TidBITS Macs & Mac OS X: Preparing for Lion: Find Your PowerPC Applications

TidBITS Macs & Mac OS X: Preparing for Lion: Find Your PowerPC Applications.

A very useful read for those going to MacOS Lion.

I am looking at doing so shortly…there are many new features I’m looking to take advantage of, and as a power user I need to carefully consider my workflow.

Pros as I have seen them:

  1. 64 Bit Intel from top to bottom – a nebulous concern for even the technically minded. This is a benefit to anyone running processor intensive applications. My Geekbench system benchmarks have jumped between 500 and 1500 points just moving to LION on a MacPro5,3.
  2. Better VM Performance – very good with my vast library of Virtual Machines running under Parallels. I found Parallels to be IMMEDIATELY snappier on Lion, when running multiple VMs. At home I work on a Mac Pro1,1, and I spend ~90% of my time in MacOS unless I’m working on various developer sandboxes running everything from Windows to Linux. At work (day job as a Senior Technology Analyst at the City of Toronto), I use a Mac PRo running MacOS 10.6.x running Parallels, on which I run two Windows VMs. One runs a standard Corp build logged in as my elevated rights account, where I perform ongoing admin related functions, and other other runs the same corp build with my standard limited rights account logged in performing the usual non-administrator tasks such as email, document editing, and day to day tasks organizing staff and projects. I’ll explain why this is a good thing another time ;) Suffice it to say that my workflow seems immediately more stable under a fully 64 bit Intel-only OS. We’ll see if that holds up when I migrate over full time.
  3. New startup disk recovery options. We now have a MacOS Recovery partition to startup from, eliminating the need for extra startup disks or partitions if major repairs are required.

Cons as I see them:

  1. Only 64 or 32 bit Intel from top to bottom – “what?” you say? google it a bit and you’ll understand. Older MacOS builds (10.6 Leopard and prior) ran PPC applications or universal binary applications. PPC was the previous CPU architecture (think “Intel Inside”, this would have read “PPC Inside”) that Apple supported and helped develop from the mid 1990’s and forward. Since the transition is and was largely transparent to Mac users, there may be *some* surprises if you try to whip out a great old tool, such as your old but much-loved Mac game, or a useful tool like GoLive CS2 (I still love the old cyberstudio layout), which will no longer even launch under MacOS Lion. Boohoo! But time to move on. Just make sure you keep a copy of the old OS somewhere on a drive iun case you *need* to run those tools. End of trauma phase.
  2. New Apple-supplied UI wonders. The Finder is again tweaked, and stuff has moved. Make sure you aren’t losing the bits you need! I like colour-based cues to find folders in MacOS 10.6. The MacOS Lion Finder is monchrome. Why? I have no idea.
  3. Fear of the new.
So let’s see what the new OS brings us. Bug reports are filing in and I’m gearing up for my own upgrade in order to use some of the new features. It appears my big apps all work as expected, but just in case I’m hunting around for a tool that will flag my PPC apps in the finder so I can visually locate and segregate them (I can’t export the list of PPC apps in the system profiler so I must figure out a way)