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  • PowerPC Killed By Lion


    Among all the new features and functionalities found in the Developer Preview of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, it's interesting to see what is missing. Lion has no preinstalled Java runtime, in line with Apple's stated plan to cease support of Java on the Mac. And Rosetta - Apple's code translator for running PowerPC applications on Intel processors - is nowhere to be found on Lion, marking the end of support for the PowerPC-based Macintoshes the company built from 1994 to 2006.

    Apple is unique among mainstream computer makers in that it's changed the processor family its products are based on three times through the years. They went from the MOS 6502 that powered the original Apple I and the Apple II line to the Motorola 68000 processor when the Macintosh was introduced in 1984. The 680x0 family (the original 68000 and the successor 68020, 68030 and 68040 processors) had a good run with the company but was replaced by the PowerPC ten years later with the introduction of the Power Macintosh 6100, 7100, and 8100 in March 1994. For the next twelve years, Apple released PowerPC Macs in large numbers, particularly in schools. When Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997, he led the design effort that led to the PowerPC G3-based "candy-colored" iMac, making Apple profitable again for the first time in years. Finally, over eight months in 2006, Apple switched every computer in its line to the Intel Core family of processors.

    In order to make the new Macs compatible with all the software that was out there, Apple released the Rosetta program, which intercepts PowerPC code and runs it in an emulator. Unlike the earlier 680x0 emulator - which ran at the kernel level and could literally intercept PowerPC interrupts and run them in emulation as 68k interrupts - Rosetta is a userland app, and limited in its ability to handle things like PowerPC kexts and Java applets. As a result, many developers released their programs as Universal Binaries, containing PowerPC and Intel code in the same bundle. As the need for Rosetta dwindled, Apple removed it from the default install on Snow Leopard, which is the first Mac OS X version that runs only on Intel processors. The Mac App Store is Intel-only as well, and now Rosetta has been removed from the Developer Preview of Mac OS X. Apple even deleted its Rosetta page from the website.

    When Lion is released this year, then, it will mean that the last vestige of Apple's PowerPC past will be dead and buried. People hanging on to their aging PowerPC-only software will be stuck with Snow Leopard, much as existing Power Mac and PowerBook users can't upgrade past Leopard. After five years, Apple's transition to the x86 architecture that powers most of the world's computers is complete.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: PowerPC Killed By Lion started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 42 Comments
    1. TheJailbreakGenius's Avatar
      TheJailbreakGenius -
      NO MORE JAVA?????? Java powers every applet on the web!!! This is a huge disappointment, I hope you will be able to get Java off the Internet or on a different browser.


      Btw, nice article, Paul. This is very interesting stuff. Good work!
    1. JayWins101's Avatar
      JayWins101 -
      wow you really did your research nice article
    1. swehbe's Avatar
      swehbe -
      Well my Macbooks heats up every time i try to load a Java or a flash web contenet, especially games etc...
    1. mburlingame's Avatar
      mburlingame -
      Java is installed as a System Update after the install of the Preview it's just not included out of the box - however all my Java based app's run as expected in Lion

      Plus Apple has a Disk Image posted online for people testing 10.7

      The first time you try to run a JAVA Web App the OS prompts you to download the following.

    1. JayWins101's Avatar
      JayWins101 -
      hope they keep java running because my fav app Minecraft is powered by Java
    1. moon#pie's Avatar
      moon#pie -
      If you recall, Apple announced that they would no longer be preinstalling and supporting Java on mac and will be leaving that up to Oracle. It will be better for users in the end.
    1. h2a's Avatar
      h2a -
      Java installs as a system update the moment you try to run something that needs it. No need for panic here. It's all good.
    1. TheJailbreakGenius's Avatar
      TheJailbreakGenius -
      Quote Originally Posted by mburlingame View Post
      Java is installed as a System Update after the install of the Preview it's just not included out of the box - however all my Java based app's run as expected in Lion

      Plus Apple has a Disk Image posted online for people testing 10.7

      The first time you try to run a JAVA Web App the OS prompts you to download the following.

      Thanks for the info!!! Huge help!!!
    1. TheJailbreakGenius's Avatar
      TheJailbreakGenius -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2a View Post
      Java installs as a system update the moment you try to run something that needs it. No need for panic here. It's all good.
      Thank you as well.
    1. TheJailbreakGenius's Avatar
      TheJailbreakGenius -
      Quote Originally Posted by moon#pie View Post
      If you recall, Apple announced that they would no longer be preinstalling and supporting Java on mac and will be leaving that up to Oracle. It will be better for users in the end.
      Could someone plz tell me what Oracle is?
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Java will be there if you want it.
    1. mburlingame's Avatar
      mburlingame -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheJailbreakGenius View Post
      Could someone plz tell me what Oracle is?
      You can read all about the SUN / Oracle merger at the following link

      Oracle Buys Sun
    1. TheDirtyDiddler's Avatar
      TheDirtyDiddler -
      Java is a lot harder to do without than Flash is. You'll be able to use it, I'm sure.
    1. Twimfy's Avatar
      Twimfy -
      What the hell are Apple thinking. Even Xcode won't start on Lion without the Java Runtime installed.
    1. wohhey's Avatar
      wohhey -
      Apple - Rosetta
    1. one1's Avatar
      one1 -
      Apple locked power PC out with Leopard. 10.4 was the latest OS you could put on power PC unless you did a magical dance with a little top hat and entered a wad of code through terminal to make the Leo disk load. 10.6 would not load at all under ANY circumstance so even if you want to say 10.5 was loadable under special condition, 10.6 was not at all. Power PC was dead at 10.5
    1. Simon's Avatar
      Simon -
      Paul mentioned that at the bottom of the article. He was just saying powerpc applications won't be supported anymore either.
    1. kuhndsn's Avatar
      kuhndsn -
      Good article. I am running Lion beta and have installed java. No problems in fact it runs cooler than the preinstalled on SL.
    1. awesomeSlayer's Avatar
      awesomeSlayer -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheJailbreakGenius View Post
      Could someone plz tell me what Oracle is?
      As moon#pie explained, Java is originally developed by Sun Microsystems. Oracle, an organization that develops open-source applications such as VirtualBox (although that was originally developed by Sun Microsystems) and OpenOffice.org, bought Sun Microsystems.

      I thought PowerPC died in Mac OS X 10.5. I guess it must be the support that was living.

      And why is this news in the iPhone News section?
    1. one1's Avatar
      one1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by x98car View Post
      Paul mentioned that at the bottom of the article. He was just saying powerpc applications won't be supported anymore either.
      With ya brother, Just putting it in the middle of the thread for those "first line then post" folk. (although he did say snow leopard which isn't supported even in the iMac G5)