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Those of us who have the unfortunate need to be on the cutting (bleeding) edge of technology are now counting down to the release of OS X 10.7, aka Lion. As with any major upgrade, some software will fall by the wayside. In this case, all PowerPC apps are going away. There will be no more Rosetta to run them on the Intel architecture, so if you have something that you absolutely must run and it only runs in Rosetta, then you are either stuck where you are or you need to find something else. I'm still using Quicken 2007 for my banking needs, but it's PPC so it needs to be replaced. I've heard negative reports on the current version, so I'm currently looking at iBank 4. (More on that next week!)

IF you have a Mac that will run Lion (Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 or Xeon processor) and want to upgrade, it's time to start looking at your installed software to see what will work and what won't. You can do it with System Profiler, but I found a nice piece of freeware that does a nicer job, ArchDetect. It's faster, and it only scans what you tell it to scan. System Profiler is slower because it scans every drive attached. The only way to stop it is to unmount your extra drives.

With System Profiler, click on Application, then when it finishes scanning your drives (yes, I have 3 backup drives attached to my iMac), click on Kind to sort so you can see how many Power PC Apps you have.

With ArchDetect, the default setting is for the main Applications folder and the Applications folder in your home directory. If you have apps in other locations (like games in a Games folder) you can add them to the list to be scanned. By default, the resulting list will be "All" applications, but you can change the view to just Intel, Universal or PPC. Additonally, it will also show the location of each file, something System Profiler does only if you click on each entry. Neither will print an easy to use reference document, unfortunately, but you can't ask for miracles from free software. 

When Lion is released, I'll install it on my MacBook first (after doing a cloned, bootable backup, of course)  and run it there for a while to see if it breaks any of my Intel or Universal apps. Once I'm satisfied that I can run everything I need, I'll install it on my iMac. What am I losing besides Quicken 2007? Mostly games. I'll miss a few, but I'm sure others will replace them.

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  • With a 2006 MacBook I am not compatible with Lion. It would be nice to know if things like iTunes and Safari will be made at all backwards compatible to Snow Leopard etc.? I’m thinking likely not.

  • Warren Shaw

    I am using the windows version of Quicken 2011 under Parallels Desktop. I have had this version for about six months. Absolutely no issues other than the product taking a little longer to load. In coherence, it feels like a Mac app once loaded. The benefit is that it will handle all financial activities, including investments, etc.

  • Brian Stone

    Hi Phyllis:

    Great find. Thanks. It looks like Microsoft Office 2003 will ‘bite the dust’ under Lion. And the newer versions suck so badly. Also pages is not really a contender for Word.

    But why not setup a bootable drive and clone your system to it for the use of your banking software. Then you do not need to start over with some maybe ‘as good’ software?

  • Thanks a lot for this little gem.
    I see where I would have been in a mess of hurt; I have some updating to do.
    But I can’t quite figure this one out….Handbrake and Premiere CS5 both sport “Not Universal, Intel or PPC.”

  • Thank you for the tip here, I plan on utilizing it to check out my system. I have been worried about my Epson printer driver since Epson frequently recommends installing Rosetta. However, when I had the driver running recently, it labeled it as a Intel 64 bit app. So I was relieved there.

  • Before buying iBank, download it and use it for several days at least. I was very disappointed in the direction after iBank3 and went to the new Quicken – even with its reduced feature set, I found it to be much friendlier. I reviewed it as iBank 3 and iBank4 here at the site (http://macgroup.org/blog/2010/02/24/goodbye-yellow-brick-road/ and http://macgroup.org/blog/2010/10/27/back-on-the-road-again/).

  • Also, I did notice the app marked some of the CS 5.5 apps as PPC only when the system says they are Intel only, so the results need some double-checking.

  • I’ve noticed that it marked “steam” as PPC, even though Steam only came out a year ago and I know it to be Intel-only.

    Curiously, System Profiler doesn’t show ANYTHING in the “kind” column for Steam, nor for several other apps: http://yourmacexpert.com/app-with-no-kind.png