Completely annoyed at Apple

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Spectrum, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. Spectrum, Aug 11, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011

    Spectrum macrumors 6502a

    Spectrum

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    What am I supposed to do?

    I need to be able to continue to buy new computers (for the office/lab) AND I need to run PowerPC apps. What can I do? Apple has completely screwed us over. The app we use, unfortunately, is scientific software - proprietary, and made by the company that made the hardware that generates the files (circa 2001-2004). The hardware cost us about £100,000 and is not getting replaced anytime soon. The software (Fuji) is not going to EVER be updated (It hasn't been since 2001), and yet it is the best way to analyse our files.

    Apple MUST provide a way to continue to run PPC software, surely? It runs brilliantly, and is essential to our research.

    At least the ability to dual boot Snow Leopard and Lion on the same computer would be useful, but it seems even that is impossible on ALL new Macs.

    I really don't know what to do. :-(
     
  2. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #2
    Why not "Completely annoyed at Fuji" for not updating at their end.

    Don't bother with Lion, nothing wrong with SL.
     
  3. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #3
    If you're unwilling or unable to change your workflow, it's the used market for you. Might want to glom a bunch of Apple refurbs while you still can.
     
  4. psxguru macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 19, 2006
    #4
    You could get Snow Leopard running on new hardware or there are guides on getting SL to run in a virtual machine.

    Is there documentation for this hardware/software e.g. file formats, you should think about developing new software going forward especially since it doesn't sound like it's supported by Fuji at all?
     
  5. marsmissions macrumors 6502

    marsmissions

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Washington, US
    #5
    You spent £100,000 on hardware and they won't update the software???

    You got ripped off.
     
  6. Macjames macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    Location:
    Yorkshire, England
    #6
    Stop spending money on new computers and save up to replace this Fuji software and hardware, forgive me for not understanding if that is the case, but if it runs brilliantly now why do you need to keep buying new computers (apart from the usual suspects like speed increases - which you could live without surely)?
     
  7. Spectrum, Aug 11, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2011

    Spectrum thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Spectrum

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    Hardware is a Fuji fluorescent scanner only bought mid-2010. Runs from a PC, but generates files that are read by a lightweight analysis program circa 2001 called ImageGauge, that we have OSX versions of. There is no newer version for Mac. The alternative quantification software that came with the Fuji scanner is also PowerPC coded.

    I have contacted colleagues in the US and they are in the same position. The software works fine on current 10.5, 10.6 macs, but will of course not work on anything for sale as of this month. We are talking about an entire institute that will be unable to open or read these files if they upgrade their computers to Lion (or buy any new computer). In general, the lifespan of this kind of £100k equipment will be at least 10 years.

    Regarding new computers. My laptop is already 3 years old, and is due for replacement (out of applecare). Simply put: a new Mac will not run the software I use day-to-day for experimental analysis. This is pretty serious.

    I heard about the loss of Rosetta, but just thought we'd continue to use SL...without realising that this is not possible on new hardware.

    Where is the apple.com page that says Lion stops support for PPC software?
    Where was the advance notification (by apple.com) about this?

    Links only to apple.com documents please.

    Thanks for your input. Those are not bad ideas at all. But is SL going to run on Lion even under virtualisation? Won't there be hardware incompatibility remaining? - if not, what stops it being installed directly on new hardware? Lion seems like a big headache to me. What exactly was improved for the "power" user?

    Regarding software development. That might be possible, but will not be easy (for us). Especially when the simple solution is to just use Windows versions of similar software (that are still supported - either by the software company, or by MS supporting apps designed for old OS's). This is the first time I've ever said it, but the advent of Lion really makes me consider moving wholesale to Windows 7. And this is from a Mac user of 15 years.
     
  8. farmermac macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Location:
    Iowa
    #8
    Gotta do what you gotta do

    Im in the same boat at work and decided to just virtualize xp for the 2 apps I need. No big deal. Bulk of computing still in osx. Virus and malware free environment is my #1 reason to keep my work machines mac's
     
  9. Quad5Ny, Aug 11, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011

    Quad5Ny macrumors 6502a

    Quad5Ny

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Location:
    New York, USA
    #9
    If you want to run the Windows version; Boot Camp or Some virtualization package (or both).


    If you want to run the SL Rosetta version; get VirualBox, it won't cost you a dime (technically VBox only supports SL Server but normal SL works too).

    If you do decide to go this route keep in mind that VB doesn't currently it support QE or CI so anything heavy on graphics will be choppy.
     
  10. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #10
    Spectrum, can you tell us a little more about the files? How big are the files? Are they image files? Data files? If you look at them in text edit, do you see a bunch of xml looking text or do you see a bunch of non printing characters? Once you open them in the PPC application, are you able to save the data in a different format or do you need the ability to open these files on each and every Mac your company owns?

    I would say park a G4 over by the Fugi scanner and make it convert files all day so you can view them on your fleet of Lion machines. As for replacing a machine that is 3 years old because it is out of Applecare? Please. You can get 3 more years out of it easily. I suggest a RAM and SSD upgrade, staying at Snow Leopard and you can easily cross this bridge in 2014. Perhaps by then, Fugi will have enough pressure to update the software to run on newer hardware. Another option is to write a contract with Fugi to make a file converter for you or update the software for you. Are you paying maintenance fees on the equipment or software? If so you might find the cost of adding new features is "affordable" and by that I mean affordable to an outfit that could spend £100k on the equipment to begin with. If you bought it in 2010, was it new or used? If it was new, you have a case to force conversion of the software. If it's already available for Windows, then Win 7 / Parallels may solve your problem.
     
  11. Spectrum, Aug 12, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2011

    Spectrum thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Spectrum

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    If I go this route, can you do simple things, like copy and paste, between XP and OSX?

    How long do you think running SL via virtualisation will be possible on newer and newer hardware? Is this likely to get easier or harder with newer OSX updates? We really need a stable long-term solution. Dumping OSX and just running everything on Windows is one option (and would keep my IT department happy, as the University is more PC-centric). But there are other applications I'd lose (Sente being an important one to me).

    The files are originally a proprietary image format (.img). I've not looked at them in a text editor, but will do. We currently have two options to work on them directly on OSX. One is Fuji software, the other is an AIDA software package that we bought at the time we purchased the scanner. Both are PPC apps, and neither are actively developed any more for OSX. The scanner system, however, was also sold to us with a PC network licence for the same AIDA software, which is actively developed.

    My colleagues in the states are in a different position, as when they bought the scanner (4 years ago), it was an entirely OSX system with only OSX software. And a department that only runs Macs. That same system they bought will not run on Lion, so as they update/buy new computers they will lose access to all their files.

    Well, within the software, we can export raw data in TIFF format, and can then analyse with other software (for example ImageJ, but this requires yet additional workflow, due to the Fuji storing intensities in Log-format. However, the ImageJ interface is a poor substitute for the features offered in the Fuji software). In any case, this does not allow us access to any file that we have already performed analysis on (draw lanes/bands/peaks etc) which become some form of overlay. These will all be lost in a TIFF export. Furthermore, doing the conversion still requires that we always have a working machine that can open all the old files. Basically I am now seeing that proprietary formats are a real pain for future compatibility.

    That is true. And i wouldn't normally jump straight onto a new machine. But I am wondering if it is better to quickly get a MBPro or MacPro now (which could probably still run SL), before they get updated the the Air/mini style (which probably will NEVER be able to run SL). There again, when I have new people joining the lab new year, and if they need a laptop to work on, what do I buy them?

    When we bought the scanner, it was from a distributor of Fuji machines (Fuji now sell exclusively through a massive company called GE Healthcare who only supply PC systems/software). But in any case, the distributor also sold it to us as a PC package, but we purchased additional Mac software licences from them. About half of our groups run Mac labs, so it affects us much more. But the point is that the institute I came from used this same machine exclusively with Macs, therefore I have lots of old files, and they continue to produce new Mac files on a daily basis. I have continued to use the Fuji software because it works/runs better than the AIDA Mac software we were sold (which is PPC only anyway!).

    Seriously, if I'd known at the time that Rosetta would be dropped in future OSX revisions and I'd known that the software was only PPC for Macs (I had no reason at the time to look into this) our purchasing decision would have been different. So, you could easily argue that we made an unfortunate purchasing decision, but at the same time, there was no message from Apple (that I am aware of) that Rosetta would be dropped in the future. If there is such a document/press release from Apple, someone please show it to me! I have contacted Apple, and of course had no response on this issue. It is a major loss to Apple's user base, and since the only option is to run Windows versions of the software, we may as well just bite the bullet and move over wholesale. What benefit do I have in buying new Macs from this point forward, only to have to BootCamp or virtualise? It just creates more potential headaches.

    I also have no idea whether if I we attempt to virtualise windows to run the Windows version of AiDA within OSX, whether it will recognise our network user licence. Any ideas on this?

    Such a long post...but fundamentally, keeping Rosetta (or selling Rosetta as an optional install), and/or an official statement from Apple supporting virtualisation of old OSs indefinitely is the kind of assurance I need to be comfortable purchasing new Mac computers.

    And if Apple do not intend to do this, they should have made a PUBLIC statement 3+ years ago (when Leopard was released) that Rosetta was temporary, rather than making out that it was the best thing since sliced bread! I honestly think Rosetta is an amazing piece of software - why drop it? And why no OFFICIAL announcement about this? We are talking about a multi-billion pound company! Can they not afford to send out an email or press release to all users informing them of this plan? In advance?!?

    That is why I am so annoyed at Apple. They seem to think that people only use their computers for Office/PS/iLife, which in my opinion is far from a complete depiction of their installed user base of 20-odd years.
     
  12. Quad5Ny macrumors 6502a

    Quad5Ny

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Location:
    New York, USA
    #12
    Many colleges and universities dual boot Windows and OS X because of the same problem your having right now (some programs only work in Windows and visa versa).

    I'm assuming your Uni already has a bunch of Windows licenses? If so why not just setup Windows on the machines that need it using Boot Camp. There is even a simple interface for your inexperienced users to choose between Windows/OS X on boot; http://www.apple.com/education/resources/bootpicker/

    As for virtualizing Snow Leopard, technically you would be able to run it in a VM forever. But more realistically Oracle might drop support for it in the future.
     
  13. wpotere Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    #13

    Forever? Virtualisation by name creates an environment that simulates certain hardware so SL will continue to run no matter what. I can still build and run a Windows 95 machine in a VM. So you should be safe to do this. However, it really isn't a solution to your issues and your university needs to start looking for a new vendor that can provide support moving forward as this simply isn't a option.
     
  14. uuaschbaer, Aug 12, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011

    uuaschbaer macrumors regular

    uuaschbaer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    #14
    Maybe you could build hackintoshes for the next ten years but that is also somewhat silly. Can't you pay someone to write a conversion tool? Or slowly migrate to windows by converting everything to TIFF and only allowing the macs to be used for old projects. Or pay lots of students to replicate the analysis in Image J. It seems likely that at some point you're going to have to leave the Fuji software behind anyway.
    Or you could sell the hardware to companies that only plan on using windows software and buy new hardware yourself with better software than Image J, preferably with TIFF support.
    Or you could pay people to write plugins for ImageJ. Or have them build on the source code which is freely available.
    At risk of losing 100,000 GBP you may want to consider spending some money.

    Edit: Have you looked at photoshop extended and the DesAcc plugins for it? Apparently DesAcc also offers "Data Migration Services" but I have no idea if they can help you.
     
  15. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #15
    Spectrum,

    Ask Steve
    I can't believe you are the only lab in this situation. Judging from the amount of money involved, you have a case to ask Apple directly about porting Rosetta to Lion or perhaps allowing a third party developer to port Rosetta to Lion. I'm curious to see what Apple would say about this. Have you considered emailing Steve directly? He (or somebody on his behalf) has been known to reply to requests where the customer had a lot less than several hundred thousand pounds at stake.

    Use Parallels
    In the meantime, I'm not entirely clear what the issue is with virtualization. Virtualization is in use in a lot of production environments. At this point, if the Fugi software works properly in Windows I would be looking at the possibility of rolling out virtualbox or parallels and Windows to all of your labs that rely on this software. The down side to this approach is managing your data files between your real OS X partition and any windows partitions you might decide to create to support virtualization.

    Try Crossover
    I would also check to see if the Fugi software can run under Crossover. This allows you to keep your data files in your normal OS X file system (under a folder with a name like drive_c) and run the application that views the files under wine/crossover. I'm not particularly optimistic about this because there are limited windows api's supported by Crossover and one graphics program I like a lot (Paint Shop Pro) refuses to work under Crossover. MS Office 97-2003 and Wordperfect up to version X3 however do work under Crossover so it's worth a shot.

    Licensing
    If you purchased a certain number of OS X licenses, you would be effectively "abandoning" these as your labs upgrade to Lion. I would think you could convert them to Windows licenses for a modest cost or perhaps no cost if you are using network served licenses.
     
  16. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #16
    The nature of VMs is that they run forever, as running the VM is almost entirely independent of the hardware. In theory you can run an old PowerPC OSX on an Intel Platform in a VM. Awefully bad performance but the new chips are that much faster anyway.
    A simple XP or Win7 VM is the easiest solution, or just getting Windows computers if there is no active development for OSX anyway.
    While there was no speicific statement from Apple toward the issue, it was to be expected with Apple. They do things like this. With Lion it wasn't because they had to but simply to force people to leave behind the old stuff. In their opinion everyone had enough time to switch. Since PPC is more or less dead and only exists in Software Virtualisation for years now, one might expect that nobody would introduce new stuff dependent on it.
     
  17. Spectrum thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Spectrum

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #17
    The big problem I see for this is the lack of coherence. I multi-task all the time, and boot camp will not help this at all. We regularly go back and forth between the software/image analysis and an excel spreadsheet. So then we'd have to do all the excel in Windows too. In any case, we already have PCs around, so at that point we may as well run the analysis directly on the PCs and email/share the results to the Macs.

    QUOTE=Quad5Ny;13164024]As for virtualizing Snow Leopard, technically you would be able to run it in a VM forever. But more realistically Oracle might drop support for it in the future.[/QUOTE]

    I see. So virtualisation works because it mimics the hardware of an old computer? I didn't realise (but now understand) that was why it can work on a new Mac (perhaps indefinitely). I quite like this option. Can we copy/paste between the virtual machine and the host? Are the file systems kept separate, and can they be easily shared? Could one have synchronised email (IMAP) account on both the new and the VM machine?

    Some good ideas there. In essence, the software already has a TIFF exporter, but not an exporter of the analysed files. We could certainly get a plug in written for ImageJ (so that the native file format can be opened), but I doubt it would ever be able to interpret/overlay the analysis sensibly (or usefully). And the current anlysis tools in ImageJ are rubbish anyway (it is good for some things though).

    All this is really pointing to three options:
    1/ Ditch Fuji OSX software and use the AIDA software in virtual XP machines (or on standalone windows machines). Caveat: AIDA will not open files analysed previously on Fuji, so old analysis will be lost.
    2/ Keep using Fuji OSX software and attempt to get SL running as a VM on Lion as-and-when we upgrade Apple hardware. Caveat: It is not officially supported/sanctioned by Apple. Therefore, our IT dept may not like it.
    3/ Try to procure the Fuji software as a Windows version and go XP VM route. I am looking into this right now. Let's hope a Windows version opens the OSX files...

    Thanks for the input. Of course, Apple could just have continued Rosetta support...anyone managed to find an official statement about this from apple.com yet? ;-)
     
  18. wpotere Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    #18
    Yes, the VM software sits between the hardware and the VM company provides drivers to support the OS you want to install.

    Yes, you can copy and paste between the two.

    In a VM the virtual hard drive is actually a file. So, they are separate environments. The VM software can easily setup a share between the host and the VM. In most cases it is automated.

    Another yes on your last question. Using IMAP you can have an e-mail client on both sides.

    I use VMWare Fusion on my Mac to run windows when needed and it works very well. Be advised that you will need to have lots of memory. VM will dynamically allocate memory as needed but it is best to give the VM OS a small chunk to start. :)
     
  19. res1233 macrumors 65816

    res1233

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #19
    To be perfectly honest, you guys are taking a HUGE risk using unsupported software. I can't imagine there isn't a replacement out there somewhere that you can transition over to. Honestly, you should have looked into a transition once Apple switched to Intel computers since this situation was extremely foreseeable.
     
  20. uuaschbaer, Aug 12, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011

    uuaschbaer macrumors regular

    uuaschbaer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    #20
    Actually I was more thinking of developing your own analysis tools for Image J but you might just as well ask the aida people to develop an .img importer for you given the situation that your ultra-Atlantic colleagues are in.

    Edit: I just remembered: they were ****ed. In that case: given the situation you are in.
    Edit 2: Macrumors doesn't allow for swearing; suffice it to say that your colleagues were copulated transitively.
     
  21. Spectrum, Aug 12, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011

    Spectrum thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Spectrum

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    Mar 23, 2005
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    UK
    #21
    How much is loads of memory? 8GB on a MBPro? 4GB on a MBAir with SSD?
    Would it be terrible using VMWare (or similar) to run SL to run Rosetta apps? It sounds terrible! :)

    I've not looked at it that way until now. I guess you are right. By continuing to use the Fuji OSX software we are at risk. But even if we switch to AIDA PC software, we still lose access to years of files. (At least we can export the raw data to TIFF for posterity though of course.)

    With hindsight it now looks foreseeable, but I'm not sure it really was 2 years ago. We were too busy using things that already worked robustly (Leopard) than thinking about the future. And I happen to think most people are like that. All the admin staff around here _hate_ it when IT services insist on rolling out iterative Windows upgrades, because they have to learn how to use all the software over. It really is almost entirely counterproductive for productivity, but is forced on us by software companies saying they no longer support a perfectly functional OS.

    And if it was so foreseeable: WHERE WAS APPLE'S STATEMENT?

    That's not a bad idea. I suspect though that he'll say "you're taking a huge risk using unsupported software, we suggest you move on" ;-)

    I'll look further into these options. I'd much rather have a single filesystem to archiving purposes. Although I suppose a VM will also backup fine with TMachine or other commercial solutions (Crash Plan Pro).
    I'd never heard of Crossover, so will do some searching. This would allow running of XP software directly in OSX? (via some kind of emulation layer I suppose)
    Licensing is not a big issue. We have a network licence for the AIDA PC software, and standalone AIDA dongles for Mac. If going VM>windows route, we'd just need to hope that the VM is recognised by the network licence server. Each licence is about £1000, and I am sure I could put pressure on the AIDA developer to support VM running. As you might expect, the unsupported Fuji software (which would still be needed to open our old analysed files) is now apparently unlicensed (well, we do not pay for a licence for it to run).

    In general, there is a really big hole in the native OSX analysis software. All the native stuff I am aware of stopped development in the PowerPC era. With the only "native" options I know about being ImageJ (crap) and LabImage (buggy as hell when I tested it). I think both of those are actually Java progammes anyway!
     
  22. Spectrum thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Spectrum

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    #22
    AIDA already opens the original .img files that the scanner spits out. It doesn't open .img files that have already been worked on in Fuji ImageGauge though.
     
  23. rikscha macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 8, 2010
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    London
    #23
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_5 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8L1 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Virtual machine or pay them 100k to rewrite the software.
     
  24. wpotere Guest

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    Oct 7, 2010
    #24
    8 Gigs will do. With Lion and 4 Gigs on my Macbook is barely enough.
     
  25. Spectrum thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Spectrum

    Joined:
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    Location:
    UK
    #25
    Ta! So a MBAir is probably out then. Of course the software is very lightweight. It was designed to run on whatever was standard issue around 2001: 500Mhz G4s?
     

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