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Gone in OS X Lion: Rosetta, Java Runtime, Flash, Samba, Front Row

26 April 2011 45,507 views No Comment

So, far the Fairer Platform has expended a fair number of bits talking about what’s new in Apple’s upcoming Mac operating system rewrite. However, a number of features not only won’t be updated, they’re being dropped entirely.

In Can my Mac run OS X Lion?, we mentioned that you need a Mac with an Intel Core 2 Duo or better processor (i.e. 64-bit). Macs not supported include Core Solo and Core Duo, not to mention every single PowerPC based model ever made.

Thereupon, Apple’s concluding the transition from PPC to Intel with the release of Lion — Rosetta, Apple’s PowerPC software compatibility layer which originally shipped with OS X 10.5 Leopard, is being dropped. Universal binaries should by all rights be Lion compatible, though I haven’t found a direct statement to that effect from Apple.

The loss of Rosetta could cost some users a fair bit of coin, i.e. Office 2004 and older Photoshop installations that can’t be transferred to new hardware. Thereupon, a vocal few will likely bitterly lament its passing.


The next two features won’t ship with OS X Lion — Adobe Flash and the Java Runtime Environment (JRE). That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to use them anymore.

That is, Apple stopped shipping Flash as part of the default OS installation with the Late 2010 MacBook Air and Early 2011 MacBook Pro. Users wanting to use Flash have had to download it themselves.

So far, this has been a non-issue and, with the increasing use of HTML5 delivered video, Flash’s relevance will continue to wane.

Similarly, Apple will stop shipping Java as part of OS X with the advent Lion. Users will still be able to download and use it, but it won’t be part of the default operating system install — a nonevent followed by a non-issue.

Death by GPL3 (and time)

Server Message Block functionality has been a part of OS X since Jaguar (10.2) days and allows Macs to share files, servers, network accounts, etc. with their Windows cousins.

Well, Samba is the open source software Apple used to implement those features. However, Samba developers have moved it to the GPL3 license, which makes it just about impossible to use commercially — killing off tens of millions of Mac users doesn’t seem a very effective way to advance the “open source” cause.

However, Apple is developing SMB functionality of its own and that’s expected to arrive in Lion.

Last and perhaps least of all the features getting pared back or outright killed is Front Row, Apple’s soon to be erstwhile media center software for the Mac. This app appeared on the first iSight-equipped iMac G5s back in 2005 and, for the unfamiliar, provides an alternative interface for displaying photos, movies, downloaded TV episodes and listening to music.

Front Row hasn’t been significantly updated since 2008. Thereupon, it wouldn’t surprise me if more than a few of you had never heard of let alone used Front Row.

Running OS X Lion and found stuff missing? Sound off in the comments below…

See also:
Can my Mac run OS X Lion
New in OS X Lion: QuickTime 10.1
New in OS X Lion: TextEdit
New in OS X Lion: About This Mac
New in OS X Lion: Preview 5.5
New in OS X Lion: Mail 5
Mac OS X Lion icons are bigguns

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