Stripping PowerPC Code: Be Very Careful

This was posted during a discussion of stripping PowerPC (a.k.a. PPC native) code from the System Folder for use on 680×0-based Macs.

“Okay, I DID IT! I started without extensions, opened the program, selected the option to strip non-68K code, both forks. I did the scan on only the System folder. Here’s the results:”

File . . . System file . . . not the whole folder . . . (hooboy – now you have preferences to reset . . . hooboy)

It may just be safer to reinstall Mac OS 8.1 at this point. You deleted too much PPC code too quickly. (I feel lightheaded – so does your system software)

“1. A message window informed me that neither the Appearance control panel or the System file could be modified (or something like that) as both were already open. Huh? Was I supposed to start from a floppy or CD?”

Um, yep. You have to make a copy of the System file first, apply the changes, drag the old System file to the Trash, rename the copy to System, and then reboot. This way, if you notice any sudden feature changes, you can use the System file in the Trash to replace the patched System file in the System Folder and go back to normal. This way you can yell at me and tell me how it doesn’t work, and still have your system software intact. *grin*

“2. Can this be possible?: I appear to have picked up about 40 MB of hard disk space!”

Very easily – PPC code is usually twice the size of comparable 68k code. But remember, you stripped everything – document headers, the desktop folder’s special directory header (guess where your CMM went . . . ), preference files, etc. It’s not that you damaged anything, you simply screwed up certain files that self verified with checksums, failed, and then disabled themselves.

The System file does not do this, and most extensions don’t either, but preference files and hidden files often do. I can just sense where things have blown apart.

“3. Everything did not exactly ‘go to heck’, other than the disappearance of of two treasured items:

“A. The cute (and very handy!) little pull down menus from each icon (the ones new with OS 8) ARE GONE! The window ‘tabbing’ feature still works, however.”

I think I mentioned this above . . . just rerun the Mac OS 8.1 updater again (it will allow you to run it). It will replace all the bad pieces and reset the values. And go easy this time . . . *grin* PowerPCheck is a scalpel, not a chain saw.

“B. The cute little icon of my venerable LaserWriter Plus which showed up with the 8.1 upgrade has reverted to the generic printer I was seeing back in the 7.5’s somewhere, the one with ‘& &’ on it.”

Yep, I can bet that happened. You wiped some lib files that are headed with Joy! simply for marker stops, but PowerPCheck hasn’t been updated to ignore lib files yet.

“C. I bet there’s more . . . (theme from Psycho shower scene in background . . .)”

Yep, there’s more, and it’s all nit picky stuff that will seem like quirks in the system – but a re-update to 8.1 will solve it. You’ll probably want to dump most of your system preference files from the Preferences folder: Finder, Display, Sound, Monitors & Sound, Embedded, ASLM, AppleShare, etc. – anything that won’t require you to start digging for registration codes (deleting Virtual PC Preferences would be a little obvious – you wouldn’t mistake that for a system preference, would you?).

I love it when people go along with the gag . . . relax . . . you’ll get your stuff back . . . just take things slower in the future . . . one file at a time. The big mistake was dropping the System Folder and not the System file. Bet you won’t make that mistake again. (Hell, I did it once in the beginning and had some interesting losses as well – I was running System 7.5.1 at the time, and merging the 7.5 update file into the System file to do it.)

Oh, and an important thing when using advanced user techniques (I never realized I had to make a distinction, but here goes): Programmers don’t often follow the Apple Human Interface Guidelines very well, and the “Joy!” code has been used improperly in certain extensions and packages. This is why I’m saying to try the files one at a time to gain your own knowledge. For 68k machines, PPC code is a cancerous tumor floating around on different organs. PowerPCheck can be used to remove the tumors, but dropping the entire System Folder on PowerPCheck is like cutting off the arms and legs, hoping the tumors are contained within.

Scott L. Barber <>
Pres/CEO, SERKER Worldwide, Inc.
Providing Hardware/Networking/Telecomm for 13 years

Scott L. Barber first posted this to Quadlist, the listserv for users of 68040-based Macs. It is reprinted with his permission.


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