Rosetta, Based on Transitive, is ‘Key to Apple’s Intel Shift’

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San Jose Mercury News reporter Dean Takahashi confirmed on Wednesday what such pundits as Wired News writer Leander Kahney had already surmised: Rosetta, which will help Intel-based Macs run software written for PowerPC-based machines, is indeed based on Transitive Technologyis translation software. Calling it the "key to Appleis Intel shift," Mr. Takahashi writes: "If Rosetta lives up to its promise, consumers wonit have to throw away their old software when they buy a new computer from Apple with Intel chips."

Noting that this problem has affected other computer makers too -- such as Silicon Graphics, which is also using Transitiveis technology to let its Irix software work on new Itanium-based computers with the Linux OS -- Mr. Takahashi said Rosetta wonit be the perfect fix, since it doesnit allow Mac OS Xis Classic mode to run OS 8 and OS 9 applications.

However, that seems to be of little consequence to Apple, according to an article on Silicon.com. In that piece, writer Ina Fried reports that Phil Schiller, Appleis Senior Vice-President of Marketing, told her: "In recent versions of Mac OS X, we actually stopped installing Classic by default because very few -- if any -- people use it anymore. Weive done research to determine who buying new products from us is using Classic. You really canit find hardly anyone who does anymore." Apple declined to comment further to Ms. Fried on the future of Mac OS 8 and 9 applications on Intel-based Macs.

Mr. Takahashi spoke with Transitive CEO Bob Wiederhold, who told him that the company is working with six of the eight largest computer makers in the world. Mr. Wiederhold also said that an application employing the Transitive solution uses approximately 25% more memory than it used to use, although it runs at 70 to 80% of its original speed.

However, "Rosetta will almost certainly be useless for games," according to a comment made by programmer Ryan Gordon to MacCentralis Peter Cohen. Rosetta doesnit support the Velocity Engine on G4 and G5 chips, which is unfortunate because many Mac game developers utilize it to get more performance out of their titles. Theyill need to figure out a workaround, which could be costly for companies that have released hardware-intensive games.

And even for other applications, the question is still "how well does it actually work," as one analyst told Mr. Takahashi. "Show me the performance." While observers said it seemed to work well during Mr. Jobsi keynote, developers will need to start working with it and releasing their feedback before the true impact of the expected performance hit is known.

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