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PowerPC, Legacy apps and Future business development... How?

1913 Views 16 Replies Latest reply: Oct 5, 2011 7:39 AM by Richard Nieves RSS
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Richard Nieves Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jul 24, 2011 2:10 PM

I installed Lion on a MacBook Pro 17 and knew PowerPC support was going to be dropped. But was surprised to notice after the install that some of my favorite (and I cant replace them) software I use for business actually used PowerPC binary - didn't check, just like thousands others. Great thing I only installed it on my laptop and not on the iMac 27. Now there is no force on this planet thats gonna make me install Lion on the iMac. I was going to buy two Mac Pro 8 core for my business, but now that is halted until I find another solution, be it from Apple or Linux (yeah I might be mad with Apple but Im not stupid enough to go with Windows).


Apple's decision on removing PowerPC support was a very bad move. IBM supports software even that made in the 70's while still improving the OS without affecting users that don't use old software. I question Apple's self-made stigma of having the best people... Sorry Apple that is my opinion as a System Engineer and programmer. IT CAN BE DONE!! But they might not know how to do it.


I have read dozens of blogs out there of people hating Apple's decision and affecting there PowerPC based programs. People have invested hundreds and even thousands of dollars in developing and using these programs so that Apple strips it off because they want to think what is "best" for them without caring to find a way to support legacy apps. Someone is playing god too much because of monopolistic control, which I hope ends in the future for the sake of business development.


So this brings my question to fruition: What guarantee can I give to the businesses I support that their future development is protected if Apple might pull the plug on the current platform in the future? I mean, they just did it with PowerPC.

iMac 27, Mac OS X (10.6.6), MacBook Air, iPhones, iPad, Time Capsule, etc...
  • tonefox Level 5 Level 5 (7,680 points)

    A business depending on software will maintain it as they would any other asset. You would not be using a twenty year old van, so why expect to use old software indefinitely.


    If by IBM you actually mean Microsoft, I can assure you that they are not supporting software forty years old. Punch card readers are difficult to find nowadays.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,665 points)

    The transition of the Mac platform to the Intel architecture was announced six years ago. The last PowerPC-based Macs were discontinued five years ago. Any application that still hasn't  been updated for Intel is dead, and you need a migration plan. You needed one several years ago.

  • Sjazbec Level 4 Level 4 (1,665 points)

    Rosetta, the "translator" between ppc to i386  has not only been removed and replaced with a Placeholder ( /usr/libexec/oah/RosettaNonGrata ) , Apple has disabled all calls to Rosetta directly in the kernel of OSX .


    Reinstalling the rosetta.pkg from a Snow DVD will bring in the executable that is missing ( /usr/libexec/oah/translate ) but it will cause only a Segmentation fault and the simple popup dialog that powerpc apps are no longer..


    It is dead. Simple because Apple has blocked it completely throughout the OS.


    Believe me I have tried every trick you can think of, including the "transplantation" of frameworks from Snow into Lion and it does change not a single thing.


    Apple intentionally made it so that a PPC app is nonfunctional whatever you do.

  • Badunit Level 6 Level 6 (10,760 points)

    You marked your own answer as correct? It wasn't even an answer to the question you posed.

  • tonefox Level 5 Level 5 (7,680 points)
  • woodmeister50 Level 4 Level 4 (3,690 points)

    If you are of the attitude "don't fix it if it ain't broke",

    why did you upgrade in the first place?  Also, why did you

    not have a plan to quickly revert to an old system?


    If a person that uses a computer for business does not have

    any plan or means to return to a working state, be it after

    an OS update or not, is only asking for trouble.


    As for PowerPC support, I have an old Dual 2GHz G5 if you

    want it.

  • softwater Level 5 Level 5 (5,370 points)

    You may be right, but Apple is a company who makes its money by selling to the home user. They were once the domain of creative artists, professionals in all sorts of media, but with Lion they have shown that their future lies in taking over the market for consuming - not creating - media. Look at their products


    iPhone, iPad, iPod, iTunes, iBook, App Stores (one for iTunes, one for iPhone/iPad and one for Mac OS), and OS X Lion.


    If you want supercomputers, Apple is not even in the industry. If you want Legacy, Apple is not interested. That's just missing an opportunity to sell you something 'new' 'improved' or, as we all know, just different from the last iteration.


    I've been using Apple computers since 2004 and never looked back. Now, I've lost wholesale trust in Apple's direction since seeing Lion (though the very first time they forced me to have the App Store app in SL 10.6.6 I could already smell the future).


    I predict people like me won't be Apple users in five years time. How long it takes to migrate to another OS just depends on when/if a better offer comes up. Given the highly competitive nature of the industry, the profits to be had, and the huge amount of talented programmers out there, that's surely just a matter of time.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,665 points)

    I predict people like me won't be Apple users in five years time. How long it takes to migrate to another OS just depends on when/if a better offer comes up.


    Your PPC apps won't work on that other OS either, so good luck.

  • softwater Level 5 Level 5 (5,370 points)

    That wasn't my point, Linc. My point was that Apple's apparent direction is likely to see a former hyper-loyal customer base start looking around for other options.


    Those who are determined to run ppc apps while using Lion can, theoretically, install Snow Leopard within Lion using a virtual machine. Note that the jury's still out whether this contravenes the End User Licence agreement or not.

  • g_wolfman Level 4 Level 4 (1,110 points)

    You're missing a fundamental point.


    IBM and companies like it chose to retain multi-generational system compatability.  In doing so they also restricted their future architecture choices significantly.  The fact that they retained a multi-generational architecture does not prove that it is better to do so.  It only means that for IBM, the benfit of doing so exceeded the opportunity cost of not restricting their future system architectures.


    The choice to no longer support PPC by Apple was an economic decision - obviously they believe the benefit to them in moving to an Intel-only software architecture exceeds the opportunity cost of retaining PPC.  Whether they are right or not will be a matter of empircal fact at some point in the future.  But in any case, it is purely an economic decision - just as was IBM's decision.  If you think that IBM is supporting legacy software because of any sort of altruistic concern for its customers, then you are dead wrong.  If you don't believe that IBM is using anything but cold, hard accounting to justify its business decisions, then why get angry at Apple for doing the exact same thing?


    Believe me, if IBM decided next year that dropping support for System 36 in future lines made better economic sense, they'd do it in a heart-beat and without any regret.


    Finally, your comparison to supercomputers and defense applications is disingenious.  First, because the fact that Apple has never competed in the area is irrelevent - the fact that this legacy support occurs is a direct result of people like DoD paying for that support - so that they don't have to redesign the programs currently in use and potentially introduce new bugs.  But that is exactly the point I just made; IBM, et al are providing that support because it's good economics for them - DoD is paying for it.  But that's not a universal constant - one can consider, for example that many banks have been slowly and carefully migrating their systems away from mainframes running COBOL over the past 10 - 20 years.  Your comparison is disingenious secondly because even within the Defence and Research areas, supercomputers are a fraction of both the total computing power and the capital outlay invested in computers.  In DoD, the kings of computing are probably still Compaq and Dell...or whatever companies provide the bulk of the desktops and laptops.  Same across all government departments.  Relatively speaking, supercomputers are small change.


    Speaking objectively, Apple's decision to drop PPC may or may not be a bad move.  But it's definitely not a bad move because it inconveniences you (or me, or thousands of other users), nor because IBM chooses to provide better legacy support.

  • g_wolfman Level 4 Level 4 (1,110 points)

    I do projects for customers I cant disclose, I work with supercomputers and I know multinational environments. I work with big boy toys.

    Well then, I hope that Richard Nieves isn't actually your real name...INFOSEC?

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