PhotoLab Mac Users : Status on Catalina (formerly Don't upgrade to CATALINA topic)

I saw this accidentally (and luckily haven’t yet upgraded). It would be a good idea if the team sent a warning message to all newsletter recipients, which hasn’t been done yet.

Like most people I dont read the computer press. I would read an email from DXO warning me that the software that I only bought 3 weeks ago was potentially in trouble if I updated my Apple OS ! I dont know the DXO software sufficiently yet to know what is working correctly and what isn’t. I shall be using LR & PS instead and renewing my subscription again in November. Something I hadn’t proposed doing. As for DXO …


I can see here that some of you are wondering why we didn’t detect this earlier. As stated above, the reason why is that this case occurs solely when an existing partition from a previous OS is upgraded to Catalina, and not at all when installing Catalina on a separate partition.
We are preparing for Beta versions of the OS as they become available, but we usually install those on a separate partition, as some of you do as well during the public beta or before upgrading to the final version.
As soon as we detected this issue, we changed our plans to focus on fixing that first and foremost, and releasing a first fix as fast as possible, then a complete fix later on.

Catalina is also a special case, and the specific reason why this problem occurs is because of the System partition separation. Catalina splits it into 2 separate and new partitions: one for the System, one for the user data. We’re using a unique identifier attached to the partition to identify volumes, regardless of their name (as users might change those at any time), and that identifier ended up changing during the split. Hence, PhotoLab considers the System partition as a new one when it sees it on the first launch in Catalina, which leads to a few issues internally with the database of images.

Most of you running Catalina are not seeing problems in your day to day use of PhotoLab, but the problem is still there and has visible artefacts (typically, duplicate images when using the Search in PhotoLab), so our final fix will be able to repair that.

Unfortunately, I can’t give a specific date on when that complete fix will be released, as we are still working on it, but rest assured we’ll make it available as soon as it’s ready.


A few words about best practices in a complex environment (computers and software form a fairly complex environment that not only depends on what buttons you push, but also when you push them and in what combination…)

  1. never change a running system - unless you have to for reasons that are your own. Changing a system that provides your income or happiness risks to kill both.
  2. complex systems cannot be tested 100%, this is why you want to stick to point 1.
  3. if you absolutely need to have the newest, best, sexiest etc. system AND your income and happiness depend on it, you ought to proceed carefully and smartly:

A) Make sure to have at least two proven backups before you risk your income or happiness, having at least two clones that you can boot from is even better. Backup/clone(s) should be on external drives.
B) Boot from a clone and check if things work as expected (performance might be lower depending on drive and connection technologies) keeping in mind point 2 from above.
C) Update the clone and check if things work as expected (…) keeping in mind point 2 from above.
D) Depending on your confidence, you can then upgrade your original system. Boot into your original and upgrade to closely reproduce step C. Remember: The decision to upgrade is yours and yours alone, you cannot blame anyone but yourself.
E) If you notice that the upgraded original does not work, restore your system from that other, unchanged clone.

Final words: Systems are only equivalent if they behave the same while they work and while they fail. The procedure mentioned above is fairly safe but definitely has the property of using similar systems, but not equivalent systems. Therefore, the risk of failure is not nil. Upgrading a system therefore should always include some pondering on what your risk appetite is.


So, in case I do a clean installation of Catalina (wiping Mojave), I shouldn’t face this?

I am sorry for your situation. But it is the same ritual every year.
You can blame DxO for what is happening right now but you should not.

I sincerely appreciate that you explain the issue in depth. Thanks a lot!

That raises two questions for me:

(1) How about users who select the options to automatically export and import sidecars ? Would this not work much better since sidecars are stored next to pictures ? (I would imagine the partition number does not play any role here) Am I naive if I say that could be a work around to use PL2 with Catalina (more) safely ?

(2) More generally (and outside of the Catalina upgrade context), I am a bit concerned that this dependency on partition numbers could do bad tricks to users who are using external hard drives ? (there is no guarantee that the mounting point will always be the same, so it seems a risk to me).

Using both the database and the sidecar files helps prevent issues as long as only one of the two gets disturbed. If you only use one version of DPL, sidecars will help. I often have several versions of DPL in parallel as well as older OpticsPro versions. In this case, I have to watch compatibility of sidecars. Sidecars from older versions can be read by never versions but the other way around is not always possible. New features can write things into a sidecar that an older version cannot understand.

When a volume is created, it gets a unique id that will never change. It stays the same no matter if you rename the volume or eject and remount the drive or volume respectively.

I think he/she isn’t really blaming you for the issue, but the lack of proper communication. This should have been done via email as well. Not everyone is checking the forum :slight_smile:

So, in case I do a clean installation of Catalina (wiping Mojave), I shouldn’t face this?

A clean install will obviously start fresh, but then it depends what you do with your data. If you transfer the data from your old install to the new one, and you reuse the PhotoLab database, you will get into the same trouble as if you upgraded. But starting fresh on PhotoLab will clean out the issue, yes.

(1) How about users who select the options to automatically export and import sidecars ? Would this not work much better since sidecars are stored next to pictures ?

This will mitigate the issue, as you will still see your corrections. However, the database will still be in a bad state, and will have to be reconciled at some point (that’s the part we’re still working on). You will still see duplicates of images if you do a Search in PhotoLab, and you will have to fix projects as they are only in the database, and not sidecars.

(2) More generally (and outside of the Catalina upgrade context), I am a bit concerned that this dependency on partition numbers could do bad tricks to users who are using external hard drives ?

There’s no need to be worried about this. We have been using this for years in OpticsPro/PhotoLab, and in all cases, it just works (well, except when Apple does weird stuff with your partition, of course :wink: ). In case of external hard drives, they also have a unique identifier, and it changes only when reformatting the drive, so this will work whatever the mount point or mounting order.


Which version of PL 2 was released on Oct 16th?

Yes. DPL I got it on the 14th of October though. See here: DxO PhotoLab 2.3.2 build 44 (Mac)

Thanks! So is working “flawlessly” with Catalina?

To be more precise: I got, but have not tested it on Catalina - the post where I mention refers to mojave.

I am using with Catalina without any issues.

Well I am using with Catalina and I have issues. The main one as already stated before is the inability to change the % zoom at the top of the page. A fundamental requirement… Strange yours works and other don’t!

Thank you, actually I had not tried that function before, you are correct, mine does not work either, any other non working functions that you know of? I have just purchased the software and perhaps there are other things that I am not aware of, I guess that I have just been enamored with smart lighting and ClearView.

I know exactly what you mean. I am a newbie having purchased the DXO and NIK software about 4 weeks ago now. I simply haven’t had the time to check it over fully but was seriously impressed enough to purchase the software with the intent of moving away from Adobe. My annoyance has been with the change over to Catalina and whilst I do accept (blood pressure is now normal :slight_smile: ) that much of this can be laid at the feet of Apple I just feel DXO could and should have done more to forewarn their customers that they should not move to Catalina just yet. The lack of communication is disappointing. Some idea regarding potential timescales for sorting out the mess that Apple have created would be appreciated by all I suspect.

Upgrading an operating system WITHOUT checking beforehand if every piece of software works is in general not a good idea and not smart. In addition wherever you check/read the advice is always that do not upgrade for the first 6 month or even longer so that everything gets stable.
This was one of my first lessons 20 years ago and I have never fallen into this trap again. If you want to try - no problem, but then use another partition or another computer for testing purposes.

The only real problem is of course the situation that your computer breaks down and you need to buy a new one. If that happens now you have of course Catalina preinstalled and you can not move back to Mojave.
I can fully understand every software developer that they do not adjust their software during beta of the OS. There will be way too many changes along the way. It is much more cost-effective to wait for the release of the final OS and then start working.

When I installed Catalina all the software that I used reportedly had no issues. I just purchased Nik Collection, Photolab Essential and upgraded to Elite a few days ago. Only then did I find out that it did not work with Catalina. My involvement with DXO was after my install of Catalina which had no problems with my existing software at the time.