OS X Lion to Drop 'Rosetta' Support for PowerPC Applications

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Soon after Apple released the first developer preview version of OS X Lion back in late February, we noted that Apple appeared to have dropped support for Rosetta, the system that allowed Intel-based Macs to run applications written for earlier PowerPC-based systems.

    Apple of course made the transition to Intel-based processors five years ago, and Rosetta is an optional install under Snow Leopard, but some users are still hanging onto old PowerPC applications that either have not been updated at all or have updated versions to which the users do not wish to upgrade for one reason or another.

    With OS X Lion now on its fourth developer preview version and a public release set for next month, it is clear that Rosetta will not be making an appearance in Apple's next-generation Mac operating system, finally leaving those legacy applications out in the cold.


    As Macworld notes today in trying to help a user hoping to hold on to an old PowerPC version on Quicken, users who wish to upgrade to Lion while still retaining compatibility with their old applications will need to get creative.
    Macworld also suggests the possibility of running Quicken for Windows either in Boot Camp or using virtualization software such as Parallels or VMware Fusion. Quicken is a particularly interesting case given Inuit's recent revamp of its product line that has essentially left the Mac platform without a current equal to the Windows version or even earlier Mac versions, a move that has left many longtime Quicken users hoping desperately to keep their old Mac versions going.

    And of course one final option is to simply abandon use of the old PowerPC applications and find substitute offerings that will run natively on Intel-based processors. Ideal substitutes may not exist for all software, particularly specialized titles, and thus users will have to weigh the pros and cons of each solution.

    After five years of offering Rosetta as a solution to allow users to keep running PowerPC applications on Intel-based machines, it is no surprise that Apple has finally made the move to discontinue support. Apple's decision does mean, however, that some users will finally have to make decisions about how best to move forward with the current architecture.

    Article Link: OS X Lion to Drop 'Rosetta' Support for PowerPC Applications
  2. macrumors 68000

    Aug 11, 2008
    The switch to intel has been going on since 2005.

    I hate to break it to some people but its probably time to upgrade.
  3. macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2005
    I'm intrigued - is there much PPC only software still out therE?
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    Chicago, USA
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 25, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I am curious if there is any performance benefit to be gained from dropping these old technologies. Snow Leopard was a welcome house cleaning - does anyone know how Lion compares? Does it save space or take up more space than SL? How is performance?
  6. macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2007
  7. macrumors member


    Jan 27, 2009
    I'll miss Diablo 1 + 2...

    ...but that's ok, 3 isn't far (hopefully ;) )
  8. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Land of 10,000 Lakes
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    Hey Apple. how about leaving it in, but not providing operational support ( tech support ) any longer? many of us still run software that has no modern replacement, and would like to keep current while having some backward compatibility.


  9. macrumors regular


    Oct 10, 2008
    Guernsey, Channel Islands
    I can't see why they don't just allow people to download the Rosetta files if needed, like currently in SL - that way, it doesn't take up space if not needed, but can still be used if necessary.
  10. macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2004
    One such application is ImageReady CS2.

    All the alternatives I've seen so far are either too bloated, too complex or completely off in what they offer. We don't slice websites like 1995 anymore, a simple grid-based slicing with automated HTML export is NOT what I need.

    Yes, I do have to make some workarounds to be able to use CS2 (need to edit the PSDs a bit), but this is 2011 and we need a Web slicing/exporting tool that knows what sprites are, that can support alpha in 8-bit PNG files, etc.

    I write my own HTML and CSS, all I need is to load the PSD, set slices and formats with some parameters. Everyone else, like Pixelmator, are trying to out-do Photoshop and leaving us with no lightweight alternatives.
  11. macrumors member


    Oct 25, 2010
    Old News

    Very, very old news. People knew about this back in February when this came out. We knew that Rosetta couldn't be supported because the kernel has to run in full 64 bit now. If you check the Activity Monitor, it says kernel_task Intel (64-bit).
  12. macrumors demi-god


    Nov 24, 2002
    Houston Texas USA
    I think it's a totally reasonable decision, but it will impact me. I still fire up Myst/Riven/Exile from time to time and those all rely on Rosetta.
  13. macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
  14. macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2010
  15. macrumors 6502

    Dec 23, 2009
    Madison, WI
    Obvious decision is obvious. I'm surprised they didn't do it with Snow Leopard.

    Rosetta is not just the fast translation layer that translates PowerPC instructions to x86 instructions. They also had to build every single system library that PowerPC apps could potentially be linked against and include them with Snow Leopard, which means that even though the kernel couldn't run on PowerPC, 90% of the operating system could.

    It would have made engineering sense to jettison all PowerPC support at the same time, but I think they wanted to wait and let the PowerPC hate come in waves instead of all at once.

    That's not the reason at all. You can run 32-bit apps under a 64-bit kernel, and there were 64-bit PowerPC processors.

    Snow Leopard included the system libraries built for PowerPC to allow Rosetta to link. These would be several gigabytes to download, not to mention the time it takes the engineering teams to review radars related to Rosetta and continually support the rapidly aging codebase. The cons outweigh the pros.
  16. macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    Older software does not work. I think this was a bad idea. They could remove the ability to compile new software using Rosetta but there is going to be a lot of stuff that just stops working. I believe Office 2008 can not even install with out Rosetta as the installer is PPC the program itself does not need it but the installer does.

    I think it was a bad idea for Apple do drop a bomb shell like that. Honestly Apple should of give at least 2 years noticed so companies and enterprise which tend to move slower have noticed but then again this is why Apple sucks in the enterprise market.
  17. macrumors member


    Jun 17, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    Switch to iBank

    If you are stuck with the old Quicken for Mac and don't like the new Quicken for Mac, you should try out iBank (http://www.iggsoftware.com/ibank).

    iBank is what Quicken for Mac SHOULD have been. I converted to iBank about (2) years ago and I haven't looked back.

    Quicken, who? :)
  18. macrumors 68000


    Aug 11, 2003
    Except for when there is no adequate Mac upgrade path (i.e. Quicken). The only option as the article states is to either keep a Snow Leopard boot drive around, or simply abandon Quicken for Mac altogether and start using the Windows version in Boot Camp/Parallels.
  19. macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2009
    SF Bay Area, California
    i1Match currently requires Rosetta. That's the X-Rite i1Display 2 monitor calibration software.
  20. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 29, 2008
    Not relevant at all. Not every Lion capable machine is capable of running its kernel in 64bit mode.
  21. macrumors newbie


    Mar 4, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Man, it looks like my old copy of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 will have to go..
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Jerome Morrow

    Jun 13, 2011
    United Kingdom
    Don't know about performance, but fewer lines of code to maintain is a good thing.
  23. macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
  24. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 29, 2008
    Good point, I forgot all about this. I've already been warning people they need Office 2008 or newer if they plan to upgrade, but I totally forgot the installer is PowerPC (which makes zero sense).
  25. macrumors G3


    Mar 20, 2007
    I don't run any PPC only applications (anymore), so I'm not bothered.

    Maybe someone could compile a list of PPC only applications that have poor replacements.

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