What is a soft launch?

February 22

4 min. to read

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Learn more about the soft launch concept

What is a soft launch?

At Skylum, we use a software engineering process that many refer to as a soft launch.  This simply means that we start to roll the software out to different countries on a staggered release schedule. This means that depending upon where you live, you might see the software earlier or later than another photographer who lives elsewhere in the world.

What is a soft launch? Image1Clocks by Elisa Michelet

Why we do this.

The concept of a soft launch is actually quite common.  In fact, Apple does it when they release a new version of iOS and macOS. It’s all about performance.  

Think of a fire hose connected to a hydrant.  When there’s enough water pressure the water comes blasting out rapidly.  But open up too many hydrants and suddenly you're stuck with a trickle. Turns out that computer networks work the same way.

What is a soft launch? Image2Leaking fire hydrant By Grace

If every Skylum customer tried to pull down the latest copy of Luminar in the same hour, it’d be pretty frustrating.  Even more so are activation servers for serial numbers.  You may recall trouble with many iPhones all trying to activate on release day and taking hours or even days.

What it means.

The bottom line is this… we release software in a rolling wave.  Our engineering team unlocks access to a few countries early to balance the load.  No, we don’t play favorites… rather we just try to spread access to the latest versions over a 48 hour period.  This is why you might get early access or wonder why someone else got the latest software before you.

What is a soft launch? Image3Doorways by Quino Al

What it doesn’t mean.

A soft launch is not a beta test.  We’re not looking for last minute bugs to solve or feedback on the software.  Several external and internal testers have been working with this next version of the software for months.  As soon as we ship a new version, our engineering and testing teams start working on the next. We appreciate your patience as we work hard to deliver a better Luminar with each release.

How to Update

Updating your Luminar software is easy.  Be sure to also rerun the plugin installer if using Luminar as a plugin for Photoshop or Lightroom Classic.

  • Mac – Please, launch Luminar 3, then in the Top Menu Bar choose Luminar 3 > Check for updates.
  • Windows – Please, launch Luminar 3, then in the Top Menu Bar choose Help > Check for updates.

We hope you enjoy these improvements.  We’re hard at work on more performance updates and features.  Be sure to view our roadmap - click here.

Written by

Richard Harrington

Pro Photographer

Richard Harrington regularly explores the fusion of photography and video. He is also the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. and a well-known author. Rich has published over 150 courses on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, and Creating DSLR Video.

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