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View Full Version : Rosetta implies lack of legacy PowerPC support




furi
Jan 14, 2006, 01:04 AM
I couldn't help but notice the implications of the Rosetta technology, that being envitably all PowerPC systems will be at the mercy of software developers due to rosetta's inability to translate Intel x86 binaries to PowerPC. So what does this mean for the average user? Pretty much this: if a software company ceases to support their software for the PowerPC platform, all PowerPC computers will be rendered useless as they can't run that software. Bottom line: no software vendor support for PowerPC macs == your PowerPC mac was a waste of money. For example, say Microsoft decided to release the next version of Microsoft Office for mac ONLY for Intel x86, PowerPCs users would be forced to abandon their computers in favour for a new mac. Where does this cause problems? Well, considering Apple is still selling PowerPC macs, and they plan to until 2008/2009 (correct that if i'm wrong), AND the fact that lack of hardware vendor support would and could translate to lack of software vendor support AND most Apple users plan to keep their mac for a minimum of 4 years, Apple will leave a extremely significant part of their clients in the cold with their investment (in a computer) depreciating a lot faster than they would expect. This would, in turn, cause serious damage to their image of quality and consumer confidence as that level of quality and consumer confidence would have to be rebuilt over the years again.

I'm pretty mad because I invested in a 20" iMac G5 expecting it to last 5 years, but it may have a shorter life than I originally planned, making my investment not worth while. I hope soon-to-be buyers of any PowerPC mac be advised that their mac they're looking into buying will not have the same life expectancy nor value as an Intel x86 system would.



superbovine
Jan 14, 2006, 01:18 AM
considering it only a switch in xcode to compile x86 or PPC I wouldn't be worried, about vendors stopping support unless the code depended on heavily optimized hand written assembly code. The free market will the factor in determining how long software support for PPC will last, and I think your time frame of 4 years, you will be ok because software vendors have to base their sales on market demand and giving what their clients need want, not what they want to develop.

wattage
Jan 14, 2006, 01:28 AM
Ok, correct me if I'm wrong but this would only effect you with upgrades right? I mean, the current software on my 3 year old pbook won't all of a sudden quit working; it would just be new or upgraded software.....which I do realize is a big issue but your core apps and uses will remain.

bousozoku
Jan 14, 2006, 01:38 AM
considering it only a switch in xcode to compile x86 or PPC I wouldn't be worried, about vendors stopping support unless the code depended on heavily optimized hand written assembly code. The free market will the factor in determining how long software support for PPC will last, and I think your time frame of 4 years, you will be ok because software vendors have to base their sales on market demand and giving what their clients need want, not what they want to develop.

If it were only so simple but then, everyone would have a powerful machine and software would never have bugs.

For the very, very clean software written precisely for Mac OS X and nothing else, the answer is likely to be as you've stated it--a switch.

For everything else, varying degrees of difficulty even without assembly code--whether it's Carbon or Cocoa.

I don't think that anyone will abandon the PPC platform for quite a while and, even then, the software that people have will likely continue to work though finding device drivers may be difficult. (Oh wait! We're already having trouble getting Mac OS X device drivers--still--for some hardware.)

StrongGlad
Jan 14, 2006, 01:42 AM
I agree with superbovine--software developers would be shooting themselves squarely in the foot by "forcing" Mac users to shift to Intel prematurely, and have little incentive to do so. Even assuming a fairly aggressive migration to Intel by Mac users, in four years the installed base of Macs is likely to consist of, say, 20% PPC machines, at least. Would you really want to "lock out" 20% of your potential customers unnecessarily if you were a software developer? Especially since compiling a universal binary involves a relatively trivial amount of additional effort (if cross-compatibility is kept in mind from a project's inception).

Of course, with some applications, you may encounter *performance-based* obstacles with a four-year-old machine, but this has little to do with the Intel switch.

I would be more concerned about APPLE making the next version of OS X Intel-only, since Apple definitely has an incentive to induce purchases of new Macs. Even if 10.5 requires Intel, however, your ability to run APPLICATIONS shouldn't be affected, as Apple has finally stabilized the APIs (the "hooks" into the OS that are used by applications) with Tiger, i.e., apps that run under 10.4 *should* run fine under 10.5, 10.6, etc.

jimthorn
Jan 14, 2006, 01:51 AM
The push right now is for developers to create Universal Binaries for both Intel and PPC systems. I don't imagine this will change for at least a few years. And Apple has always been good about supporting older hardware for years. Heck, I just installed Tiger on an old iMac G3 400MHz the other day and it works fine. That machine was from late 1999. So don't panic. And OS X 10.5 will certainly not be Intel-only. There were fears a few years ago when the "new 64-bit G5" was released that the upcoming next release of OS X would be 64-bit only and G3/G4 users would be left out in the cold. That never happened.

wattage
Jan 14, 2006, 01:54 AM
I would be more concerned about APPLE making the next version of OS X Intel-only, since Apple definitely has an incentive to induce purchases of new Macs. Even if 10.5 requires Intel, however, your ability to run APPLICATIONS shouldn't be affected, as Apple has finally stabilized the APIs (the "hooks" into the OS that are used by applications) with Tiger, i.e., apps that run under 10.4 *should* run fine under 10.5, 10.6, etc.

So, IF this happened, PPC users would not be able to upgrade to OS 10.5? Is that what you are saying? I really don't think they would do that, do you?

My gut would be for Apple to offer Universal upgrades (OS) for another 3 years or so.

StrongGlad
Jan 14, 2006, 02:06 AM
So, IF this happened, PPC users would not be able to upgrade to OS 10.5? Is that what you are saying? I really don't think they would do that, do you?

My gut would be for Apple to offer Universal upgrades (OS) for another 3 years or so.

Yes, if. I definitely DON'T think Apple will insist on Intel with 10.5 (and probably not 10.6, either). My only point was that if anyone has an incentive to force users onto Intel down the road, it's probably Apple (as opposed to third-party developers), since Apple benefits directly from the sale of every new Mac.

theBB
Jan 14, 2006, 02:21 AM
Yes, if. I definitely DON'T think Apple will insist on Intel with 10.5 (and probably not 10.6, either). My only point was that if anyone has an incentive to force users onto Intel down the road, it's probably Apple (as opposed to third-party developers), since Apple benefits directly from the sale of every new Mac.

I agree. However, Apple sells each OS X 10.x version for about $130; even Apple cannot give up on the G3/G4/G5 owners as potential upgrade customers for a long while.

superbovine
Jan 14, 2006, 03:28 AM
If it were only so simple but then, everyone would have a powerful machine and software would never have bugs.


I didn't mean to over simply the issue, I understand that all software contains bugs, and emulation have their limits.


For the very, very clean software written precisely for Mac OS X and nothing else, the answer is likely to be as you've stated it--a switch.

edit: just read up on it...

http://tinyurl.com/apx79


Before you build your code as a universal binary, you must ensure that:

Your application already builds for Mac OS X. Your application can use any of the Mac OS X development environments: Carbon, Cocoa, Java, or BSD UNIX.
Your application uses the Mach-O executable format. Mach-O binaries are the only type of binary that run natively on an Intel-based Macintosh computer. If you are already using the Xcode compilers and linkers, your application is a Mach–O binary. Carbon applications based on the Code Fragment Manager Preferred Executable Format (PEF) must be changed to Mach-O.
Your Xcode target is a native Xcode target. If it isn’t, in Xcode you can choose Project > Upgrade All Targets in Project to Native.
Your code project is ported to GCC 4.0. Xcode uses GCC 4.0 for targeting Intel-based Macintosh computers. You may want to look at the document GCC Porting Guide to assess whether you need to make any changes to your code to allow it to compile using GCC 4.0.
You installed the Mac OS X v10.4 universal SDK. The installer places the SDK in this location:
/Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.4u.sdk

smwatson
Jan 14, 2006, 06:56 AM
All software will have to be universal for at least 4-5 years. If this wasnt going to be the case, then Apple are going to be leaving countless numbers of people with no support for their machines. I dont know about you, but my iMac is only 3 months old, and if i could no longer buy software for it in the near future, i would probably never buy Apple again. They HAVE to support their current users; and their current users are all on PPC. Sure, alot will switch straight away, but there are still going to be people with PPC 3-4 years down the line.

technicolor
Jan 14, 2006, 10:45 AM
This makes no sense. Apple is STILL selling PowerPCs, meaning they are still collecting more PowerPC customers even though the Intels are out. Its no way they are going to stop or have vendors stop making apps for the PowerPc users. I would be worried if production/selling of PowerPCs abrubtly stopped, but it hasnt.

MisterMe
Jan 14, 2006, 02:15 PM
This makes no sense. Apple is STILL selling PowerPCs, meaning they are still collecting more PowerPC customers even though the Intels are out. Its no way they are going to stop or have vendors stop making apps for the PowerPc users. I would be worried if production/selling of PowerPCs abrubtly stopped, but it hasnt.You are absolutely correct. Apple will still be selling PPC based machines when it replaces MacOS X 10.4 with MacOS X 10.5. The notion that Apple will stop supporting its PPC machines in short order is counter to its own statements and to its history. Apple says that it will support PPC-based computers for five (5) years after the transition. Since the transition is scheduled to be complete in 2007, this means that Apple is committed to supporting its PPC-based computers until 2012. If we look at Apple's history--particularly its 680x0 to PPC transition--we can be reassured. The first PPC Macs ran System 7.1. Its 680x0 Macs were supported up through MacOS 8.0. MacOS 8.1 was the first PPC-only version of Apple's OS.