Mac OSX v125 Catalina Public Beta 6 & Audacity v23.3.2
EtreCheck identifies Audacity as a 32 bit app because of the funky way Audacity works. I wrote to EtreSoft and they promptly replied. Here is their reply and why users may want to start migrating away from Audacity unless Audacity commits to a total rewrite of the app.
Open source, cross-platform software like Audacity sometimes fails the 64-bit check. Such software tends to do “clever” tricks that make it difficult or impossible to do these kinds of checks.
In the case of Audacity, the “executable” defined in the application bundle is actually a script, “audacity.sh”. This script allows the user to use Linux-style dynamic library tricks to load custom versions of dependent libraries like Lame and FFmpeg. Then the script calls the underlying, 64-bit executable.
But since there is no direct link between the app bundle and that 64-bit executable, when EtreCheck looks for apps that do not have 64-bit executables, Audacity is one of the results. This is because the executable is a script. It would be impossible for EtreCheck to try to determine what the real underlying executable might be.
While Audacity’s script is relatively simple, other open source, cross-platform software can have very complicated such scripts.
My suggestion would be to contact Audacity and file a bug report.
They should use more robust methods of finding and loading dynamic libraries. Those old Linux-style tricks may not work in the future. The particular environment variable they are working with has been used in malware before, so it is possible that it may not behave as expected on a Mac. Apple is really tightening up these things. Some such scripts, perhaps all, will not work at all in future versions of macOS. Even Audacity’s script may not work. Just because it launches doesn’t mean that the script can be manipulated to launch custom versions of dynamic libraries. That may be something that Catalina no longer permits.
While EtreCheck’s “32-bit” label may not be accurate, this is software that is likely to not work in future versions of macOS and may not even function properly in Catalina. You should contact the developers of Audacity and encourage them to do extensive tests on Catalina and review Apple’s published security roadmap for future versions of macOS.