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Snow Leopard Security Update breaks Rosetta support

updated 11:10 am EST, Fri February 3, 2012

Apple said to be aware of problems

The separate Security Update 2012-001 download for Snow Leopard users is breaking apps that depend on Rosetta, according to complaints. Rosetta allows PowerPC-based apps to operate within Snow Leopard. Programs such as Eudora 6, Acrobat Pro 7, Quicken 2007, and Office 2004 will reportedly crash, freeze, or exhibit other unexpected behavior, such as failing to print documents.

Apple is said to be aware of the issue, but there is no timeline on a patch. People who need apps working earlier have two options, the most extreme of these being reinstalling Snow Leopard and updating to v10.6.8 while rejecting Security Update 2012-001. An unofficial app called RosettaFix may solve some problems by replacing files updated by 2012-001 with previous versions, but glitches persist in apps like Eudora 6, Acrobat 7, Photoshop CS2, and AppleWorks 6.

Apple has gradually drifted away from PowerPC support. Leopard was the last version of OS X to run on Macs with PowerPC chips, and in Snow Leopard, Rosetta was left out of default installations. Lion has no support for PowerPC apps whatsoever.

by MacNN Staff



  1. elroth

    Joined: Dec 1969


    it's true

    Some Word 2004 and Excel 2004 documents won't even open. Printing doesn't seem to work in any Rosetta app now.

    The supposed fix mentioned above doesn't work ether.

    So it looks like I'll have to waste several hours reinstalling Snow Leopard and its updates. Bollocks!

  1. Jemster

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oh My Gawd

    What the h*** happened to Apple's QA department? I'm only stuck on Snow Leopard because they pulled Rosetta support in Lion and I have music hardware that only has PPC applications available for it. Now I've got a system re-install to get through this weekend. Great.

    This is on top of the ongoing optical out "unplug cable, plug cable back in" problem that happened since about 10.6.8 and is still present at least 6 months later and apparently is even in Lion. It's a far cry from "It Just Works" these days.

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    system restore

    aka windows XP is a feature I've requested many times from Apple to no avail...

  1. phillymjs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Am I the only guy who backs up...

    ...immediately before installing any updates?

    Come on, guys. If you can't afford downtime, you should be cloning your boot drive immediately before installing any updates. Even Time Machine can even do bare-metal restores if you need it to, so you should at least run one last TM backup before updating.

    While I'm with you in your unhappiness that Apple's QA is slipping, there's no excuse for you being unprepared to easily revert your machine to a pre-update state if something gets broken by an update.

  1. DewD

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    For all you conspiracy theorists out there...if Apple wanted to finally kill off all PPC / Rosetta support and put us all on a forced march to the Lion's Den ans iOS against our will , this would be the best way to do it.

    This is a very serious issue , and reveals that Apple has gotten sloppy , or ...? All of my personal correspondence and business docs are in AppleWorks. I used Acrobat Pro 7 , Quark 6.5 , the entire Macromedia Design suite 2004X of Freehand, Flash , and Dreamweaver among other PPC apps. They all worked yesterday morning. today ? Zombies. I realize it's all old stuff, but so is my 30 year old Volvo 245 which I also do not want to orphan... because in this economy it makes sense to stay with what works and is paid for. I have absolutely no use for Lion . In fact , I consider it an Apple failure, like Vista or Windows 98 was for MS.

    I want to see a MAC operating system ( not a phone or tablet-centric OS ) that orphans nothing but adds new functionality to the base. This means Rosetta stays, Java gets more than a cursory implementation , Carbon hangs around , etc etc etc. In other words, an Apple OS that has as much or more backwards compatibility as Windows.

    Name it Gryphon, after the mythical creature that was half Lion and half Eagle.

    Apple has better get us a replacement Security Update that fixes this botched SU 2012-001 in a very timely fashion . Like today.

  1. thedude

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Well at least x-11 works

    I agree this is BS. I have a bunch of work in PS and like others have posted I don't have a machine that can run lion and even if I did, Rosetta not working is a non starter for me. I can't currently afford to up date all my PPC apps. Specifically PS. I do a lot of work with Inkscape and it has been my go to app for ad copy for about 4 years now. So this program still works because it runs under x-11. But no PS is really pissing me off. Come on Apple get with it. Lots of people are not updated not because of their hardware..... Rosetta = work.

  1. bdmarsh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Single API call in one framework at fault

    ImageIO.framework in the main System directory is the cause of the PowerPC programs not being able to open/save/print. If it is replaced with the same framework from a 10.6.8 mac that hasn't run the Security Update yet, (and then repair permissions & reboot) things work normally again.
    Apples eventual updated Security Update will do something similar, but with also the proper security fixes in place.

  1. resonator

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Photoshop CS2 & Dreamweaver 8 won't save - crashes

    After the security update I noticed Photoshop CS2 won't save and will repeatedly crash when trying to save a document. Dreamweaver 8 is crashing upon inserting an image into a document. I do hope Apple releases a fix for this very soon.

  1. nowayoutofmymind

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wasn't that always the case?

    "crash, freeze, or exhibit other unexpected behavior" and Microsoft Word... that was always the case, no?

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