Apple sprung an OS update on the world the other day to 10.5.3. Do you upgrade? As has been said by many people on many occasions you never want to update in the middle of a project and/or update without a backup but it is always worth repeating. Another good rule of thumb is to let the update live out in the world for a while and see if it has any major problems that crop up. I think it’s always a tough call about updating because if you are like me, you are rarely ever truly “between projects.” Then it just becomes a judgement call as to when you are between enough to take the time and risk to make the jump. I’ve generally had good luck with the smaller “dot” updates like 10.5.2 to 10.5.3. I’ve on occasion even updated on my home system long before Avid is able to officially support the update as it takes them quite a bit longer to add support.Looking at the Final Cut Pro forums doesn’t always make the decision easier. This post is from someone who has updated to 10.5.3 on their Macbook Pro but now can’t get FCP to launch. But a reply states that someone else has had no problems. Here’s another where the user is getting crashes. The best advice comes in the last reply to that thread that says: “ I changed to 10.5.3 last week. Installed everything new from scratch with all the updates, and all is well. Yes, it took most of the day. But it works. Most importantly, I backed up my previous system first.”Yep. Always back up before performing any update. It may not just be your editing application that breaks as here is a report that Photoshop files might become corrupt when saving across a network. Important info to know if you are working on a network and collaborating with others.While it might take the big software companies time to get their applications up to snuff on a new OS, it’s the smaller developers that can react quickly. Take Roger Bolton’s ImageFlow fx. Apparently there is an issue where the update “will cause only read x’s to be displayed inside” the plugin when using ImageFlow. Roger reacted quickly and got out an update to fix the issue. That’s being on the ball and makes you feel good about using that particular developer’s product. He also released a couple of freebies in the email announcing the update!So update or no? That’s a decision that one has to make on their own as only you know how “between projects” you are and the current state of your backups and project archiving should disaster strike. And it’s good to remember that even though that small OS update might not take too long to install, should that disaster strike and you DO have backups, it might take a long time to restore everything back to a workable condition. That takes time and time is money. Especially when a deadline is looming.

UPDATE #1: Check out the first comment below for a great strategy to OS updates. It might not get you the coolest tools first but it’s more likely to keep your machine running smoothly.

UPDATE #2: OS updates can come fast and furious, especially when there are some big issues that become known after it ships … for example the Photoshop saving as mentioned above. Two stories popped up today about what might be 10.5.4 coming very soon.