Rosetta, we hardly knew ye: OS X Lion cuts support for PowerPC apps

It will hardly come as a surprise to many, but it appears Apple is finally calling time on PowerPC apps with OS X Lion.

9to5mac reports that Rosetta, the compatibility layer that allowed applications compiled for PowerPC processors to run on Intel-based Macs, will not be available for Lion when it is released later this year. When a user attempts to run a PowerPC-based app in the Lion developer preview, released last week, they are informed that PPC applications are no longer supported.

Rosetta is available for OS X Snow Leopard as an optional download, meaning those who rely on a PowerPC application - or just can't bear to let go - will have to stick with that version of the Mac OS.

Rosetta was a key part of Apple's transition from IBM's PowerPC architecture to ''Intelmacs'' in 2006, with the Mac-maker at the time touting Rosetta as ''the smartest software you'll never see''. Since then, developers had been encouraged to move away from ''Universal'' applications to those designed purely for the Intel architecture. As a result, the omission of Rosetta from OS X Lion is unlikely to even be noticed by the majority of OS X users.

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Apple's historical willingness to move forward is one of the key reasons that there is Viruses on the Mac. When Apple moved from OS9 to OSX they left behind single user mode requiring authentication for admin privileges. Windows only made this move in the Vista and W7 and still many apps run in admin space.
Rosetta working as seamlessly and effectively as it did was impressive, but it is a shim that was only intended for the intel transition and it needs to go and not be supported any more.
I do miss a few old OS9 and PPC applications (still no great replacement for More) but nothing that stopped me from not installing Rosetta when I moved to SL.
As a side note my old Kitchen iMac is dying this week, (intermittent video failure) and I realized it is 4 years old and still very useable, it has had no problems with any updates (running 10.6). A Dell laptop I bought about a year later, feels very old, took days of work just to update to W7, doesn't run most of the older apps (not because it can't, but because they were lost in the update XP>W7 and the disks were long gone).

kenberger said,
Apple's historical willingness to move forward is one of the key reasons that there is Viruses on the Mac. When Apple moved from OS9 to OSX they left behind single user mode requiring authentication for admin privileges. Windows only made this move in the Vista and W7 and still many apps run in admin space.
Rosetta working as seamlessly and effectively as it did was impressive, but it is a shim that was only intended for the intel transition and it needs to go and not be supported any more.
I do miss a few old OS9 and PPC applications (still no great replacement for More) but nothing that stopped me from not installing Rosetta when I moved to SL.
As a side note my old Kitchen iMac is dying this week, (intermittent video failure) and I realized it is 4 years old and still very useable, it has had no problems with any updates (running 10.6). A Dell laptop I bought about a year later, feels very old, took days of work just to update to W7, doesn't run most of the older apps (not because it can't, but because they were lost in the update XP>W7 and the disks were long gone).

*scratches head*... someone else want to take this one?

kenberger said,
not because it can't, but because they were lost in the update XP>W7 and the disks were long gone.

Haven't you tried VMWare/Windows XP Mode? And if it took you days to upgrade your computer from XP to Windows 7 I'm going to take a wild guess and say your doing something wrong : ) it doesn't take long to press a few buttons and install vmware/xp mode.

Good... there has been plenty of time to update programs. Good for Apple for moving forward. I wish Microsoft would.

For people that want a lean system then its the way to go. I guess when you go Apple thats what you accept. Would be good to see Apple offer support though for older apps, even if it was an add on to the OS that you had to pay for.

I have checked all my processes and I have nothing that's PowerPC anymore.
Developers had a little more than 5 years to compile their apps for Intel, so that move is perfect if you want my opinion. If you're stuck with a PowerPC app anymore, it's time to upgrade and you guys will see a significant difference of speed. (from 2 to 5 times faster)

There is a simple solution for this. Stick with what you have. Snow Leopard will be more than capable for at least 3 more years. Just because a new OS comes out, doesn't mean that you MUST upgrade (unless you're buying a new computer). If you people are running high-end, expensive software on those machines, then they are production machines which probably shouldn't be upgraded anyways, in case there are issues with Lion. On the other hand, most Mac OSX users don't do more than surf the web and write an occasional email with their Macs so for MOST people this will be a non-issue. This is exactly what Apple is thinking as well. We can't have the world slow down for a few users that can't afford to keep up, as harsh as that sounds.

ManOfMystery said,
This is exactly what Apple is thinking as well. We can't have the world slow down for a few users that can't afford to keep up, as harsh as that sounds.

True. But that could potentially mean losing market share, which right now, Apple cant really afford.

I hear what you're saying. I think that if I do go with Lion I'll end up dual-booting for the first time since going Intel so I can keep my PPC apps and games.

I'd like to hear (from Apple) the reasoning behind killing Rosetta though. I wonder if it has anything to do with legacy apps not being updated to take advantage of something like full screen mode. A feature that not many will really use on a day-to-day basis.

xbamaris said,
True. But that could potentially mean losing market share, which right now, Apple cant really afford.

Funny enough, that is exactly what people said with the transition to Intel and yet funny enough here we are 2011 and the apocalypse hasn't occurred.

mrelusive978 said,
I think this is great...

OTOH, The INSTALLER for Final Cut Studio 2 is a PPC app and requires Rosetta...

Meh, just wait till they release Final Cut Studio 8 or what ever the next version is - I mean, you've gotten 4 years out of it; just upgrade.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Meh, just wait till they release Final Cut Studio 8 or what ever the next version is - I mean, you've gotten 4 years out of it; just upgrade.


i could use some money, seems like you got enough off it

Shadowzz said,

i could use some money, seems like you got enough off it

If you can't afford it you must not really need it then

Shadowzz said,
i could use some money, seems like you got enough off it

You're running a professional class video editing suite - I'm assuming therefore since you have a professional editing software that you're running some sort of business rather than being an amateur because if you were an amateur you'd be running iMovie or some consumer grade application.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

You're running a professional class video editing suite - I'm assuming therefore since you have a professional editing software that you're running some sort of business rather than being an amateur because if you were an amateur you'd be running iMovie or some consumer grade application.


not every 'company' has profit margins like Apple does.

Shadowzz said,
not every 'company' has profit margins like Apple does.

How is that remotely related to whether or not he can afford an upgrade? btw, if he were running a business there are a whole host of benefits he could take advantage of which would significantly reduce the cost of upgrading.

I'm gutted about this. I use Filemaker 7 at work which needs Rosetta so I really hope there's some way to install it like you could on SL.

I don't understand why they would remove the optional install?

Examinus said,
I don't understand why they would remove the optional install?
\
My guess is that they're moving on to full 64-bit (Core Duo CPUs are dropped as well) and the layer might not be compatible anymore? Just a theory.

.Neo said,
\
My guess is that they're moving on to full 64-bit (Core Duo CPUs are dropped as well) and the layer might not be compatible anymore? Just a theory.

I'll just have to really push for a Filemaker upgrade then!

.Neo said,
\
My guess is that they're moving on to full 64-bit (Core Duo CPUs are dropped as well) and the layer might not be compatible anymore? Just a theory.

I don't see a move to full 64bit, as Rosetta runs in userland and has nothing to do with whether the OS kernel layers are running in 32bit or 64bit.

Also, for Apple to truly move to 64bit, it will break virtually every 3rd party driver, and most Apple drivers for devices, and alot of applications.

Which is why even though 10.6 has a 64bit kernel available, it is not enabled by default.

Microsoft was able to move to 64bit, as they started with XP x64, and encouraging all device drivers to have a 64bit version in addition to the 32bit version. With Vista, it was mandated that all devices have both 64bit and 32bit drivers. So when you get to Windows7, almost everything has a native 64bit driver and it is rather painless for users, even with weird and older peripherials and devices.

thenetavenger said,
I don't see a move to full 64bit, as Rosetta runs in userland and has nothing to do with whether the OS kernel layers are running in 32bit or 64bit.

Also, for Apple to truly move to 64bit, it will break virtually every 3rd party driver, and most Apple drivers for devices, and alot of applications.

Which is why even though 10.6 has a 64bit kernel available, it is not enabled by default.

Microsoft was able to move to 64bit, as they started with XP x64, and encouraging all device drivers to have a 64bit version in addition to the 32bit version. With Vista, it was mandated that all devices have both 64bit and 32bit drivers. So when you get to Windows7, almost everything has a native 64bit driver and it is rather painless for users, even with weird and older peripherials and devices.

You do realise that as of 10.6.5 all of Apples drivers for their hardware are 64bit? the only issue is with third parties but if you're purchasing hardware off a reputable supplier such as Sierra Wireless, you'll have 64bit support already.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

You do realise that as of 10.6.5 all of Apples drivers for their hardware are 64bit? the only issue is with third parties but if you're purchasing hardware off a reputable supplier such as Sierra Wireless, you'll have 64bit support already.


MS had to 'force' it over manufactures that made drivers and took from before Vista became RTM till after Win7 became RTM, while providing 32bit optional (as 32bit drivers still work in win7 64bit).
And if it was for Apple, we'd all still be enjoying the 32bit world

Shadowzz said,

MS had to 'force' it over manufactures that made drivers and took from before Vista became RTM till after Win7 became RTM, while providing 32bit optional (as 32bit drivers still work in win7 64bit).
And if it was for Apple, we'd all still be enjoying the 32bit world

Completely incorrect, 64 bit versions of Windows require 64-bit drivers, 32 bit drivers won't even get as far as installing.

Shadowzz said,
MS had to 'force' it over manufactures that made drivers and took from before Vista became RTM till after Win7 became RTM, while providing 32bit optional (as 32bit drivers still work in win7 64bit).

Incorrect - on a 64bit kernel you need 64bit drivers - there are vendors who have 64bit drivers but their installer and userland application are 32bit but that doesn't change the fact that the drivers have to be 64bit on a 64bit kernel.

And if it was for Apple, we'd all still be enjoying the 32bit world

Apple have been shipping Mac Pro's loading into the 64bit kernel since 10.6.5 IIRC - so where is your evidence for such a claim? Given the current state of affairs there is a lot more to gain for Apple by moving to 64bit than by sticking with 32bit - pretty much all the security enhancements are only available in 64bit mode for starters, then there is the matter of access to more registers etc. Where as Microsoft provides a lot of features to 32bit and 64bit customers, Apple has decided only to provide a small subset to their 32bit customers leaving all the focus on 64bit because that is the long term upgrade path.

Btw, if you have a 32bit Mac you've already gotten 4 years out of it - even for someone who is middle of the road income wise the cost of upgrading my iMac and MacBook Pro aren't strenuous as long as you budget, save your money etc.

neo158 said,

Completely incorrect, 64 bit versions of Windows require 64-bit drivers, 32 bit drivers won't even get as far as installing.


i stand corrected

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Apple have been shipping Mac Pro's loading into the 64bit kernel since 10.6.5 IIRC - so where is your evidence for such a claim? Given the current state of affairs there is a lot more to gain for Apple by moving to 64bit than by sticking with 32bit - pretty much all the security enhancements are only available in 64bit mode for starters, then there is the matter of access to more registers etc. Where as Microsoft provides a lot of features to 32bit and 64bit customers, Apple has decided only to provide a small subset to their 32bit customers leaving all the focus on 64bit because that is the long term upgrade path.

Btw, if you have a 32bit Mac you've already gotten 4 years out of it - even for someone who is middle of the road income wise the cost of upgrading my iMac and MacBook Pro aren't strenuous as long as you budget, save your money etc.


so its been 64bit since ~november 2010?
while MS tried to go 64bit with WinXP already?

ye just a 10 year difference, thats it.

Shadowzz said,
so its been 64bit since ~november 2010?
while MS tried to go 64bit with WinXP already?

ye just a 10 year difference, thats it.

Microsoft officially still suggests that its customers stick with 32bit until Office 64bit and plugins are mature. Windows 64bit did not become 'consumer ready' until Windows 7 was released when vendors started to ship 64bit OS's on machines across the board.

There is also difference. In the Mac world the move to 64bit is an option, in the Windows world it is a must if you want to access more than 4GB of memory. I can run 64bit applications on a 32bit kernel, I can access more than 4GB of memory on a 32bit kernel. In the Windows world I have to move to a 64bit edition if I wish to accomplish such a feat.

No i did not. If you have money for new mac, you cannot complain that you must buy also new version of some application.

6205 said,
No i did not. If you have money for new mac, you cannot complain that you must buy also new version of some application.

Even when that new version of your software costs as much as a mac in the first place?

im not a mac fanboy but im with apple in this step, even windows should stop supporting old applications, why use old applications when u can use new versions of those applications.

simrat said,
im not a mac fanboy but im with apple in this step, even windows should stop supporting old applications, why use old applications when u can use new versions of those applications.

Because those applications cost a LOT of money?

Jan said,

Because those applications cost a LOT of money?

if you can afford a new mac then you can obviously afford new versions of applications, and if you cant then use them on old mac platforms or PPC platforms, like people doing with XP, using XP for old applications on old system.

simrat said,
im not a mac fanboy but im with apple in this step, even windows should stop supporting old applications, why use old applications when u can use new versions of those applications.

It's one of the reasons why Windows owns 90+% of the market. They can't pull this kind of sh*t off without an uproar from their customers. Apple does these kind of stuff all the time, like when they switched from 68K to PowerPC. Then they moved to a whole new unix OSX totally incompatible with the Classic OS. And then they did it again switching to Intel architecture. And five years later, they are killing off PowerPC. When you own like 5% of the market, you can get away with this kind of sh*t.

Glassed Silver said,

Way to miss the point.

GS:lin


No i did not. If you have money for new mac, you cannot complain that you must buy also new version of some application.

6205 said,

No i did not. If you have money for new mac, you cannot complain that you must buy also new version of some application.

Honestly - I don't own a Mac, but this applies to any platform, you can't simply buy an app without wasting money and buy a new version is simply an awful excuse.

CS4 costs a fortune - and if I were to "Upgrade" that what could a huge dip in my pocket, I could buy a Mac for the amount of money that software costs.

6205 said,

No i did not. If you have money for new mac, you cannot complain that you must buy also new version of some application.

Yes I can.

simrat said,
im not a mac fanboy but im with apple in this step, even windows should stop supporting old applications, why use old applications when u can use new versions of those applications.

Microsoft can't do that, the Windows ecosystem is much larger than the Mac OS ecosystem. This is why Apple can cut support for something and it will affect a small percentage of users.

simrat said,
im not a mac fanboy but im with apple in this step, even windows should stop supporting old applications, why use old applications when u can use new versions of those applications.

Your post is almost cute...

In theory, you are correct, it makes sense to move forward with newer applications that do more things and support the newer technologies.

However, in the real world, especially in business and corporations around the world, you would be shocked at the old software that is still being used.

What happens is businesses invest a large amount of money in a software project, and then keep using it for a long long time without any reinvestment in creating a newer version. There are also software companies that make very specific applications that companies depend on, and instead of rewriting the software, they just keep updating the old version year after year.

Often when some of this software is updated, a new interface wrapper is written, so it hides the old software and takes advantage of the modern UI and GUI concepts, but is still running the core old software and the new interface just sends commands to the old software that is hidden.

Just in your daily life, you would be shocked how often you have encounterd these examples. From your local stores to things like hotel reservation software or airline ticketing software or insurance quoting software and even backend database interface software running on servers.

If Macs were used much in enterprise (business/corporate) environments, Apple would not be able to remove support for legacy software easily. It is also a reason business users stay away from Apple.

But you are right, in an ideal world, software should be updated, it just doesn't happen because of the costs and businesses being comfortable with their software.

Jan said,
Because those applications cost a LOT of money?

Your comment reminds me of a person on Macrumors complaining about the cost of upgrading his iMac - funny enough for someone so poor he could afford the highest end iPad and iPhone on the market. Amazing that people have the money for close to AUS$2000 worth of equipment but apparently cry poverty when it comes to purchasing a new iMac - or in this case, to upgrade their software to something compatible.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Your comment reminds me of a person on Macrumors complaining about the cost of upgrading his iMac - funny enough for someone so poor he could afford the highest end iPad and iPhone on the market. Amazing that people have the money for close to AUS$2000 worth of equipment but apparently cry poverty when it comes to purchasing a new iMac - or in this case, to upgrade their software to something compatible.

Buying software is completely different to buying hardware.

mayamaniac said,

Apple does these kind of stuff all the time, like when they switched from 68K to PowerPC. Then they moved to a whole new unix OSX totally incompatible with the Classic OS. And then they did it again switching to Intel architecture. And five years later, they are killing off PowerPC. When you own like 5% of the market, you can get away with this kind of sh*t.

In each of the transitions you mentioned, Apple had software in place to ease the transition and make running older apps seamless, and kept it in place for an average of 5 years after the transition. This is just the final stage of the Intel transiton.

simrat said,

if you can afford a new mac then you can obviously afford new versions of applications, and if you cant then use them on old mac platforms or PPC platforms, like people doing with XP, using XP for old applications on old system.

I didn't know it was up to you to say what I can and can't afford.

Just because one can afford a Mac doesn't mean they can afford a Mac + additional software. Especially when the software needed cost more than double the price of a computer.

bogd said,
Especially when the software needed cost more than double the price of a computer.

I'm glad some people understand how much some software costs.

You can pick up a decent machine for well under £1000 - CS5 Master collection alone is £3000.

lt8480 said,

I'm glad some people understand how much some software costs.

You can pick up a decent machine for well under £1000 - CS5 Master collection alone is £3000.

Exactly! The software is the expensive part. Just because I can drop a grand on a computer doesn't mean I can afford to quadruple that on software and upgrades.

lt8480 said,

I'm glad some people understand how much some software costs.

You can pick up a decent machine for well under £1000 - CS5 Master collection alone is £3000.

Well CS5 is only available for intel based macs so your point doesn't really stick and if you are dropping 5k on a new peace of software your likely to be a professional and keeping up to date with releases, or, atleast every other version.

For some reason people think that they should buy a peace of software once and it keeps on running forever

Jan said,

Because those applications cost a LOT of money?


So don't upgrade to the latest version if you can't afford it.

.Neo said,

So don't upgrade to the latest version if you can't afford it.

thats my point, if you cant afford new versions then use old system with old OS so you can run old applications.

Jan said,

Because those applications cost a LOT of money?

Gonna have to upgrade eventually, makes no real sense business or personal to run an antiquated piece of software forever, there will be new needs that the old software cannot cover, and yet even my employer is too retarded to figure that out, but eventually someone will figure it out

bogd said,

Exactly! The software is the expensive part. Just because I can drop a grand on a computer doesn't mean I can afford to quadruple that on software and upgrades.

But... You should have considered software costs before you chose to buy a Mac.

The bit of extra expense on the Mac hardware is not the only 'extra' expense in owning a Mac, which I think you are starting to find out.

There are cost reasons that companies don't buy Macs, and it seldom has to do with hardware. It has to do with lifecycle and software costs.

In the Windows PC world, you can still be using a 10 year old OS (WinXP) on a 200mhz Pentium, with a 5gb HD, 80mb of RAM, and also still be using Word 2.0.

So with a hardware purchase in 1997, an OS update purchase in 2001, and an original Word 2.0 purchase in 1992 you still have a very functional computer that is still getting OS security updates, and can hook up to the latest printer or devices you add on. This is a fraction of the cost of owning a Mac, and not because the intial computer hardware costs were a 'bit' cheaper than a Mac.

thenetavenger said,

But... You should have considered software costs before you chose to buy a Mac.

But... But... Why consider it when the Mac version cost the same as the Windows version?

Do I feel like working in a Windows environment, or Mac? That's what I considered. I don't use OS specific software like Fine Cut.

The point I was trying to make, and I don't think you got, is that just because someone has enough money to buy a Mac, it doesn't mean they have money to burn on software. As other have also pointed out, there are software bundles, like CS5, that cost more than triple the amount of their computer. Am I complaining about it? No, just saying that I have a Mac, and I can't afford all the software I want, and even if I went with a Windows PC, I still wouldn't be able to afford it. The computer platform one chooses doesn't reflect their bank account. It's also not other people's business.


The bit of extra expense on the Mac hardware is not the only 'extra' expense in owning a Mac, which I think you are starting to find out.

I'm not starting to find out anything. I'm not the average consumer, sir. The only, "extra expense," I've had is from the Apple Tax. But I think of all of the time I'm not wasting anymore on computer issues, and it doesn't matter.


There are cost reasons that companies don't buy Macs, and it seldom has to do with hardware. It has to do with lifecycle and software costs.

And your source is? I'll agree that the software's lifecycle and cost are taken into consideration, but I disagree with the statement that it's THE determining factor.

In my experience (meaning something I lived through a few times, and am not copying and pasting from somewhere else) lifecycle and software costs had little to do with it.

When I was involved in a start-up, my roommate/CEO wanted to buy everyone, the four of us, each a $2,200 Macbook Pro, and a $1,000 Cinema Display. That's $12,800 before taxes. That was over half of the money that we had invested in us because he thought, "it would look cool."

Naturally, I objected to that because of the price of the hardware. I told him that the Mac/Windows computers that we had were more than enough to build a social network aggregator.

I also worked for the military. When it came to buying new computers, Macs were out of the question because the other hardware and software we had were written for Windows. So compatibility was the main reason. Also, the cost would have been outrageous because we would of had to buy Mac Pros (can't add a PCI card to an iMac), had the software re-written, and train people how to use it.


In the Windows PC world, you can still be using a 10 year old OS (WinXP) on a 200mhz Pentium, with a 5gb HD, 80mb of RAM, and also still be using Word 2.0.

So with a hardware purchase in 1997, an OS update purchase in 2001, and an original Word 2.0 purchase in 1992 you still have a very functional computer that is still getting OS security updates, and can hook up to the latest printer or devices you add on. This is a fraction of the cost of owning a Mac, and not because the intial computer hardware costs were a 'bit' cheaper than a Mac.

That's because Microsoft has better legacy support than Apple. Way, way better support and I never said anything to the contrary.

But have fun running CS5 on it.

Why remove support? That would be like Microsoft saying that Windows 8 64-bit is not going to be able to run 32-bit programs. If its already there why remove it, just don't give people tech support for it anymore.

netsendjoe said,
Why remove support?

Name one application that Mac users today actively use that needs PPC and doesn't have an equal or more advanced replacement?

netsendjoe said,
Why remove support? That would be like Microsoft saying that Windows 8 64-bit is not going to be able to run 32-bit programs. If its already there why remove it, just don't give people tech support for it anymore.

It's like Windows 64 bit doesn't run 16 bit applications.

netsendjoe said,
Why remove support? That would be like Microsoft saying that Windows 8 64-bit is not going to be able to run 32-bit programs. If its already there why remove it, just don't give people tech support for it anymore.

Haha, no, it's not, since 32-bit systems with Windows installed on them are still in production... Massively so...

alexalex said,
It's like Windows 64 bit doesn't run 16 bit applications.

That's not a windows fault, that's a processor limitation, in 64 bit mode, it can operate 32 bit and 64-bit operations only, to operate 16 bit instructions it needs to be in 32 bit mode.

netsendjoe said,
Why remove support? That would be like Microsoft saying that Windows 8 64-bit is not going to be able to run 32-bit programs. If its already there why remove it, just don't give people tech support for it anymore.

Cause it's apple. You won't even get 2 ish years out of an ipod touch or iphone without getting left behind with no more updates.

alexalex said,

It's like Windows 64 bit doesn't run 16 bit applications.

Well no, it isn't, as you can turn on compatibility mode, which launches an XP VM and run 16bit applications all day long on Windows 7 64bit. You can even install Windows 7 32bit in the VM and run 16bit applications, right on the desktop seamlessly.

Rosetta is not so different, as it is an upper layer (userland) translation system, so even though it doesn't replicate a full virtual machine, it does provide VM like features at a higher level in the OS.

Microsoft's original Wow16 technology that have allowed NT to run 16bit applications since 1992 is also a translation technology, and runs in an upper subsystem seamlessly. (Which is why any technical people in the Windows world went, "Oh, really?..." when Apple told everyone that Rosetta was so new and smart and seamless. The 16bit subsystem on NT is apparently so seamless, Apple didn't realize Microsoft had been doing something comparable since the early 90s.)

I can understand why Apple is doing away with Rosetta. Rosetta has a lot of limitations that prevented software from working properly, as it doesn't support applications that need lower level access and doesn't support applications that use G5 processors.

It is time for Apple to move its users forward, so it makes sense. Apple also doesn't have much of an enterprise or corporate installation base, so there are not many custom PowerPC applications out there that are a 'must need' and critical to business users like you find in the Windows world.

(Vista's x64 created a bit of problems for corporations, as it didn't include the VM integration technology that Windows7 x64 does. Sure they could load XP in a Virtual PC or VMWare, but it was not a seamless desktop integration, and thus corporations that needed 16bit applications complained a lot.)

Apple could do something similar, but they don't want to make running OS X in a VM easy, and I doubt they want to design the integration technologies to make it seamless, as they didn't even make OS 9 seamless when they introduced OS X.

daPhoenix said,

Name one application that Mac users today actively use that needs PPC and doesn't have an equal or more advanced replacement?

Thoth. Unison simply is no comparison.

thenetavenger said,
Microsoft's original Wow16 technology that have allowed NT to run 16bit applications since 1992 is also a translation technology, and runs in an upper subsystem seamlessly. (Which is why any technical people in the Windows world went, "Oh, really?..." when Apple told everyone that Rosetta was so new and smart and seamless. The 16bit subsystem on NT is apparently so seamless, Apple didn't realize Microsoft had been doing something comparable since the early 90s.)

Having seamless integration of two different processor architectures (not just bitness difference, but completely different instruction sets) is quite a bit more advanced than simply running 16-bit apps on a 32-bit processor in the same family.

Apple could do something similar, but they don't want to make running OS X in a VM easy, and I doubt they want to design the integration technologies to make it seamless, as they didn't even make OS 9 seamless when they introduced OS X.

Have you ever used Classic mode on 10.4 or earlier? That is just as seamless as (if not more so) XP Mode is on Windows 7, and Apple introduced that in 2001 with OS X 10.0. Even before that, Apple allowed for running apps from the Motorola 68K series of chips from the original Mac computers on PowerPC Macs.

I'd say that Apple knows quite a bit more than Microsoft does about running apps designed for multiple different processors seamlessly.

roadwarrior said,
I'd say that Apple knows quite a bit more than Microsoft does about running apps designed for multiple different processors seamlessly.

They may know a lot more about it but I can still natively run apps and games that are over 10 years old in the latest 64-bit version of Windows. Something I can't do in SL or Lion.

Apple seem intent on throwing out the baby with the bathwater nowadays, It's like backwards-compatibility is something to be shunned. And it's why they'll never make a dent in the corporate environment.

protocol7 said,

Apple seem intent on throwing out the baby with the bathwater nowadays, It's like backwards-compatibility is something to be shunned. And it's why they'll never make a dent in the corporate environment.

That's because Microsofts Business model relies on still getting companies to buy their OS for apps written decades ago. Backwards compatibility is Required for MS, and it's why IE6 is still so prominent.

Apple has NEVER included any kind of Legacy support for more than a few versions of the OS. This is nothing new..

OS9 support only lasted till Lion, and even then only on PPC computers.. They were never supported on Intel systems.. It's no surprise, given that Apple hasn't sold PPC computers for a few years now, to stop including support for them in their new releases.

And now that support isn't there, chances are someone is gonna step up and make replacements for all the PPC only apps out there that still don't have a match.. and if they don't, well then you need to stay with an old OS.. tough luck.

Ryoken said,

Apple has NEVER included any kind of Legacy support for more than a few versions of the OS. This is nothing new..

This was not always the case with Apple. Back in the "old days" prior to OSX there were applications that we written as far back as 1984/1985 that still ran on Mac OS 8 and some even ran in OS 9 (i.e. 1999). This, however, of course changed with OS X.

daPhoenix said,

Name one application that Mac users today actively use that needs PPC and doesn't have an equal or more advanced replacement?

This. Windows is a completely different story. For starters, there wasnt a performance hit between win 64 and 32 bit applications. PPC is a completely different architecture that needs emulation. Emulation causes a performance hit which spurred along support quickly. On Mac, the 3rd party move from PPC -> x86 was very fast. For the small minority of people who need legacy support, they don't HAVE to upgrade.

azure.sapphire said,

This was not always the case with Apple. Back in the "old days" prior to OSX there were applications that we written as far back as 1984/1985 that still ran on Mac OS 8 and some even ran in OS 9 (i.e. 1999). This, however, of course changed with OS X.

Given, but Apple was a very different company back them that was aimed at a different market..
Also they were not very successful ( That is to say, it wasn't really helping them.. )

Things have changed, and this is in keeping with their more modern actions.

And running programs though Emulation is just not something you want to encourage.. They made Rosetta as a stop-gap for allowing for the transition between two very different CPU Architectures.. But I don't think anyone ever could have thought it would be there forever, everyones had time to find better, native apps, or for the developers to rewrite their apps to be native, and if they haven't, well they have till the next version to get it done or else lol.

netsendjoe said,
Why remove support? That would be like Microsoft saying that Windows 8 64-bit is not going to be able to run 32-bit programs. If its already there why remove it, just don't give people tech support for it anymore.

In about 5 years maybe

roadwarrior said,

Having seamless integration of two different processor architectures (not just bitness difference, but completely different instruction sets) is quite a bit more advanced than simply running 16-bit apps on a 32-bit processor in the same family.

Have you ever used Classic mode on 10.4 or earlier? That is just as seamless as (if not more so) XP Mode is on Windows 7, and Apple introduced that in 2001 with OS X 10.0. Even before that, Apple allowed for running apps from the Motorola 68K series of chips from the original Mac computers on PowerPC Macs.

I'd say that Apple knows quite a bit more than Microsoft does about running apps designed for multiple different processors seamlessly.

Did I strike a nerve? Sorry about that...

However, what you are saying is not fully correct.

WOW32 (The DOS and Win16 subsystem VDM) in NT is more than just shifting some bits/thunking on the same processor family. It is a higher level system that does both machine level translation with a full OS and API set on top.

This is why WOW32 ran just fine on PowerPC and Alpha versions of Windows NT 4.0.
*(Note that it is running 16bit x86 applications with Win16 APIs and DOS and Intel 16bit assembly code on PowerPC and DEC Alpha CPUs - which are NOT in the same family of processors.)

This is Windows NT we are talking about here, not the Win95,Win98,WinME operating systems where the 16bit emulation was much more like you describe. (Windows NT and Win9X are NOTHING alike - which most people don't seem to truly get.)

With Windows NT 4.0 Alpha, Microsoft worked with DEC to create FX!32. It was a dynamic recompilation technology that allowed Intel x86 32bit applications to run on DEC Alpha CPUs, providing hardware translation and emulation with saved recompilation binaries.
*(This was brilliant and seamless technology too.)


Back to Apple...

The 90s for Apple was built on PowerPC and the 68K emulator, in fact the 68K emulation worked so well, Apple abandoned developing a native PowerPC version of System 7, 8. (At the cost of performance by not using the full potential of the PowerPC CPU.)

However, the 68K emulator that Apple used was not designed by Apple, in fact it was created in the late 80s by Gary D. (Name slips my mind).

It also was never improved by Apple even as PowerPC technology improved. Products like SpeedDoubler from Connectix was significantly faster at 68K to PowerPC emulation than Mac System OS's inherent 68K emulation.

So ya, Apple was good at 'using' seamless translation software, but engineering it, not so much.


Classic Mode in OS X started out as an application emulation translation project but moved on to a traditional VM technology. It was not revolutionary, even for 2000. It also wasn't even the best Mac System 9 VM technology, but that is a very long conversation.

However, you are correct that Classic Mode was fairly seamless for the time and did work a lot like XP Mode or VirtualPC Mode in Windows7.


A bit of further perspective between Apple and Microsoft on who does what first/better.

They are both building a lot of this on existing concepts and technologies. Neither Apple nor Microsoft were the first at emulation or translation technologies, as emulation existed before Apple or Microsoft existed.

The only real 'innovation' in this area comes from the design model of Windows NT.

NT was designed as a portable, object based, client/server kernel architecture.

This means that NT can run on any CPU architecture, as it is written in C and C++ to remain portable. (Which OS X's kernel is also portable.)

However the client/server part means that NT has subsystems that OSes can run in and remain agnostic to NT kernel and layers below it.

This is how Win32 runs, as it has its own kernel running in a subsystem, and it is also how SUA, the full BSD/R5 UNIX subsystem can run natively on NT without emulation and without any regard to the NT kernel or OS Model sitting below it. (This is also how the OS/2 and older basic POSIX OSes ran on top of NT, yet natively and seamlessly beside Windows/Win32.)

This is unique to NT, and if Microsoft wanted and had the rights could literally put an OS X subsystem on top of NT, that would run natively - without emulation - and also inherit the features of NT's kernel and OS model that OS X doesn't have.


These are the reasons I disagree that Apple knows more about basic translation, emulation or even native OS subsystem technologies.

Ryoken said,

Apple has NEVER included any kind of Legacy support for more than a few versions of the OS. This is nothing new..

oh really? I remember having a Macintosh LC2 back in the mid 90's that could run Apple 2 programs! built right into the OS... and that was running OS7 I think at the time

n_K said,

That's not a windows fault, that's a processor limitation, in 64 bit mode, it can operate 32 bit and 64-bit operations only, to operate 16 bit instructions it needs to be in 32 bit mode.

Microsoft removed the DOS and 16-bit Windows subsystem from 64-bit versions of Windows. It's not a processor limitation. Same as how they removed the OS/2 subsystem from Windows 2000.

daPhoenix said,

Name one application that Mac users today actively use that needs PPC and doesn't have an equal or more advanced replacement?

Neverwinter Nights. Bioware never released a native Intel version just because of how well it ran on Rosetta.

thenetavenger said,

This is how Win32 runs, as it has its own kernel running in a subsystem, and it is also how SUA, the full BSD/R5 UNIX subsystem can run natively on NT without emulation and without any regard to the NT kernel or OS Model sitting below it. (This is also how the OS/2 and older basic POSIX OSes ran on top of NT, yet natively and seamlessly beside Windows/Win32.)

This is unique to NT, and if Microsoft wanted and had the rights could literally put an OS X subsystem on top of NT, that would run natively - without emulation - and also inherit the features of NT's kernel and OS model that OS X doesn't have.

I disagree because this would not make since. I suppose it could be done, but why? You want to host one hybrid kernel atop another? I think its important to remember that neither NT nor OSX are monolithic kernels. i.e. Apple does not equal BSD

Microsoft could implement the Cocoa and carbon environments, which would allow all applications that run on OSX to run on Windows. Apple could of course do the same. There is the issue of licensing, however. Instead, Apple allows users to run Windows in boot camp. There however is not much technically stopping them from a red box Windows subsystem.

What is stopping them are:
1). Self preservation. IBM found out if you run Windows and Dos well enough, no one will develop OS/2 applications.
2). Microsoft. If there was a red box, even if the user had to buy their own copy of Windows, Microsoft would likely divorce Apple. You could call an end to Office. One of the top 5 important applications and the only real option of the office suite.

As for the reason why Microsoft has never done this:
1). Apple would never license their cocoa API
2). Cost/benefit analysis. It would not be worth the effort on Microsoft's part because almost all applications are written for Windows.

Finally, while OS/2 and NT are not exactly the same, they do share much common architecture. It is worth noting that the main reason why OS/2 was killed off by IBM was because it was not capable of running Win32n, only Win32s... it did not have the latest API. There was no way to run Windows 95+ in the Windows subsystem and it required dual booting. It of course could have been implemented, but Microsoft would have never licensed the API. The reason why is obvious.

Ryoken said,
Given, but Apple was a very different company back them that was aimed at a different market.

I am not sure if I believe that Apple is a different company today aimed at a different market. It is still aimed at the more right brained (sorry for the stereotype) audience. The only differences may be that they have essentially became little more than another variant of a Windows like OS.