Run virtualized Snow Leopard and Rosetta on Lion?

Run virtualized Snow Leopard and Rosetta on Lion?

Summary: Some Lion users miss their older Rosetta-dependent applications, which didn't make the cut in the latest Apple OS upgrade. However, a recent tip says that with a little effort — a download or two — it is possible to run Snow Leopard, the Rosetta Power-PC emulation libraries, and your older apps on a Lion machine.

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Some Lion users miss their older, Rosetta-dependent applications, which didn't make the cut in the latest Apple OS upgrade. However, a recent tip says that with a little effort — a download or two — it is possible to run Snow Leopard, the Rosetta Power-PC emulation libraries, and your older apps on a Lion machine.

In a recent post on Macintouch, reader Brad Kopernicus described the "simple" process. Using the VirtualBox 4.1 x86 virtualization software, he created a Snow Leopard installation on a Snow Leopard machine, and then made a virtual machine with no OS on his new  2011 Mac mini. With a bit of fiddling, he was able to get the Snow Leopard virtual machine running on the Lion system.

He then loaded applications into the VM and it worked, including Rosetta.

When I installed my first PPC program, the virtual machine downloaded and installed Rosetta. Then it let me install my PPC program -- it runs. Next I installed Appleworks 6.2.4, and that works, too. The Appleworks 6.2.9 smi updater does not mount, but I haven't tried anything other than a simple double click on that yet. I haven't done a lot of testing of my applications, but so far everything I tried has worked.

I am answering my question from August 1. I spent many many hours trying various approaches, but this way was fairly simple. I am very pleased to announce that it is possible to run Snow Leopard as a VirtualBox guest on the new 2011 Mini host running Lion, and the PPC applications work in Snow Leopard.

Topics: Emerging Tech, Hardware, Virtualization

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13 comments
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  • RE: Run virtualized Snow Leopard and Rosetta on Lion?

    You can do the same exact thing with VirtualBox on a Windows/Linux PC, but my question is is it legal even on a Mac machine?
    statuskwo5
    • I believe it is but not with the client version of OS X

      @statuskwo5 <br>I believe that only OS X Server can legally be run inside a virtual machine.
      toddybottom
      • RE: Run virtualized Snow Leopard and Rosetta on Lion?

        @toddybottom
        You are quoting an old price. Lion Server is less.

        Also Lion licensees may be able to run Lion virtually on Apple hardware.

        Unfortunately, I'm not where I can verify this and cite sources, but this is what I believe I heard from reputable reporters at the time Lion launched.
        DannyO_0x98
      • Thanks, I edited my post

        Since Apple killed the xserve, it is obvious they have no interest in the server market and are practically giving away server, probably to hurt MS.

        It really shouldn't be so hard to figure out whether I'm legally allowed to do something with software I have licensed from a company as big as Apple. I too tried to find something more recent regarding Apple's virtualization policy and could not. I'll be the first to admit that the info I found was quite old.
        toddybottom
  • The biggest company in the world ...

    is jerking around legitimate, paying clients who need to do something important to them with hardware & software they own. Honestly, the only word I can think of is <strong>arrogance</strong>.

    If this gigantic company really wants enterprise (and SMB) customers, they had better be more clear. You have to wonder... is Steve Jobs as arrogant as this makes him look?
    ClearCreek
    • RE: Run virtualized Snow Leopard and Rosetta on Lion?

      @ClearCreek I'm really unclear on what your post has to do with the issue David wrote about. Firstly, Apple has never been all that interested in "enterprise" customers. They have toyed with it off and on, from AUX to OS X and various hardware configurations including the discontinued X Serve hardware. Most of Apple's push in serving has been directed at SMB clients and in that realm they've done pretty well. It doesn't take a main frame to serve an SMB client and if their needs are that great, they should probably be moving away from Apple's 'roll your own' serving philosophy.
      Finally, ad hominem attacks are seldom fruitful or ever needed. Steve Jobs is CEO of Apple and as such owes his efforts to his stockholders, not you. The extent Apple 'owes' any customer anything is what the client pays for nothing more. If the client doesn't like Apple's directions or corporate policies, they do not have to purchase Apple products. On the other hand, SMB clients of mine have been thrilled with OS X Server and the fact that they don't have to pay for each seat and it will run on most any hardware Apple makes.
      dheady
  • RE: Run virtualized Snow Leopard and Rosetta on Lion?

    Nice work around David. I'm wondering if installing any version of OS X has gotten easier as the old Intel BIOS chipset has been migrating to the newer EFI boot? That said, as long as you're not a business I'm pretty sure Apple's not going to send the software police out to your home. Apple, unlike another OS company, has traditionally promoted the honor system rather than tedious 87 character serials and keys and 'must contact the Mothership' before you can use this because you're obviously stealing from Bill's wallet approach.
    I would actually liked to have read a bit more on the details of how to set up the SL VM. Otherwise, nice article David.
    dheady
  • RE: Run virtualized Snow Leopard and Rosetta on Lion?

    I picked up a copy of OS X Snow Leopard Server on eBay and it works fine in Parallels Desktop, except I can't figure out how to increase the resolution above 1024x768. That said, it will be enough to fire up old Rosetta applications (such as some old scanned archives that I found while going through a storage closet) until I can figure out whether there's anything useful.
    KPOM1
  • RE: Run virtualized Snow Leopard and Rosetta on Lion?

    We've just figured out how to run Lion within Snow Leopard using Parallels. There are two methods, actually, both are on our blog with detailed instructions.

    The first one requires a Snow Leopard Server install disk:
    http://www.ivanexpert.com/blog/2011/08/snow-leopard-as-a-parallelsvmwarevirtualbox-guest-os/

    The second doesn't require the Snow Leopard Server installer but it does require having a Mac that natively supports Snow Leopard:
    http://www.ivanexpert.com/blog/2011/08/snow-leopard-as-guest-in-a-virtual-machine-part-two/

    Hope this is useful to somebody out there.
    caroline12
  • RE: Run virtualized Snow Leopard and Rosetta on Lion?

    I am just going to stick to Snow Leopard and Rosetta. I expect to get 10 years out of my hardware and software. For the money I have spent on this unit that is what the product life span should be. Jobs is going to be dead soon anyway (pancreatic cancer is pancreatic cancer)...Maybe his successor will wise up and find a way to adapt Rosetta to Lion.
    SeenItBefore
  • RE: Run virtualized Snow Leopard and Rosetta on Lion?

    I got Snow Leopard up and running in a Fusion 4 virtual machine. But I can't get any Rosetta apps to launch on it. Yes, I installed Rosetta, and yep, I checked to be sure it's running.

    MS Office 2004 apps (Word, Excel, etc.) display as "Unix Executable" files. Quicken 2006 displays the package contents in a folder, rather than displaying an app icon. None is launchable.

    Does anyone have a solution for this? I've seen two other posts about this on blogs, and no one seems to have an answer...yet I imagine it's a fairly common problem.

    Many thanks for any ubergeek attention this gets! :-)
    Lutepisc
    • RE: Run virtualized Snow Leopard and Rosetta on Lion?

      @Lutepisc Okay...here's the answer to my own question. Both Quicken and MS Office have *installers* which require Rosetta. Evidently just copying the apps themselves (or using the apps on your host OS via file sharing from your guest SL OS) isn't enough. So I dug out my old Quicken install disk, installed it on my SL guest, and Voila! It works.

      Then I copied over my Quicken data files from host to guest, and I'm all up to date and good to go.

      I couldn't find my old MS Office install disk, so it looks like I'll be saying goodbye to Office. Bon voyage, Office!
      Lutepisc
  • Installing Snow Leopard (and Rosetta) into Parallels 7 in Lion

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=14799174#post14799174
    MichaelLAX