I read this morning that Bloomberg reports that Apple is debating switching processor architecture from Intel to ARM in future Macintosh computers:
I really hope they don’t. You see, any time a computing platform undergoes a switch like this, vast surface areas of tools that people use all the time will stop working. I recently wrote about unplugging an old computer of mine from the network so it will continue to work with my samplers. Moving to ARM would mean I probably have to do that to my main machine, too.
Last time Apple did this, they supplied the Rosetta feature to ease the transition from PowerPC architecture to Intel. That worked fine for a while, even though translation of one instruction set to another rendered those older programs a little slower. But alas this would not last forever, as eventually Apple threw away Rosetta and old programs sadly would no longer run on the new versions of their operating system.
I’m no vehement open-source advocate, but this is one instance where open-source shines. If a new architecture comes along and people are enthusiastic about their old tools, some willpower and programming elbow grease can bring those old programs back to life. But how many abandoned software tools are open-source? Almost none. Consumers lose.Posted: November 6th, 2012 | Tags: apple, computing, software | 1 Comment »