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OS X - Apps and Games Discussion of applications and games available for Mac OS X.

PPC Software End of Life?


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Mr. Swillis

 
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Hello Everyone,

I am an avid Linux user and have recently picked up a couple of G4 PPC Macs off of craigslist just to play around with. After getting a good feel for the Mac OS, I have found myself really enjoying these computers. I'm not a high end computer user on the "hardware" level and don't need to run bleeding edge games or 3d engineering software. Just browse the web, create docs, photoshop, and other basic things. So getting a brand new Mac isn't really something I need to invest in.

My main concern is that even though I am ok working with older PPC hardware, Apple has now changed to Intel and therefore the Software is now written pirmarily for Intel. Does anyone know what the 3rd party software support is like now (or will be like in the near future) for PPC Mac OS? For example, are companies like Adobe going to abandon PPC ports of their software? I have a chance to pick up a couple of older Macs dirt cheap and would base my decision partly on this.

Thanks!

Swill
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bryphotoguy

 
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Well Swill, there is always that adage, you get what you pay for. It's dirt cheap, it's not going to last very long.
That being said, 3rd part support is great. I don't know of any apps that are Intel only. Most are universal so there are no worries. I don't know why 3rd party developers would abandon PPC architecture. There are probably more PPC Macs out there seeing they were made for so long and they good machines.
Really, it depends on their specs. Tiger is still an excellent OS but Panther, 10.3 support seems to be non-existent.


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Aptmunich

 
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Well, Adobe's Soundbooth software is already intel-only and if you want to import AVCHD content into iMovie 08 you also need an intel Mac.

I think you'll see things heading in that direction increasingly in apps that are cpu intensive.

Adobe has stated that Photoshop CS5 (not 4) will be 64-Bit and Cocoa based, so I think that could be the first version to drop PowerPC support since they're already going to have to completely rewrite parts of it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Swillis View Post
I'm not a high end computer user on the "hardware" level and don't need to run bleeding edge games or 3d engineering software. Just browse the web, create docs, photoshop, and other basic things. So getting a brand new Mac isn't really something I need to invest in.
I would certainly agree with you on that point. I feel that more people should go this route if they are simply curious about learning the Mac OS.

Quote:
My main concern is that even though I am ok working with older PPC hardware, Apple has now changed to Intel and therefore the Software is now written pirmarily for Intel.
Most software out there is either Universal (both PPC/Intel) or there are separate versions written. It's been two years of Intel now and there is still a multitude of Universal software out there being written and made available.
Yes, this will eventually shift to Intel-only, but I really don't see it happening too soon. As it was mentioned, there are still quite a few PPC users out there who have no real need or desire to get an Intel machine yet.

Whenever a version of Mac OS is released that completely phases out any and all PPC support, then we will see the end of PPC coded apps being written... not really before then.

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Remember as well that software vendors are in the business for one reason in the end - to generate a profit. Going Intel only would knock a large percentage of the current Mac user base out of the addressable market for their software, reducing sales volume potential. I don't see most vendors doing this any time soon.

Keep in mind that Macs have been around for a long, long time and the majority are probably still PPC based. The Intel Macs are only a two year or so phenom at this point. Vendors who want to sell lots of their wares will keep producing universal (PPC + Intel) versions for some time to come. It just doesn't make economic sense not to.

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I agree the PowerPC will be here for a while yet, but a lot of mac software comes from small indie developers who simply might not have the manpower to spend extra time ensuring PowerPC compatibility.

Plus speed-wise the G5 should suffice for a while yet, but G4s just don't have enough oompf for some newer apps.
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Scott Baret

 
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A good way to look at the present situation is to look back at the past.

In 1994, Apple came out with the first PowerPC chips. This replaced a decade worth of 680x0 based machines. Like the Intel chips, the PowerPC chips needed new software written specifically for them to utilize their chips. Otherwise, a PowerPC computer could "morph" into a Quadra and run the older software at a reasonably fast rate much like Rosetta does today.

Like now, there were millions of the older models out there when PowerPC first came out. Since Apple actually made 68040 machines until late 1996, there was still an obvious need for the older software.

Manufacturers were accommodating. AppleWorks 5, for example, supposedly can run on Macs as far back as the SE/30 and IIcx given sufficient memory. Microsoft kept support for 68020 and higher machines until Office 98. The Mac OS could run on a 68040 through OS 8.1.

Higher end programs tend to migrate first. If it needs a lot of muscle, it will need a better processor. This will be followed by "mainstream" applications and finally by lower-end programs and educational programs. Schools tend to keep older computers around for a while and when the computers get moved out of labs and into classrooms, the demand for software still exists. In fact, Optimum Resource was still selling Apple II software in the late 1990s. A quick glance at the discount software racks at an office supply store may even reveal a 680x0-compatible title there today.

I found that four years after the PowerPC hit the scene most of the titles either were PowerPC only or had a PowerPC only version scheduled for their next release. If history repeats itself, expect all Intel products by next year for new releases.
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Per my comments above, I would be surprised if it happens as quickly as next year. I would guess (and it is just a guess) that Universal Binaries will be around for another two to three years for most new software releases. I continue to think that there is a commercial imperative to continue to address the entire installed base. Just look at how many PPC based users there on these forums today...

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jmullen

 
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We who own these cherished machines are now know as "legacy operating system users" Mac use to be the best backwards compatible machine out there. I guess when you do a major over haul it happens. I'm sore about in myself and heard the most you can update to is OS 10.5. after that we have to get Intel machines, until someone makes a mother board to handle upgrading our processors. That person would get rich. Any way we are legacy operating system users now. So I'm gonna get all the software I can and or require for free ( I barely have to pay anyway ) so thats the jist of it my friend. I'm a lengthy writer sometimes. It's A.D.D. I thnk.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Swillis View Post
Hello Everyone,

I am an avid Linux user and have recently picked up a couple of G4 PPC Macs off of craigslist just to play around with. After getting a good feel for the Mac OS, I have found myself really enjoying these computers. I'm not a high end computer user on the "hardware" level and don't need to run bleeding edge games or 3d engineering software. Just browse the web, create docs, photoshop, and other basic things. So getting a brand new Mac isn't really something I need to invest in.

My main concern is that even though I am ok working with older PPC hardware, Apple has now changed to Intel and therefore the Software is now written pirmarily for Intel. Does anyone know what the 3rd party software support is like now (or will be like in the near future) for PPC Mac OS? For example, are companies like Adobe going to abandon PPC ports of their software? I have a chance to pick up a couple of older Macs dirt cheap and would base my decision partly on this.

Thanks!

Swill
I don't think they (Apple) are going to look back. I wouldn't expect any more compatibility for the upgrading programs either. Adobe for one, and Digidesigne are seeming to just go for intel based progs on macs now. Hope I'm wrong..
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