Universal Binary Genealogy Applications:
Note: We now have a news category/archive covering the Intel Transition that is about general transition news. There is also a Universal Binary category that is going to be tracking news about genealogy software compiled for either platform.
Announcement: January 10th, 2006, Apple announced the first of the Intel-powered Macs – the 15-inch MacBook Pro and the iMac.
Article: Dec 12th: MacFixIt: Mac OS X Intel transition special report
Entry at Wikipedia
- A universal binary is an executable file that runs natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macintosh computers, which was first introduced at the 2005 WWDC to ease the transition from the existing PowerPC architecture to Intel in 2006 and 2007. Universal binaries are fat binaries that include both PowerPC and x86 versions of a compiled application, allowing the application to run on both architectures. Apple used a similar technique during the transition from 68k processors to PowerPC in the mid-1990s.
Rosetta Explanation at Wikipedia. Rosetta will allow us to run our current OS X applications on an Intel-based Macintosh. Although there is another note at the bottom of this page, just a word of caution – right now, “Classic” applications will not run under Rosetta.
- Rosetta is a translation process that runs a PowerPC binary on an Intel-based Macintoshâ€”it allows applications to run as nonnative binaries. Many, but not all, applications can run translated. Applications that run translated will never run as fast as they run as a native binary because the translation process itself incurs a processing cost.
How compatible your application is with Rosetta depends on the type of application it is. Applications that have a lot of user interaction and low computational needs, such as a word processor, are quite compatible. Those that have a moderate amount of user interaction and some high computational needs or that use OpenGL are, in most cases, also quite compatible. Those that have intense computing needs arenâ€™t compatible. This includes applications that need to repeatedly compute fast Fourier transforms (FFTs), that compute complex models for 3-D modelling, or compute ray tracing.
To the user, Rosetta is transparent. Unlike Classic, when the user launches an application, there arenâ€™t any visual cues to indicate that the application is translated. The user may perceive that the application is slow to start up or that the performance is slower than it is on a PowerPC-based Macintosh.
Note: It does appear official – “Classic” apps (those built for MacOS 8 & 9, and/or below) will not be able to run under the “Rosetta” emulator that runs PowerPC apps on the Intel-based Macs. This is fairly serious for many of us, but every indication is that PPC machines in use now, and including those sold through the end of the transition to Intel, will be supported for several years to come. There’s also nothing that says you can’t hold onto an old Mac to run what you need, or that somebody won’t produce an emulator.
Addition:Joy of Tech has an amusing cartoon detailing the “Five Stages of Intel Macs”