Friday, July 8, 2011 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Quicken’s Compatibility With Lion

Matt Henderson:

You see, it’s not our fault. It’s that blasted Apple! They’re pulling Rosetta right out from under us, just like they did with the floppy drive! Nearly a decade just wasn’t enough time to get our software updated. So blame them!

It’s really more like 5–6 years, but the point stands. Of course, Intuit is not the only company to replace an important work product with a new one that’s missing features and can’t read the old file format. For personal financial software, I recommend MoneyWell. For video, at least Apple is throwing Final Cut Pro 7 users a bone in the form of Lion compatibility.


Now, I'm not going to stand in the way of people wanting to call Quicken, and their apparent habit of releasing PowerPC Mac software two years after they stopped selling the things, despicable.

But: If the Mac OS X installer doesn't search your disk for PowerPC applications and saying "THESE THINGS WILL BE ABOUT AS FUNCTIONAL AS CARDBOARD CUTOUTS OF THEIR APP ICONS, ABORT/CONTINUE", it's a worse shame by far. Some people are actually still using, say, Office 2004, and won't like that breaking. Which reminds me, I should give my uncle a call and warn him.

@Jesper Agreed. The Lion upgrade is irreversible for normal users, so the installer really should warn about the consequences. Plus, even if you know how to restore from a Snow Leopard backup, what are you supposed to do if you’ve been using the Lion system for a while (creating files, and such) before you notice a Rosetta showstopper?

Joshua Ochs

Agreed, and I don't believe there is any such BIG RED FLASHING warning in the Lion installer. And there should be. It would be even better if it ran a quick scan of the disk ala System Profiler and showed a list of "things that will no longer work". However, we have yet to see what the App Store page for it will look like (and for all intents and purposes that *is* the installer), so perhaps Apple will yet address this.

Power users and developers will likely be pretty up-to-date, so their testing thus far probably hasn't hit many PPC snags. "Normal" users, on the other hand, may really get pinched by this.

(Also, doesn't Quicken Essentials import your old data? It may not use the same file format, but if it imports it all correctly, I couldn't care less how they store it on disk. It's not quite as bad as the FCX fiasco.)

Joshua Ochs

I wonder - with Apple relaxing its virtualization restrictions in the Mac OS X license for Lion, would it be possible to run Snow Leopard (and thus Rosetta) in virtualization? Yeah, it's a wretched "solution", but it may be better than anything Intuit has to offer.

@Joshua I believe Quicken Essentials imports the old data that matches up with the new features (which is better than Final Cut Pro X), but much of the data is effectively lost because of the features that are missing. By the way, here’s the official Intuit page.

Apple’s new VM policy seems to be for Lion and later, so my guess is “No.”

Another point: as far as I’m aware, Apple gave no warning about the timeframe when Rosetta would be retired and, even now, has not officially acknowledged that it isn’t in Lion.

I remember buying a brand new indie Mac game in 2003, which required Classic to run. Two years after Mac OS X 10.0 was released, and they couldn't even bother to Carbonize it. And it's not like they didn't know about OS X; it actually listed "OS-X Classic" on the back as a supported platform.

Good times.

@Joshua as I learned when investigating The Quicken Situation for some family, Quicken Essentials will convert your data via an add-on program that reads the old format and spits out a data file in the new format. You the import the new format file into Quicken Essentials.

In a move that I find infuriating, the conversion tool is still a PowerPC only app. So, if you upgrade to Lion before buying Quicken Essentials, you're kinda screwed. I'm rather disgusted that Intuit would ship this solution and call it ready for Lion. My guess is they decided format paring code over to Intel wasn't worth it. I don't have the link anymore, but they pointed me to a support doc that said this was as designed when I complained about it.

Yeah, there's no way that'll cause people any problems down the road...

"Apple’s new VM policy seems to be for Lion and later, so my guess is “No."

It's funny. Apple could let folks run legacy PPC apps by just changing the terms of the EULA on Snow Leopard client, thus letting demanding customers run Snow Leopard in a VM. It would solve the legacy PPC problem at zero cost to Apple, shifting the legacy cost to the customer who'd have to acquire VM software.

It's a solution that would work well for everyone, assuming Apple wanted to let folks run legacy PPC apps. But I don't think Apple wants that.

I bit the bullet and had a flawless move from Quicken 2007 to iBank, SEE Finance, and Moneywell today. I played with all them for several hours, doing all of the things that I usually do during the year (investment performance, downloading transactions, categorizing for tax returns,etc...). I've been a Quicken user for over ten years, and have become extremely accustomed to doing this with it. It may not be my favorite program (I really hate it, actually), but I'm as fluid as anyone with it, I think. Looking at these other programs:

Moneywell doesn't do investment accounts, which is a deal-breaker, so that is eliminated.

iBank and SEE Finances imported 10+ years of financial data from a variety of account types with no errors, however. I'm leaning toward iBank over SEE Finance because it feels more fluid, intuitive, and Mac-like, but given how robust and full-featured both are, I could really go either way.

Quicken Essentials is not an option for me for two reasons. First, no investment accounts. Second, no export capability. Without this, what would I do if Intuit dropped support for QE, too?

E.g., Moneywell is supposedly getting investment accounts down the road. What if I wanted to try that down the road? With QE I'd be stuck.

So anyhow, I think I'm going with iBank for now, but it's nice to know that there are good options that are not Quicken.

@Joshua: The big problem with the App Store listing page for Lion is that people who do read it will generally not know what a PowerPC is or what their apps have to do with it. And that's the people who read it; most won't.

That's why making it crystal clear means scanning the system, putting up a list and say these things will simply not work. For anything else, Apple expects their users to essentially do research. There will probably be a shitstorm, which means there will probably be a class action lawsuit (hello, USA), and in that lawsuit you could very easily make the argument that removal of important supporting features should be telegraphed in significantly larger type, or avoided.

SEE Finance all the way. Although iBank feels more Mac-like, SEE Finance just does more. In fact, it's the only Mac software that I found which could handle the intricacies of my regular finances. Yes, it could use some work with the UI, but feature-wise it's already there.

Lion broke about **half** of what I use my iMac for. For some SW there is an upgrade to work on Lion and I wouldn't mind paying for a few upgrades if that was all it was. However for others there aren't upgrades and never will be. Possibly I might even need to by new scanner hardware to get back to where I was with Snow Leopard.

I don't recall seeing any warning in the installer. The Apple web site is so devoid of references to Rosetta it must have been scrubbed.

This is disappointing to me because I've done every upgrade, and even upgraded Mac HW, over the last ten years and never had anything but tiny little things go wrong. In general it was incredibly smooth and impressive in the past.

I had great trust in Apple that has built up over many years of very successful upgrades. I hope they'll right this one. In the mean time I'm going back to Snow Leopard.

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