Finale and macOS

I’m not entirely sure where the right place to put this is. It’s a file format issue in part, since if people can’t keep using Finale after a macOS upgrade, they need to salvage all the files they’re created in its proprietary format.

The email which I got from MakeMusic, dated October 18, was alarming:

Finale v25.5 is not compatible with macOS 10.15 Catalina and will not be updated to support Catalina. It is our recommendation that users of Finale v25.5 not upgrade to macOS Catalina.

Reminder: Finale v25.5 users still qualify for technical assistance from our Support team on compatible operating systems — macOS 10.10 through 10.14 — but we cannot provide support for this version on Catalina or future Apple operating systems.

An entry on the Finale blog, dated the same day, is less apocalyptic:

While our initial testing suggested that Finale v26.1 and Catalina worked pretty well together, four issues prevented us from calling it compatible.

If you’ve never used Maestro Times or exported an .EPS file, you might consider these to be minor concerns. Nevertheless, we take compatibility very seriously and aren’t comfortable glossing over these problems, even if they’re relatively obscure. Instead, we’re working as quickly as we can to fix them and release a free update for all v26 owners.

In the meantime, we recommend that you don’t update to Catalina. Apple still supports Mojave, and delaying the move to Catalina means you’ll have a better Finale experience while we work on these fixes.

Should you find yourself running Finale v26.1 in Catalina and experiencing an issue not listed in this knowledge base article, please Submit a Request to let us know.

… While our extensive testing continues, we are committed to solving these issues ASAP. Finale v26.2 is coming soon and will be free-of-charge to all owners of Finale v26. Among other improvements, it will include full compatibility with macOS 10.15 Catalina.

So what they’re saying isn’t that Finale won’t ever be made compatible with Catalina, but that users with the latest macOS will have to get Version 26, which is a $149 upgrade. They’re still working on compatibility bugs in that version, too. One issue is that exported EPS files are broken. Fixes are expected by Thanksgiving.

Not a lot of people use EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) anymore, but music notation files are tricky, and some users may find the format gives them better results than PDF or anything else. PDF files may get transformed by the printer driver on output; EPS is just PostScript with a thin wrapper, and what you write to the file is what you get.

Bottom line: No need to panic, but if you want to upgrade to Catalina and keep using Finale, you’ll have to spend $149 on the new version. I call that a lot of money to keep using an application I already paid for.

Obligatory digital preservation note: Don’t forget to export all your Finale files before doing any serious software upgrade.

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