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Rosetta is a translation process that runs a PowerPC binary on an Intel-based Macintosh computer—it allows applications to run as nonnative binaries. Many, but not all, applications can run translated. Applications that run translated will never run as fast as they run as a native binary because the translation process itself incurs a processing cost.

How compatible your application is with Rosetta depends on the type of application it is. An application such as a word processor that has a lot of user interaction and low computational needs is quite compatible. An application that requires a moderate amount of user interaction and has some high computational needs or that uses OpenGL is most likely also quite compatible. One that has intense computing needs isn’t compatible. This includes applications that need to repeatedly compute fast Fourier transforms (FFTs), that compute complex models for 3-D modeling, or that compute ray tracing.

To the user, Rosetta is transparent. Unlike Classic, when the user launches an application, there aren’t any visual cues to indicate that the application is translated. The user may perceive that the application is slow to start up or that the performance is slower than it is on a PowerPC-based Macintosh. The user can discover whether an application has only a PowerPC binary by looking at the Finder information for the application. (See “Determining Whether a Binary Is Universal”.)

This appendix discusses the sorts of applications that can run translated, describes how Rosetta works, points out special considerations for translated applications, shows how to force an application to run translated using Rosetta, describes how to programmatically detect whether an application is running nonnatively, and provides troubleshooting information if your application won’t run translated but you think that it should.


What Can Be Translated?
How It Works
Special Considerations
Forcing an Application to Run Translated
Preventing an Application from Opening Using Rosetta
Programmatically Detecting a Translated Application

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Last updated: 2006-07-24

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