[linux-elitists] Mac OS X "Snow Leopard" Drops Support for PowerPC-based Macs

Brian brian at brianm.org
Mon Jun 15 07:58:17 PDT 2009

On Mon, Jun 15, 2009 at 6:55 AM, Shlomi Fish<shlomif at iglu.org.il> wrote:
> Hi all!
> As mentioned here:
> http://www.osnews.com/story/21634/Snow_Leopard_To_Arrive_in_Sept_29_USD_Safari_4_Out
> {{{
> [Snow Leopard] will be available coming September for All Intel Macs, past and
> present (so, as expected, no PowerPC).
> }}}
> So all the Mac users who've bought PowerPC-based Macs machines back before
> Apple switched to x86 should now either buy a new Macintosh or switch to Linux
> or whatever.

Well. When support for Leopard ends, yeah. If that follows the regular
Apple expiration rules, that's six years' support for the last desktop
and notebook sold, and five years for the last server product. A bit
slim, I guess.

> This is not the first time Apple has ended support for a
> processor architecture that it used to sell. The Rockwell-based Apple ][ and
> the m68k-based Macintoshes also come to mind.

Linux sure isn't going 6502, 65816 or 68000 any time soon. No MMU. gcc
is too flaky with 68030 to compile with optimizations on, as well. I'm
not sure you can even target 68030 (vs 68020) in the kernel without it
going tits up.

Last I tried, both Linux and OpenBSD on a 68030 were not happy places.
Fetch a cup of coffee while you wait for ssh to authenticate.

> What will the future hold for today's Apple machines? When x86-64 becomes more
> common will today's x86-32 machines become unsupported by Apple? What if x86
> will be superceded by a completely different (and probably superior)
> architecture?

Apple is headed toward some kind of native LLVM support. Presumably
they want to get where Microsoft is still trying to go with .NET -
just-in-time compilation all over the place. MS hasn't convinced any
of its major app developers yet. Apple can be a bit more of a bastard.
In two years, it may not matter which CPU sits under the LLVM.

I'm hopeful about this for Linux too. Intel is coming out with some
crazy CPU designs in coming years, with like 16 general purpose cores
and 64 lightweight cores on one chip. nVidia is trying to nudge its
way into core CPU tasks as well. We could well see a need to shift
processes between different CPU architectures in the same machine.

I don't follow the project directly anymore, but I think I read that
FreeBSD was moving toward replacing gcc/egcs with clang/LLVM. They may
already see the need for this. Or maybe it's just the BSD-like

> And the ironic thing is that Linux and other open-source operating systems

Someone else pointed it out already. Dang.

> still support m68k, PPC and many other architectures just fine. Go, go, open-
> source!

PPC, yeah. m68k - it never quite got there unless someone's been crazy
active in the last 5 years or so.

> On a slightly different note, there had been someone frequenting Freenode's
> #perl who ran MacPerl on Mac OS Classic. I told him he should upgrade to Mac
> OS X or use Linux instead, but he couldn't afford the upgrade (which now would
> have done him no good), and he would rather not risk turning his computer into
> a Linux machine. I found his presence annoying.

Just because he's a poor mofo doesn't mean his time has no value.
Unless you're on an x86 (and I mean x86_32), Linux still requires some
intensive TLC if venturing beyond what's packaged by the distro. After
whatever time investment is involved, his experience might not even be
as good as it was with MacPerl.

> Recently we've also been frequented by someone who tried to install a new
> version of Perl on BeOS , and ran into many problems. I guess there isn't any
> shortage of people using deprecated operating systems in the world.

Would guys like this still be using BeOS if it were easy? There's a
risk of confusing stubborn hobbyists and ideologues with a market.
(Unless that market is OpenBSD t-shirts. HEYO!)

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