We all want the software on our computers to work forever, but there’s a problem: Software doesn’t live in a vacuum. That is, programs like InDesign and Photoshop have to play nice with all the other software you’re running — and, in particular, your operating system. Whether you use Windows or Mac, your operating system is critical to the success of your apps.
So software developers such as Adobe work very hard to keep your programs and operating systems in sync. And that’s why if you change one, you often need to change the other, too! The newest version of InDesign won’t run on an old operating system; and, vice versa, the newest operating systems won’t play nice with older versions of the software.
This isn’t a conspiracy. It’s not Adobe trying to rip anyone off. It’s just the way publishing software has always worked, and always will. It often takes considerable effort for developers to “fix” their software to keep working with new operating systems. It can be a lot harder just to keep things working smoothly than it is to add new features!
So… The First Rule of Software: Don’t upgrade your operating system until you’re absolutely sure your software will work on it, and don’t upgrade your software until you’re sure it will work with your operating system!
When to Upgrade
I recently heard of a whole office that still runs Apple OS9 on old Quadra computers from the ’90s because they know their software (PageMaker, I think) works properly and it won’t if they upgrade to either newer software (e.g. InDesign) or an operating system (such as OS X or a newer version of Windows).
I’m not one to judge, but that does seem a little crazy to me. After all, the whole point in upgrading (either software or OS) is to become more efficient. Generally we become slightly less efficient for a little while after an upgrade (as we become accustomed to the change), but then we should become more productive. I used PageMaker on Quadras, and I can assure you I’m exponentially more efficient with InDesign CC running on today’s fast processors.
Which bring us to The Second Rule of Software: Don’t upgrade unless it is going to make your life better. You should either be able to work faster, produce higher quality work, exchange documents with others better, run software you want to run, or something. Too many people upgrade just because there’s a new version. That’s not a good reason. Just because Adobe or Apple or Microsoft or whomever releases something doesn’t mean you have to follow along. This isn’t fashion, it’s software. Or to use another comparison, there’s a good reason why you don’t replace the hammer in your toolbox every year. Hammer technology is pretty stable and mature at this point, so a shiny new hammer won’t serve you any better than the boring old one you’ve had for 20 years.
Change is Good
…and The Third Rule of Software: Don’t be afraid of change! There is no glory in mindless change for change’s sake, but nor is there honor in putting blinders on and blocking out the new. By definition, the only way to get more efficient, more productive, or have more fun in your work is for something to change. That might be you changing (getting some training to help you learn better ways of doing things), or it could be your software or OS changing.
As they say, “Everything changes but change itself.” Change is opportunity! Embrace it! So explore and stay curious, but don’t leap until you find a good reason. And then, when you do change one part of your system, remember that you’re almost certainly going to have to change a lot—including your way of doing things. It’s a process. Be mindful and don’t let fear of change—or fear of missing out—drive your decisions.Tags