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Unable to install workbench on mac

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I have previously had workbench on this mac, I guess it somehow got deleted. I am trying to reinstall workbench for a Variax 600.  If I try to install the latest version I get an error saying; This software requires OS X 10.5 or higher. My OS X is 10.12.4. I have monkey 1.74 installed. Not sure what to do. Any ideas?

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Never mind. Looking at other posts it seems workbench is no longet supported. Bummer. 

I still use workbench on both PC and Mac. The only situation I'm aware of is that Pod HD500X doesn't link to Workbench, but does link to Workbench HD...

Are you using the Workbench interface, or Pod to connect?

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I am trying to reinstall workbench for a Variax 600.  If I try to install the latest version I get an error saying; This software requires OS X 10.5 or higher. My OS X is 10.12.4.

Despite being no longer supported, Workbench for Variax 300-700 version 1.75 can be installed and will run on macOS Sierra.

First, ensure that Java 6 runtime has been downloaded and installed e.g. from https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1572

Then, mundofer write about using Pacifier to override the Workbench installer version check



- Download and install Pacifist:   https://www.charlessoft.com

  Right-click and Eject "Pacifist" from Desktop

- Download Variax Workbench 1.75.


- Mount the Variax Workbench 1.75.dmg disk image by double clicking on it.

- Drag Variax Workbench.pkg icon to drop on Pacifist icon

   click [ Don't Check ] (if shown)

   (no need to register, just wait the 21 seconds), press [ Not Yet ]

   click [ OK ] in Quick Start / Welcome window

   click [ Don't Install ] QuickLook

- In Variax Workbench.pkg window, open "Contents of Variax_Workbench.pkg"

- Drag VariaxWorkbench.app icon to Applications > Line6

  click [ Extract ], enter password in 2 windows

- Close Pacifist and eject "Variax Workbench" from Desktop.

- Double click on VariaxWorkbench icon;

   if Line 6 Monkey has configured your VDI access device,

   Workbench should open and work.

   If Jave 6 runtime is not found, click [ More Info.. ] in pop-up to download.

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  • 10 months later...
  • 6 months later...

I have read through everything I can find here on this issue but still have a problem. 


I have a Mac running High Sierra 10.13.6

I have successfully installed Workbench 1.75

I have downloaded the legacy Java software (although my system still shows I am running the newer version).

Workbench sees my guitar and I can even play around with pitch settings


BUT when I try to type in a name for the patch or new folder I get this error message, typed exactly as it appears, even with that warning at the end.


Unhandled exception in art dispatch thread


Type: java.lang.RuntimeEsception

Message: Non-java exception raised, not handled! (Original problem:Depreciated in 10_12… DO NOT EVER USE CGSEventRcord directly. Bad things, man——bad things.)


I'm usually pretty sharp with computers but I don't want to damage my guitar. Can anyone give me some guidance?

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When I'm around my equipment I'll check my setup, which works. You may want to open a support ticket. 


Line 6 should fix this issue —there are a significant number of customers still using their legacy Variax guitars. It shouldn't be this hard.

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Thanks Soundog. After hearing all you can do with your VaxAC700, I had to get the connector. I especially want to drop-octave the two low strings. I can get Workbench to do it, (and had some fun playing with it) I just can't save it without getting that error message.


I appreciate how willing you are to work with people like me to get the most out of their instruments. 

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Bob 2.0 - I checked my setup, and Workbench is not giving me any errors when I rename or save patches or folders. Everything seems to be working normally. Perhaps you have a Java problem? Here's what's running on my system (10.12.6 Sierra):


Workbench v1.73
Variax Acoustic v3.25 


I don’t find a Java JRE installed, but do have a JRK installed (installed using Java for macOS 2017-001, which is the legacy Java SE 6 runtime). If I check via Terminal I see:


java version "1.6.0_65"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_65-b14-468)
Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 20.65-b04-468, mixed mode)

Hope this helps! 

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  • 1 month later...

While a real fix doesn't seem like it would be that hard to come up with, I went with plan "B" and got ahold of an old laptop running Windows 7 that nobody wanted. I got it for free from work actually. Our IT guy was on the verge of throwing it out, never thinking anyone would want a 3 gig computer running old software. So I was blessed to ask at just the right time. Even if that hadn't happened though, these old laptops go for around $50 on ebay. Of course, running it on my new Mac would be ideal as eventually, these old systems will be as hard to find as a computer running on floppies and MS-DOS. 



I loaded the regular version of Workbench on it, and I've already changed the Shamisan into a Gibson Super Jumbo with the bass strings an octave down. (As we don't have a bass player in our worship team yet). This is going to be fun! (Great idea Soundog. Those bass notes really add a lot to certain songs.)




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  • 4 months later...

I can confirm bad news:

My same version 1.75 Variax Workbench app that worked for Sierra

wanted a new download of Java 6 for High Sierra 10.13.6,

and now constantly throws exceptions, requiring `kill -9` in Terminal.


It may be that, after checking for Java 6 at startup,

WorkBench somehow ends up using another Java version,

which on my Mac defaults to:


$ java -version
java version "1.8.0_181"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_181-b13)
Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.181-b13, mixed mode)


I have forgotten whatever macOS Java fu I may once have had,

but will try to figure out how best to set Java 1.6 as default. 


$ which java


$ ls -l /usr/bin/java
lrwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel  74 Nov 28  2017 /usr/bin/java -> /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/Current/Commands/java

$ ls -l /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions
drwxr-xr-x  11 root  wheel  374 Nov  6 16:12 A
lrwxr-xr-x   1 root  wheel    1 Nov 28  2017 Current -> A


# meanwhile

$ ls -l /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/1.6.0.jdk/Contents/Commands/java
lrwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel  16 Mar  2 19:33 /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/1.6.0.jdk/Contents/Commands/java -> ../Home/bin/java

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15 hours ago, soundog said:

Jeepers, Line 6. Would you freakin' just fix legacy Workbench for your users?


OK, but I'm guessing NOT:


* Their newest release is over 6 years old; developers (and maintainers) will have long since moved on,

   and paying techies to read and understand, much less improve, old code and documentation is unappetizing.


* There is some great Java software, but much Java was effectively write-only. 

   Java is/was an expedient way to hack GUI apps, but:

  - it turned out to be less portable than touted.

    > back in the day, deploying Variax Workbench took far longer than anticipated.

  - Oracle now owns Java, offers Java 6 downloads for Windows, Linux, Solaris

    ... NOT macOS.

  - Apple has obviously reduced Java support

    > lots of software, including Adobe, have not updated from Java 6

    > supporting multiple versions is evidently problematic


* Legacy Variax support arguably should have been included HD, but

   - that ship has sailed.  Line 6 wanted HD out as soon as possible,

     and dragging along support for hardware that would yield them

     negligible additional revenue would have delayed that release.

  - retrofitting legacy support into HD now would impact software that is

    key to revenue.

 -  Variax signal processing tech is probably considered family jewels,

    making open-sourcing legacy support a non-starter,

    since the essential difference from HD is probably bit precision, not algorithmic.


* My Variax 300 is getting cranky, and may not be exceptional in that.

  - nearly dead string (not low E)

    > another piezo to replace?

  - many crackles, etc, for the first half hour after powering up

    > bad capacitors? corroded connections?


Meanwhile,  Variax Workbench 1.75 lists Windows 8 compatibility.

Microsoft supports Window 8.1 until 1/10/2023,

and Windows 8.1 better supports modern hardware (UEFI, safe boot) than did Windows 7.

The Windows Workbench 1.75 installer attempted to install JRE 1.6 from Sun, no longer available.

32-bit JRE from https://filehippo.com/download_jre_32/4824/ is accepted by Variax Workbench.


Unfortunately, that Windows 8.1 PC is a desktop located well away from my guitar playpen,

so while Variax Workbench seemed to run fine, I was unable to hear what was happening.


Dedicating a cheap/spare Windows 8.1 laptop to Variax Workbench seems good.



Some Windows apps using JRE are known to run on Linux using WINE,

and it may be possible to run Variax Workbench there.

Markus Grabner had some success making a linux driver for Variax:  


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Squeaky wheel gets the grease.


There is a significant number of installed base vintage Variax users. (On a personal note, I've kept my Variax Acoustic 700 in pristine shape, and gig with it weekly. I use Workbench regularly to create custom settings and tunings.)


If Line 6 gets a reputation for dropping support for their Variax guitars after ten years, that's gotta impact sales. 

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I agree soundog.  


Recently reacquainted myself with some older Zoom boxes laying around the shack.  Could not be happier with the level of support for Zoom products old or new.  Firmware updates no problem running latest OS X.  


To be realistic Zoom has grown very big with the recording device marketplace so they probably have greater resources than Line6 for keeping cranky old guitar pickers happy.  


But with 1st gen Workbench and a few other museum pieces the least frustrating approach I’ve found is to simply keep an old Win laptop around (never used for internet) and connect to older hardware.  


Sucks, but that’s the best I've managed to figure out...

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It seems that running VariaxWorkbench on High Sierra is indeed doomed.

VariaxWorkbench wants a 32-bit JRE and makes native calls.


The Unhandled exception is between JRE 1.6 and High Sierra.

This impacts other Java 6 apps as well.

There are no 32-bit versions of JRE 1.7 or 1.8,
even if VariaxWorkbench.app is hacked to use it (by replacing JavaApplicationStub),

and 32-bit native calls are doomed. 


FWIW, the native call issue arose when directly invoking the jar file inside VariaxWorkbench.app:


$ java  -cp VariaxWorkbench.jar variaxworkbenchapp.L6VariaxWorkbenchApp
Set temp dir: /var/folders/wf/8yvn96r13v3_2k8h9wv8fkm00000gn/T/Variax Workbench_temp


.. where "UnsatisfiedLinkError" occurs for native call failure.


An old MacBook running Sierra seems an expedient workaround;

it should be possible to boot an updated Mac from an external drive with Sierra and VariaxWorkbench..


As for Line 6, they should ideally be working on a replacement for Workbench HD

that better supports both generations.  This article describes how rewriting existing apps

can be like trying to change a bicycle tire while writing it, but taking what is learned with current software

and writing a better competitor can promote market share growth:

Lessons from 6 software rewrite stories


Edited by blekenbleu
Nag Line 6
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  • 4 weeks later...

Line 6 customers shouldn't have to resort to keeping an old computer or performing Java workarounds just to use their trusty old Variax guitars with Workbench.


There are a few things we can do to pressure Line 6 to update Workbench so it works with recent computers and operating systems:


1) open a support ticket here https://line6.com/support/tickets/add.html and the more the merrier. Squeaky wheel gets the grease.

2) be vocal on these and other forums

3) vote for support in Line 6 Ideascale right here. You'll need to register for Ideascale if you haven't already. (In my opinion, the lack of legacy Variax support shouldn't require an "idea" for submission. But sometimes you gotta approach a problem from all angles.)

Makes sense

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If reports such as this are true:

Apple abandoning Intel processors in Macs

... then we will all be keeping old software around;

based on previous experience when Apple migrated from PowerPC processors:

fat/universal binaries

... Apple will release a few versions of macOS that support both 64-bit Intel and ARM processors,

but Intel-based Macs will be more negatively impacted.

Apple's recent drop of support for 32-bit software can bee seen as an initial step in this evolution.

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The smart software companies and the ones supporting their customers had their software up and running on Intel chips when the PowerPC migration came. The only thing I left behind was a TC Electronics PowerCore, and that was a PCI hardware card.


I'll worry about an Apple migration when it comes. For now, we've got Workbench abandonware and if they threw some resources at it it would work on current and future machines. We're still using our Variax guitars!

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