Not OT: Classic apps and the Intel Mac

Cameron Kaiser spectre at
Tue Jan 10 18:58:51 CST 2006

> > Well, the Intel Mac has emerged and with that we can conclude that the end
> > of the Classic era is near, as Rosetta will officially not support Classic
> > applications.
> This has been known from the beginning of the switch to Intel.

Yes, but it's a little more acute now that the machines are actually here ...

> > This means a lot of legacy software is now suddenly worthless on the next
> > generation of Macintoshes. Worse, I'm hearing a rumour that 10.5 will strip
> > Classic out even for PPC Macs. Has anyone else heard this?
> No, I've not heard this, but it is disturbing.  With 10.4 they removed the
> support for Classic Appletalk that was added in either 10.1 or 10.2 (I
> didn't switch till 10.2 in part becuase of this).  Also, the simple fact
> remains that most users don't need or care about classic support.  This is
> one of the reasons I'm still running 10.3.9.

EtherTalk was added back in 10.2, which is still the version of OS X I use
day-to-day (my file server runs 10.3 and my laptop runs 10.4, but 10.2 seems
to be the best compatibility conjunction for me).

I know that a lot of the new Mac generation doesn't care about Classic, and
most of them don't even look at it because the installation is a separate
step that they don't have to do. But it *is* a slap in the face of the old
guard to marginalize it so rapidly.

> > I still use a number of 68K apps I picked up for a song because they do the
> > job, they're fast, and they were cheap. I'm not giving that up so easily.
> I still use ClarisDraw that I bought in 1995, it cost me a *LOT* and was 
> never updated.  Up until the last year or so it wasn't even possible to get
> software that could read my data files (now several basically unheard of 
> drawing apps do).  I use it because it does 99.9% of what I need, and
> becuase nothing else I've tried is as easy to use.  I've paid for Adobe CS
> Premium, so I have Illustrator CS, but for what I typically need, it's
> overkill, and I don't have time to learn it.

Myself, I still use an old 68K version of OmniPage because it's sickeningly
fast on this dual G4, and there's a few games I like to play, and a dev
environment or two which I use to write stuff for the old Macs in the shop.
Also, some ostensibly Carbon apps seem happier in Classic (Palm's emulator
is one of these).

> I tend to suspect that there are enough of us that are stuck with apps that
> can't be easily replaced, that there is a market for something along the
> lines of VPC for running classic Mac OS on the new Intel-based Mac's. 
> Personally I really hope someone develops it, as I'll be looking for it when
> I go to upgrade.  Ideally it would be able to tranparently access the host
> systems filesystem, run classic Appletalk, and run a range of OS versions.
> I'd really like to be able to run System 7.5, 7.6, and 8.0, as I have
> software that doesn't work right on newer versions (one app I wrote myself,
> the rest are commercial apps).
> Worst case I setup either my PowerMac 8500/180 or G4/450 running classic 
> Mac OS.  Which is tempting in any case, as I have software that is locked to
> the 8500, and hardware that will only work with one of those two systems. 
> My problem with this solution is a lack of room.

Well, my original plan was to replace this dual G4 with a quad G5 (running
whatever the latest OS is that still supports Classic), and turn the dual G4
into a pure OS 9 box, the last generation of dualies that still could boot
OS 9.2.x natively.

My worry is that OS 10.5, if it *does* rip Classic out, is going to come along
in the meantime and even if I do make an effort to get a PPC Mac to still run
my legacy apps, I'll still be unable to do so. Or, if I get the Mac in time
and 10.5 (or 10.6, or whatever) comes out without Classic, then I'll never be
able to update that Mac past whatever version I have on it.

There's stuff like BasiliskII, Sheepshaver (both of which I use occasionally)
and PearPC, but even though Classic is clunky, it integrates as well as can
be expected with the host operating system and most operations proceed
transparently. A "Mac in a window" application would have the limitations of
VPC, which works pretty well considering, but is still inconvenient for some
kinds of tasks from an interface and integration perspective.

What I was hoping Apple would do is keep support for Classic in future versions
of the OS that support the PPC, but Classic would either not be pre-installed
or just wouldn't work on Intels. When Apple drops the PPC from Mac OS, which
will happen one day in the future, then Classic support dies "naturally." This
seems a gentler way of leading Classic apps into obsolescence than simply
legislating their demise, as it were.

Apple's page on Rosetta and the Intel Macs is exceptionally unhelpful about
explaining the eventual software roadmap, but this is pretty typical for them.

--------------------------------- personal: ---
  Cameron Kaiser * Floodgap Systems * * ckaiser at
-- The world is coming to an end. Log off now. --------------------------------

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