you may want to consult a list of compatible or partly-compatible apps. One of the more popular lists is maintained at Roaring Apps. It's not an official solution, though. It's crowd-sourced, meaning they depend on information from users and developers to stay current.
Now what surprised me most in looking over that list was the fact that there are loads of apps not listed as compatible with Mavericks, which is found on more than half the Macs currently in use. Forget about Yosemite, this seems curious, or maybe the database isn't quite up to date. Indeed, the fact that Audio Hijack Pro is compatible with both Mavericks and Yosemite is not recorded on that list.
At least it's a start, and you can always check with the publisher's site directly, or compatibility information at the Mac App Store to see the status, although you'd have to go directly to a publisher's site to get an early seed. For a beta test, it may not be so much of a deal, since you expect a lot of things just won't work. But when you decide whether or not to do any real work in the Yosemite environment, you'll want to know you're not being inconvenienced, or being forced to reboot in an older version of OS X for at least part of your work day. As a practical matter, you should wait till Yosemite is actually released before moving to it full time, unless you need to live at the cutting edge and are willing to take a chance.
It may also be true that I'm way off base here suggesting Yosemite updates will be sped up because of all those additional beta testers. That sort of makes sense to me from a logical standpoint, but I am not about to predict how much work a developer needs to do in order to make sure their products work with Yosemite. There are clearly many changes, particularly for apps that go deep down into the system to do their thing, such as a backup app. Making the needed fixes may not be so simple.
But the incentive is there to get these updates out as soon as possible, to make the move to Yosemite as smooth as possible. At least in my case, I've been able to move most of my important apps to the Yosemite partition on my iMac's external drive without running into too much trouble. That will only hasten my plans to move to OS 10.10 full time.
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