Where is the rest of Rosetta?
One of the things I despise about modern life is the lack of persistance. Less than a week after Apple announcement there is not a freaking serious discussion about it. We talked more before the announcement when little was known than afterwards. People really do get tired of technical reasons. People get tired of arguments they no longer understand. I am not like that... Some will say I am compulsive and obstinate, but here I go again more on the same topic. You don't like it? Well, there are millions of blogs elsewhere...
One of the ignored questions is "Where is the other part of Rosetta?" The part that will allow us to run Intel applications on the old Power PC plattform. No use for this! you say? Oh! There are tons of uses I can think of. One would be development. Poor developers wouldn't have to rent one of the absurdly expensive developer machines (a 400$ Intel that rents for 999$ for less than two years!). The other will be consumer confidence, if Power PC Macs can run Intel only apps as fast as intel Macs can run Power PC apps it would be easier to justify buying the last few of the Power PC Macs. There are advantages and Disadvantages to everything. Here are some:
Pros: The back-Rosetta will give confidence to Apple customer that they are not being abandoned. It would extend the life of the Power PC plattform (good for Apple customers, bad for Apple). It will really make the OS independent of the processor. It will allow small time developer to try things now.
Cons: While it will help Apple now to sell computers, it may hurt them later. People will be able to wait until the kinks are out of the Intel Mac in order to buy. No reason to hurry, no way Apple can come up with a new "Intel only" technology to force the switch. I am sure this is the big hurdle as this must be part of Apple's plan. Compensate for the lack of sales in 2005-2006 by forcing a lot of sales in 2006-2007 through making the old machines incompatible. There has to be development, both in back-Rosetta and in Tiger.
What the Fuck do I know?: There are a lot of questions that may swing one way or another depending of the answer. Will Power PC macs run back-Rosetta too slowly? Will it prove the Megahertz Myth was a fairly tale? or worse, Will it prove the Power PC is now a better processor than what Intel comes up with next year? Depending on the answer (which I don't know, but Apple does) this could be a problem for Apple and I'm not sure they can handle it. Another unknown is development. Clearly, Apple would have to create this Rosetta and test it and so on in a moment when they would prefer to invest time and effort on Intel development.
In the end, I think that the lack of a back-Rosetta says a lot about Apple plans. It tells of plan obsolescence, it tells of a different fairly tale. Have you notice how smooth this transition is going to go? How easy everything is? You can recompile in less than two hours! Of course, no mention is made of testing and other minor details. You can create Universal Binaries! But no mention is made that you can also create Intel only binaries. My fickle knowledge of programing says that the Intel only apps will run faster on Intel than Universal binaries or Power PC apps (with Rosetta or with a real Power PC). All in all, I think Apple should be pressured to answer this question (among others): "Where is the rest of Rosetta?"
10:20:17 AM Google It!