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Appleworks, Rosetta, and Mountain Lion

1042 Views 7 Replies Latest reply: Jan 31, 2013 4:19 AM by lemon-kun RSS
Lance1 Calculating status...
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Dec 28, 2012 1:31 PM

My wife has indicated that she is in need of an upgrade with her iMac.  She is operating with Snow Leopard as I am on mine.   We have both been dedicated Apple users since the 1970's and have generated MANY Appleworks documents as well as others which are saved on HUNDREDS of CD's.  Over the years we have had access to this information from time to time.  Now we are at a point that we want to upgrade her computer and she will not be able to use her archived information.  Will Apple ever use the translation program called Rosetta again or a similar application?  Is there a simple and smooth way to set up an external drive with Snow Leopard and Rosetta, that would allow you to read these disks?  I have asked myself a simple question- "Why would a person archive information on CD's if the computers of the future are no going to be able to read the information on the CD's?"


Any help or suggestions are welcome

Mac OS X (10.6.8), 1T WD External, 350 OWC External, Panasonic PV-GS300 DVC, Kodak
  • Barney-15E Level 7 Level 7 (33,275 points)
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    Dec 28, 2012 1:42 PM (in response to Lance1)

    Will Apple ever use the translation program called Rosetta again or a similar application?

    I doubt it. Apple deprecated (ie sent it to the dustbin) PowerPC code over six years ago. Whether Apple has chosen not to license Rosetta or the company that made it chose not to license it is unknown.

    Is there a simple and smooth way to set up an external drive with Snow Leopard and Rosetta

    You can install Snow Leopard on an external drive and boot to it, if the Mac you are running can boot with Snow Leopard. In general, a Mac can only boot an OS that is newer than the one that shipped on it. So, if by Upgrade her iMac you mean replace it with a new one, then you won't be able to boot it into Snow Leopard.

    If you mean you just want to ugrade the OS to Mountain Lion, then yes, you will be able to boot off that external.

    "Why would a person archive information on CD's if the computers of the future are no going to be able to read the information on the CD's?"

    I don't know. Why did you do that in a proprietary file format? Nobody knows what will survive. Likely, PDFs will be arround for a while. The new Microsoft Office document format follows an Open standard (OpenXML), but that doesn't mean anyone will support it in the future.


    Keynote, Pages, and Numbers will open AppleWorks 6 presentation, word processing, and spreadsheet documents. I think there are third-party drawing programs that will open the drawing files. Databases cannot be opened by anything else. If you have some, you could export them to a spreadsheet format which could then be opened in Numbers.

  • Kurt Lang Level 7 Level 7 (31,485 points)
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    Dec 28, 2012 1:49 PM (in response to Lance1)

    AppleWorks isn't the first, and definitely won't be the last software title to be deemed obsolete, or dropped by its developer.


    Rosetta is extremely unlikely to ever return. Personally, I would say never. Apple licensed the actual interpreter from Transitive Corporation and did the rest of the work necessary for it to work seamlessly in OS X. IBM now owns the code and sells it as PowerVM. However, they have no OS X version of it.


    One report I read noted that Rosetta was removed in Lion and Mountain Lion because all remaining PPC code was cleaned out the OS, and Rosetta relied on PPC hooks to the OS in order for Rosetta to function. No PPC code, no Rosetta.


    You do have several options.


    1) Keep your current Macs on Snow Leopard. From a work standpoint, there's really nothing in ML that is all that important to upgrade to.


    2) Create a separate partition for ML. Work in that for your day to day operation and boot to Snow Leopard when you need to access your AppleWorks documents. Not a good idea though if you access your old files every day. You'd spend more time booting back and forth than getting anything done.


    3) Not sure what you would use, but find a way to translate all of your old files to current software. Someone else here could likely give you some ideas.


    4) Use Parallels or VMWare to install Leopard Server, or Snow Leopard Server in Virtual Machine. It could then be run alongside Mountain Lion at that same time.

  • Russa Level 4 Level 4 (1,315 points)
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    Dec 28, 2012 2:25 PM (in response to Lance1)

    You might want to consider testing your documents with Apple Keynote, Pages, and Numbers. It might be easier in the long run.


    Apple Keynote is a presentation application that can open AppleWorks 6 presentation files & PowerPoint files. You probably can find a lot of information by searching the Keynote forum.

    Apple Pages is the word processing/page layout application in iWork. Pages is able to open AppleWorks 6 word processing document as well as Word, text & RTF documents. It is not able to open any other AppleWorks documents or older Word documents (I'm not sure how far back it goes). Pages 1 (iWork '05) will not display floating spreadsheet frames in AppleWorks 6 word processing documents, Pages 2 can. Pages 2 has limited spreadsheet functions available in tables (as does Keynote 3, both in iWork '06). Pages can export as PDF, Word, plain text, RTF & HTML (HTML export is disappointing to say the least). It cannot export as AppleWorks (any version).


    Regarding CDs.. I woudln't be surprised if CD devices go the way of floppy disks. Suggest you start thinking about converting these files from CDs to another media.

  • MlchaelLAX Level 4 Level 4 (1,550 points)
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    Dec 29, 2012 10:13 AM (in response to Lance1)

    Continue to use Appleworks in Lion or Mountain Lion:



                                  [click on image to enlarge]


    Snow Leopard (with Rosetta) installation into Parallels instructions:

  • Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,295 points)
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    Dec 29, 2012 11:45 AM (in response to Lance1)

    The best approach here is to have an external installation of Snow Leopard that you can boot to. Frankly one quick way to do this is to use a cloning tool like Carbon Copy Cloner to mirror your current OS X installation to an external drive before you upgrade. This will keep your Appleworks installation and the ability to use Rosetta intact and accessible by simply rebooting to the external drive.


    I would also recommend avoiding proprietary formats for archived files. Whenever I archive things I use basic text formats (RTF or TXT) that can be read by practially any program on any platform. Granted these do not have special formatting and features that are available in proprietary formats, but they will allow the content to be saved. Another option is to in addition to saving the content as TXT or RTF, save the formatted file as a PDF which is a bit more universal than other formats.

  • VikingOSX Level 5 Level 5 (4,695 points)
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    Dec 29, 2012 12:25 PM (in response to Lance1)

    If you purchase a new Mac, an external Snow Leopard disk will not boot, because the new machine hardware was not supported in Snow Leopard. Michael Lax is the authority on the functional solution that he suggested, and I recommend it too, because it allows you to run a full copy of AppleWorks and Snow Leopard -- on new hardware, simultaneously with the latest OS X. Starting AppleWorks would be simply a mouse click away with access to legacy documents.


    Recent versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote advertise that they can open AW6 word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation documents, respectively. Your mileage may vary.


    Panergy Software has a free trial OS X application called docXConverter that allows the drag and dropping of a folder of AppleWorks word-processing files (only) on the application. The AW files are converted to .rtf, a format readable by Pages, TextEdit, Bean, MS Word, etc. The application is compatible from OS X 10.5 to OS X 10.8. The preceding link is the feature page, not an automatic download.

  • lemon-kun Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Jan 31, 2013 4:19 AM (in response to Lance1)

    Dear Lance, I feel your pain… especially the hundreds of CDs will cause you a lot of it… I'd say if your wife is going to retire within the next five years, and doesn't need the information afterwards, I'd buy an external CD/DVD-Drive (as long as these are available) and use that. But if you need that information for a longer time, you should start putting them from disk to an external harddrive. That will take ages, but a harddrive is not only more convenient, it is also much safer than CDs (which get corrupted from time to time; with a harddisk it's also easier to make a backup of the archive).


    Regarding how to open/the conversion of AppleWorks documents, read this:



    Personally, I can recommend the iWork apps – with these you can open the AppleWorks wordprocessor-, spreadsheet- and presentation-files. For drawings I have bought EazyDraw – although it has its rough edges, it does the job well, and while not my most beloved app (the design is a bit geeky) it has proven to be irreplaceable for doing school-related illustrations. The other apps recommended in the article above are FileMakerPro (for opening AppleWorks-databases) and GraphicConverter (for the Paint-documents, if you've ever used that). However I don't have any experience with those.


    With iWork and EazyDraw, I converted most of my old files into new file formats. Just when I had to open/edit a file I saved it then in the new format. If you do that over a longer period of time, it isn't as much work as it seems in the beginning.


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