Skip the navigation

Snow Leopard users: Just try to pry this from my cold, dead hands

Mac owners respond with reasons why they won't ditch the three-year-old OS X 10.6, even as Apple accelerates upgrades

November 7, 2012 03:57 PM ET

Computerworld - Mac owners still running 2009's OS X 10.6 are not about to give up on the operating system, making arguments strikingly similar to those trotted out by diehard Windows XP users.

A news story Monday that cited statistics from Web metrics company Net Applications on OS X usage struck a nerve, and resulted in a cascade of comments and email.

Many declared that they would not abandon Snow Leopard, the OS that launched in August 2009, because it was the last from Apple that let users run PowerPC applications, even though the operating system itself runs only on Intel-based Macs.

"I would love to have some of the new enhancements in Mountain Lion, but I have lots of software that I still use, and want to continue to use, that is PowerPC only," reader James Frederick said in an email. "That will all die if I 'upgrade.' Because of this, I will not do so."

Snow Leopard doesn't install Rosetta, the translation utility that allows PowerPC software to run on Intel-powered Macs, by default, but users could select it to be installed. It also automatically installs when a user launches a PowerPC program.

Apple ditched the PowerPC processor in early 2006 when it began shipping its first Intel Macs. At the time, OS X 10.4, or Tiger, was the Mac's operating system. OS X 10.5, aka Leopard, which launched in October 2007, was the last edition that runs on PowerPC hardware.

Others echoed Frederick, noting that neither 2011's Lion or 2012's Mountain Lion support Rosetta.

"I'm running with new peripherals whose drivers depend on Rosetta to work, and there's no suitable replacement for Mountain Lion," said Chris Gray, also in an email. "I need the hardware. There's more to a Mac than just its own hardware -- there's something called drivers for third-party hardware."

Another thread running through reader commentary was a not-surprising "if it's not broken, don't fix it" attitude, which is as common among long-time users of Windows XP as it is in the Snow Leopard camp.

In many cases, that thinking was tightly tied to complaints about Snow Leopard's successors, OS X 10.7, aka Lion, and OS X 10.8, Mountain Lion.

"I have no urge to upgrade again since I do not want a computer that looks like a tablet/phone. I want a computer that looks like a computer," said "SusanW" in a comment Monday on

"I'm never switching until Apple removes all the kiddie toy iOS 'features' and changes of Lion," echoed "xbj" in another comment. "The last thing I need is my desktop workstation mimicking a toy walkie-talkie (iPhone) or Etch-a-Sketch (IPad)."

Our Commenting Policies