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A Fix for Some PPC Apps in Lion

By now it’s well known that Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) has removed support for PPC apps. Snow Leopard’s much-touted—and, in my experience, highly reliable—“Rosetta” translation layer has been removed from the OS, rendering many legacy applications (ones which were never recompiled for Intel chip) inoperable.

For the most part, this hasn’t been a terrible inconvenience—Apple moved from PPC to Intel architectures five years ago, already, and most programs are now Intel-only or Universal binaries. Unfortunately, some developers never seemed to care about making the transition. At work, two important programs, Sirsi-Dynix Workflows and ARTstor’s Offline Image Viewer, despite being current and regularly-updated programs, are still PPC only. Fortunately, however, a little sniffing around turned up a simple way to fix them, as well as other similar programs.

As it turns out, these two programs are Java applications with a Mac OS wrapper. The only component of these apps that is compiled specifically for PPC is the “JavaApplicationStub” that they’re bundled with. This can easily be replaced with a newer, Intel-compatible version, thereby fixing the application in the following manner:

  1. Right-Click (or Control-Click) on the application icon in question, and choose “Show Package Contents.”
  2. Open the Contents/MacOS folder, and verify that there’s a “JavaApplicationStub” file there. If there isn’t, you’re out of luck.
  3. Trash the JavaApplicationStub file.
  4. Open a second Finder window to /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Resources/MacOS.
  5. Copy the JavaApplicationStub file from the System and paste it in place of the one that you trashed from the application.
That’s it! Easy, right?
Update: I figured that I should also post this hint to macosxhints.com, but when I got there I found that I’d been scooped.

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