Notes on Apple's Rosetta Technology

MacRumors

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Apr 12, 2001
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With Apple transitioning the entire Macintosh line over to Intel processors over the next 12 months, users will have to be familiar with Rosetta. Rosetta is the emulator (translator) that allows current Mac (PowerPC) programs to run under the new Intel processors.

Apple has posted some recent developer notes about Rosetta which may be of interest to users.

Rosetta supports "applications that run on the PowerPC G3 or G4 processor that are built for Mac OS X". This excludes the following applications:

- Classic Environment, and subsequently any Mac OS 9 or earlier applications
- Screensavers written for the PowerPC
- System Preference add-ons
- Applications which specifically require the PowerPC G5
- Kernel extensions
- Some Java applications

As developers compile their applications for the new Intel processors, they will be releasing all new applications as Universal Binaries. Universal Binaries have both PowerPC and Intel code and can be used on either type of Mac.

You can tell if an application is is Universal or PowerPC by opening the Info window in finder. (example)
 

ksz

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Oct 28, 2003
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I wonder if AltiVec is being translated. Apps that make specific use of the G5 does not exclude AltiVec since AltiVec debuted on the G4.
 

Lacero

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Jan 20, 2005
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- Applications which specifically require the PowerPC G5
Final Cut Studio doesn't run under Rosetta and it doesn't require a G5. How about any app that needs direct access to CoreAudio and OpenGL?
 

maxp1

macrumors regular
Feb 12, 2005
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OS9 finally dead.

Guess that's the end of the line for that.

Good ridance.

(sadly this isn't quite true, there will still be people using their old graphite Macs with OS9 a decade from now. ):)
 

DMann

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Jan 13, 2002
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Not Bad for Immediate compatability

Rosetta ought to work fine until all goes native!
 

BornAgainMac

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Feb 4, 2004
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Some Java Apps and OS 9 Apps

Some Java? That is strange to be in the same list as OS 9 applications.

I wonder how you can tell if a screen saver is written for PowerPC vs CPU independent.
 

DakotaGuy

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Jan 14, 2002
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Maybe someone can find more applications that are currently universal on their Macs, but the only 2 that I can find on mine are Quicktime and iTunes. The rest are still PowerPC. Will Software Updates from here on out start changing all of the applications over to Universal?
 

Undecided

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Mar 4, 2005
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scan tool

How about a tool to scan the installed apps, extensions, etc., etc. and report on which are PPC and which are universal? And lookup which PPC have universals available? That's be sweet.
 

SnarkMan

macrumors newbie
Apr 13, 2005
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Scan to find Universal apps

Undecided said:
How about a tool to scan the installed apps, extensions, etc., etc. and report on which are PPC and which are universal? And lookup which PPC have universals available? That's be sweet.
If you're running 10.4.4 the System Profiler already does that.
 

Doctor Q

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Sep 19, 2002
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BornAgainMac said:
I wonder how you can tell if a screen saver is written for PowerPC vs CPU independent.
The same as any other application, with Get Info. But you'll first have to locate the screensaver, e.g., /Users/BornAgainMac/Library/Screen Savers.
 

freiheit

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Jul 20, 2004
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APIs are usually hardware independent

Lacero said:
Final Cut Studio doesn't run under Rosetta and it doesn't require a G5. How about any app that needs direct access to CoreAudio and OpenGL?
Since the idea of both CoreAudio and OpenGL is to provide APIs rather than having the developer code directly for the hardware, I'd say there should be no problem with those. But I'm not a developer; it just seems silly to make software functions that provide access to underlying hardware if you still have to code for the underlying hardware.
 

jimthorn

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Apr 24, 2003
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maxp1 said:
OS 9 finally dead. Guess that's the end of the line for that. Good ridance.
Yes, it's about time.

I was wondering about Classic after it was confirmed that Virtual PC wouldn't work on Intel either. Interesting about G3/G4 compatibility versus G5.
 

mmzplanet

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Nov 4, 2004
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Abercrombieboy said:
Maybe someone can find more applications that are currently universal on their Macs, but the only 2 that I can find on mine are Quicktime and iTunes. The rest are still PowerPC. Will Software Updates from here on out start changing all of the applications over to Universal?
I would bet iLife 06 apps are all universal. :) I'm sure someone who has it installed already could confirm that.
 

LEgregius

macrumors member
Jun 13, 2003
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Java

BornAgainMac said:
Some Java? That is strange to be in the same list as OS 9 applications.

I wonder how you can tell if a screen saver is written for PowerPC vs CPU independent.
Java applications that use JNI bindings, i.e. hooks into native libraries, won't work because the VM that starts up the app will be running natively. Normal Java applications will work fine.
 

dornoforpyros

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Oct 19, 2004
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milky23 said:
Will my newly purchased Adobe Creative Suite 2 run on Rosetta?
I think jobs said it would run...but not fast enough for a pro. Personally I'd stick with the PPC macs for the next year or so untill the transition is complete.
 

ReanimationLP

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Jan 8, 2005
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Lacero said:
Final Cut Studio doesn't run under Rosetta and it doesn't require a G5. How about any app that needs direct access to CoreAudio and OpenGL?
None of the Pro apps run on Rosetta. They want you to crossgrade. ;)
 

kanaka

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Jul 8, 2002
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I believe widgets with plugins will not work under Rosetta either. The plugin used by the widget needs to be rebuilt as a universal binary. Native applications (such as the DashboardClient) cannot use non-native plugins. This is also probably why 3rd party System Preference panes are on the exclusion list.
 

nagromme

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May 2, 2002
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ksz said:
I wonder if AltiVec is being translated. Apps that make specific use of the G5 does not exclude AltiVec since AltiVec debuted on the G4.
AltiVec is now being translated. A year ago Apple said not. But Rosetta has improved since then :) (Don't expect AltiVec speed, just AltiVec compatibility.)


ReanimationLP said:
None of the Pro apps run on Rosetta. They want you to crossgrade. ;)
I wonder whether they really can NOT be run at all, or if it's just that performance wouldn't be acceptable for pros, and fast native versions are coming very soon, so Apple's calling them incompatible. (Like some games that claim they need a G4--but actually run on a G3 if you try it, just not quickly.)

We'll know soon.
 

kylos

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Nov 8, 2002
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BornAgainMac said:
Some Java? That is strange to be in the same list as OS 9 applications.

I wonder how you can tell if a screen saver is written for PowerPC vs CPU independent.
The page linked to in the article clarified that this is only for Java JNI apps and non-native apps running applets. JNI is the Java Native Interface. It allows Java code to interface with native libraries. Most Java apps rely on the Java runtime to interact with the system and don't need to use JNI. Also, JNI ties an app to a specific platform, which goes against the portability Java is intended for. This mostly affects businesses who need to have Java apps interface with their legacy code.
 

samh004

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Mar 1, 2004
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Macrumors said:


Rosetta supports "applications that run on the PowerPC G3 or G4 processor that are built for Mac OS X". This excludes the following applications:

- System Preference add-ons
Can someone please explain this a bit more. Does that mean these preferences wont even load ?