Lion discontinues support of Rosetta

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Apple has dropped support for Rosetta, the system allowing PowerPC applications to run on Intel-based Macintoshes. After having made the switch for their machine architecture five years ago, it comes as no real surprise that the company is choosing to kill Rosetta off at this point. When OS X Lion releases publicly, currently expected to happen in July, Rosetta will not be present, as MacRumors confirms. Choosing whether to upgrade to Lion and lose PowerPC-exclusive applications or whether to remain with an older version of OS X (Snow Leopard will be the final version of Mac OS X to support Rosetta) is a difficult prospect for some users. Quite how they choose to progress remains to be seen, though it is possible that someone will capitalize on this opportunity and find alternatives to the specialized software that is still in use on Snow Leopard and other versions of Mac OS X. Over at Macworld, suggestions have been posted as to what could be done to handle the issue for those who need to use Rosetta. Currently, the only ideas that seem viable are the following:

  • Creating a dual-boot Mac. This means having two installs of Mac OS X (for example, Snow Leopard and Lion, or Lion and Tiger), and using the older version of OS X for PowerPC applications. This may be a hassle but it is feasible to do, and would mean that you could use the latest version of OS X for most work, and then use an older version in order to control PowerPC based applications.
  • Remain with Snow Leopard. While Snow Leopard will not be the latest version of Mac OS X, it still supports features such as the App Store and will work flawlessly after the release of Lion. Quite how acceptable this option is varies depending on the end users and their reason for upgrading to OS X Lion.
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Apple should release something similar to Windows Virtual PC/XP Mode to allow PowerPC applications to run on Lion. Perhaps is not that much of a deal, like legacy applications on Windows, but nonetheless it should make things easier for individuals or companies running old applications.

ajua said,
Apple should release something similar to Windows Virtual PC/XP Mode to allow PowerPC applications to run on Lion. Perhaps is not that much of a deal, like legacy applications on Windows, but nonetheless it should make things easier for individuals or companies running old applications.

They did, its called Rosetta and they are not supporting it anymore.

And yet people wonder why Apple doesn't have a larger market share, especially in business environments.

When companies spend a lot of money to write software for a specific task, they don't move as fast as the technology industry and justifying costs to revamp software tools just because the 'great Apple' says they have to in order to have access to the latest software and hardware they sell.

(Let alone how Apple drops security and bug fix support almost immediately for their products, leaving people using older versions of OS X with exploits.)

With Windows, if you have software built for your company back in the 1980s, it still runs. The biggest shift is in x64 versions of Windows, where the company might have to use XP Mode (aka Virtural PC) to provide support for DOS VDM and 16bit software. And even then it is a seamless desktop integration, so the users don't have to think about launching a VM, and instead just launch the software like they always have.

Meh. The only app I'm losing out on is the original Neverwinter Nights. Because it worked so well with Rosetta, they never released a universal binary.

NeoTrunks said,
Meh. The only app I'm losing out on is the original Neverwinter Nights. Because it worked so well with Rosetta, they never released a universal binary.

Someone will probably make an update.

DiamondFootprint said,
Im struggling to find any mainstream user apps that require this now? Anyone got any examples?

I certainly can't think of any, but of course there are going to be people here that bitch that their 4+ year old versions of software won't work on their brand new machines.

DiamondFootprint said,
Im struggling to find any mainstream user apps that require this now? Anyone got any examples?

Users of Logic Studio 8 (and older) require Rosetta to install it. A lot of recording studios will have issues!

BouncinDave said,

Users of Logic Studio 8 (and older) require Rosetta to install it. A lot of recording studios will have issues!

I'd hope no one is running Logic through Rosetta. Must be a terribly slow experience.

giga said,

I'd hope no one is running Logic through Rosetta. Must be a terribly slow experience.

The problem is while some older apps have had universal binary updates, the installer itself is still PowerPC-only. So with no Rosetta, you can't install it in the first place.

Wow, with a one month notice they are dropping support. Gotta love it.

This is why Apple will never get into the enterprise game.

Hercules said,
Wow, with a one month notice they are dropping support. Gotta love it.

This is why Apple will never get into the enterprise game.

i don't think they care

protocol7 said,
It's been missing since the first Developer Preview. So this isn't that short a notice.

In a way it is for people that aren't aware of the developer preview.

Sucks. I'm in the process of porting my apps that also have Windows equivalents into Wine apps to continue using in Lion. They never run as well though. It would be great if someone made a Wine equivalent for PPC apps.

Iluvatar said,
Sucks. I'm in the process of porting my apps that also have Windows equivalents into Wine apps to continue using in Lion. They never run as well though. It would be great if someone made a Wine equivalent for PPC apps.
Or you could easily just keep the version of OSX that support Rosetta in the first place.

krasch said,
What about running a SnowLeopard VMWare guest on a Lion host?

It'll be easier to run SL on a second mac (maybe using remote desktop/VNC if yr out of deskspace for more monitors).

Aaron44126 said,
While doable, technically you're not allowed to run OS X in a VM unless it is the server version.
Yeah technically. Well technically u arent suppose to run OSX on any pc other than Macs...but it hasnt stopped anyone :-)

Will we hear calls of failure from the Apple faction like they did with Vista? Vista did not ship with support for 3rd party 10 year old devices in the box, and that made it a horrible failure. Apple drops Apple branded 5 year old devices, and it is all in the name of progress.

nohone said,
Will we hear calls of failure from the Apple faction like they did with Vista? Vista did not ship with support for 3rd party 10 year old devices in the box, and that made it a horrible failure. Apple drops Apple branded 5 year old devices, and it is all in the name of progress.
Yes. But see with apple it's expected, for Microsoft products it is not expected.

nohone said,
Will we hear calls of failure from the Apple faction like they did with Vista? Vista did not ship with support for 3rd party 10 year old devices in the box, and that made it a horrible failure. Apple drops Apple branded 5 year old devices, and it is all in the name of progress.

Calls of failure? We might hear them. What I am sure of is that some of the usual suspects will come in here and troll about something totally irrelevant to the article just because it's about Apple.

nohone said,
Will we hear calls of failure from the Apple faction like they did with Vista? Vista did not ship with support for 3rd party 10 year old devices in the box, and that made it a horrible failure. Apple drops Apple branded 5 year old devices, and it is all in the name of progress.

From this post, I can see that you have no idea what Rosetta is. Hint: it has nothing to do with dropping support for any hardware.

NeoTrunks said,

Calls of failure? We might hear them. What I am sure of is that some of the usual suspects will come in here and troll about something totally irrelevant to the article just because it's about Apple.

If that was in reference to my comment, I had a G4 iMac (you know, the one with a PPC) and currently use a Mac Mini. And the comment was is quite relevant to the article.

nohone said,
Will we hear calls of failure from the Apple faction like they did with Vista? Vista did not ship with support for 3rd party 10 year old devices in the box, and that made it a horrible failure. Apple drops Apple branded 5 year old devices, and it is all in the name of progress.
Rosetta is about software compatibility, not hardware compatibility, and some incredibly old software at that.

roadwarrior said,

From this post, I can see that you have no idea what Rosetta is. Hint: it has nothing to do with dropping support for any hardware.

I know excactly what it is, it allows software compiled to run on PPC to run on Intel processors, much like how you were able to use a VPC to run Windows on the old PPC hardware. And yes, in a way they are dropping support for the hardware, in that 5 years ago they built PPC computers. They no longer ship those computers, but by dropping support for Rosetta, they are no longer supporting users investment in PPC software.

roadwarrior said,

From this post, I can see that you have no idea what Rosetta is. Hint: it has nothing to do with dropping support for any hardware.

Obviously you dont know what ur talking about. Rosetta allows Intel Mac to use Apps that require Power PC hardware to work. Which also means some other device designed to work with power pc macs wont work without rosetta. Care to try again?

TechieXP said,

Obviously you dont know what ur talking about. Rosetta allows Intel Mac to use Apps that require Power PC hardware to work. Which also means some other device designed to work with power pc macs wont work without rosetta. Care to try again?

Then don't upgrade. Either that or buy new hardware.
Seriously, it's not rocket science.

TechieXP said,

Which also means some other device designed to work with power pc macs wont work without rosetta. Care to try again?

Sure, as soon as you can give me an example of a piece of hardware that works with a PowerPC Mac that only works with an Intel Mac by using Rosetta. Last I checked, Rosetta didn't do anything for device drivers.

edit: Yep I was right, Rosetta doesn't work with KEXTs (device drivers): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_(software)

Edited by roadwarrior, Jun 14 2011, 8:48pm :

nohone said,

I know excactly what it is, it allows software compiled to run on PPC to run on Intel processors, much like how you were able to use a VPC to run Windows on the old PPC hardware. And yes, in a way they are dropping support for the hardware, in that 5 years ago they built PPC computers. They no longer ship those computers, but by dropping support for Rosetta, they are no longer supporting users investment in PPC software.


Yes, but your post was talking about dropping support for older hardware devices, which have nothing to do with Rosetta. And Apple already dropped support for PowerPC computers with Snow Leopard, so how is that relevant to the discussion of Lion? Most developers stopped shipping PowerPC-only software within a year of Apple going to Intel, so if you are concerned about your investment, you surely would have upgraded your software since then, otherwise you are running at least 4 year old versions of software.

nohone said,
Will we hear calls of failure from the Apple faction like they did with Vista? Vista did not ship with support for 3rd party 10 year old devices in the box, and that made it a horrible failure. Apple drops Apple branded 5 year old devices, and it is all in the name of progress.

Yet, Vista did ship with a lot of legacy drivers, and left the entire XP driver model available, so in comparison, Vista's 'incompatibility' claims were overblown and often not factual. The biggest crys were from people that forgot they had to load a driver disk for their hardware even for XP, and the same was true of Vista, yet somehow Vista was bad and XP was good, when the processes was identical.

Vista's biggest hardware issues go to the strict enforcement of ACPI and other specifications that mainboard MFRs had skirted around by not fully implementing. Some companies offered BIOS updates, and then Microsoft added a special compensation database so that it didn't try to fire ACPI calls the mainboard didn't properly implement which was present in SP1 and still exists in Win7 today.

roadwarrior said,

From this post, I can see that you have no idea what Rosetta is. Hint: it has nothing to do with dropping support for any hardware.

Technically true, but the drop of complete support for hardware made just a 'few' years ago in the computing world is an issue, and Rosetta is the final extension of Apple's disregard for their users.

BTW It is 'worse' to stop software support than hardware support, as new hardware can always be purchased. Want an example?

Company A has custom software written for their Macs to do XYZ and at a significant cost. Now they have two choices, stay with an older non-supported (aka non-secure) version of OS X, or they rebuild their software at great expense.

If it was just about hardware support, they could just buy new Macs and not have to worry about it.

This is why dropping software support is FAR worse than hardware support.

If you look at the industry, pencil pushers and people that have budgets realize this.

Microsoft has dropped 286, 386, 486, PPC, MIPS, and Alpha hardware support in just the last 15 years, let alone a ton of legacy device technologies.

However, on the latest and greatest Windows PC you buy with Windows 7, you can still run a DOS app from the 1980s, a Win16 app from the early 90s, a Win32 app from the late 90s, in addition to the latest software technologies. (Yes on x64 Win7 you have to use the XP Mode for DOS and Win16 apps, but they run seamlessly on the desktop.)

This is why companies that invest in custom software, which most do, will stick with a company like Microsoft and run from an authoritarian company like Apple that dictates what they can do with the products they purchase.

thenetavenger said,

<snip>

Unfortunately that wasn't completely the case, otherwise 7 would have been just as bad, and it's lightyears ahead of Vista - it "just works".

Elliott said,
You might change your mind when app developers require Lion because of all the new APIs.

Nah I'll just stick to older versions of the apps. I don't do forced upgrades.

I don't remember last time I ran into a powerpc only app (some older games were though, it would have been nice to keep rosetta in a optional/non supported mode)

Rudy said,
I don't remember last time I ran into a powerpc only app (some older games were though, it would have been nice to keep rosetta in a optional/non supported mode)

Older games.. like Dreamcast or SNES??!?

Dual booting is all that much of a problem. At present I have SL on one partition and Lion on the other. Basically all I did was to use Boot Camp to create a second partition then install Lion on the Boot Camp Partition.

Pam14160 said,
Dual booting is all that much of a problem. At present I have SL on one partition and Lion on the other. Basically all I did was to use Boot Camp to create a second partition then install Lion on the Boot Camp Partition.
Can't you dualboot without using BootCamp?

TechieXP said,
Can't you dualboot without using BootCamp?

Yes, quite easily, but among other things, BootCamp includes a nice non-destructive partition splitting tool, which also happens to be perfect for installing multiple versions of OS X.

roadwarrior said,

Yes, quite easily, but among other things, BootCamp includes a nice non-destructive partition splitting tool, which also happens to be perfect for installing multiple versions of OS X.

Don't use Bootcamp to partition for Mac OS X installs - you'll end up with MBR partitions and all sorts of unneeded stuff. Disk Utility also does non-destructive partitioning and lets you do exactly whatever you want to do.