No matter how much we try to stay on top of new releases. The reality is that in some cases they come at the most inconvenient of times. Usually in the middle of a project. There are a few things that you can do to help yourself in the long run. I will try to go over a few things here.
Firstly, be careful of early adoption. Unless you have two systems that you can work from, your primary system and a test system, avoid early adoption. If you dive right in because you see a new feature or capability and you think it will work great in that project you are working on. Don’t do it! It is a sure fire way of inviting disaster and delay into your project. Nothing could kill inspiration faster than trying to hunt down or solve a problem by adopting a software upgrade early.
This includes automatic operating system upgrades. I fell victim to this as Apple introduced Mac OS X 10.10. It literally crippled my music making capability. I ended up living with the issues it caused with my Native Instruments Suite. Which lasted a full two months to resolution. It also introduced an immediate and unsolvable problem with almost all of my Line 6 Software including my PodFarm 2.5 Platinum (a $299.00 USD investment), Line 6 Monkey and License Manager. This also led to nearly $1600.00 USD of hardware from Line 6 unusable. All because the combination of OS X 10.10 Yosemite and Pro Tools 11 were incompatible with the Line 6 Software.
This hardware and software have since been replaced. But this was a costly education amounting to well over $2000.00 USD in hardware and software to replace the Line 6 products in both my recording and live rig.
Secondly, set all your products to notify and let you decide when to update the programs. This is a simple mater to attend to by going into the program preferences on Mac or Properties dialog on PC for a specific program. It is also something you can change in the App Store on Mac and Windows Updates on your PC. I have no clue about how to manage Linux based DAWs but I imagine that there are similar settings. And if you are using Linux in any flavor you probably know more about your system than the casual Mac or PC user.
If you have a spare system to test on, I would strongly recommend doing so. But make sure this is a system you are comfortable in rewriting should it take the golden dump and become unusable. For Mac users consider getting a used Macbook Air or a Mac Mini to test on. This is a relatively low cost option. PC users, your options for low cost test systems include older retired DAWs and low cost PCs.
If you don’t have a second system to test on, which if you are starving for your art, you won’t. Go to the developer’s/hardware manufacturer’s website and check out the forums. Give it a few weeks for others to be the guinea pigs and see what problems they run into. Also check to see how their problems were solved if at all. (In my case I was told to roll back to Pro Tools 10 or uninstall Pro Tools completely for my Line 6 gear to work. My answer:…. NOT).
If you have the option to run a known stable version of a DAW next to a new version, by all means do so. However be aware that a new version may monkey up the system even if you don’t use it for a current project. As did Pro Tools 11 with Yosemite did for me.
As an addition to this you may want to carefully look over the developer forums prior to enabling an add on or plug-in to see if their are any compatibility issues as well.
The point I am trying to make here is that don’t jump on something new, just because it’s new. Test it if you can on a test system first for any problems if you can before putting it on your production system. And if you don’t have a test system, peruse the user/developer/manufacture forums for any issues that others are experiencing.