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Author Topic: Snow Leopard and Lion: Best of both worlds...  (Read 2510 times)
daviator
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« on: August 15, 2011, 12:51:16 PM »

I posted several weeks ago about my dilemma: I really wanted to upgrade to Lion, but I have nearly 25 years of data invested in Quicken 2007, which runs under Snow Leopard courtesy of Apple's Rosetta translation layer, a feature which has been eliminated from Lion.  I have spend many hours trying out every other financial application for Macintosh that I can find, and I have not found a single application that both has the features I require, and will successfully import my existing data from Quicken.

Even moving to Quicken for Windows and running the Windows version in a virtual machine is not an option, because my data cannot be imported into Quicken for Windows (the Windows version has limitations which prevent certain transactions transactions I have hundreds and hundreds of from being imported.)

So I'm very pleased to have come up with a solution to my dilemma.  It's not perfect, but it will allow me to move to Lion while continuing to use Quicken 2007 until a better solution emerges.  I am now running Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard in a virtual machine using Parallels Desktop (this will also work with VMware Fusion.)  So I can run Lion on my machine, and run Snow Leopard in a virtual machine, and run Quicken under Snow Leopard on that virtual machine.  It works quite well and is not slow.

Due to licensing issues, you can't install the client version of MacOS X under either Parallels or VMware Fusion.  So the trick is that you have to modify a system file on the MacOS installation DVD (or image) to fool the virtualization software into thinking that you are installation MacOS Server (the license for MacOS Server allows it to be virtualized.)  Then you make the same change to the installed OS so that it will launch under Parallels/Fusion.  Finally, a little more work is necessary to ensure that things don't get screwed up when you update Snow Leopard to new revisions. 

If anyone is interested in the details of how to do it, let me know and I'll cobble together a list of places I found information on how to do it.  I'm ecstatic since I was fearing I was stuck in Snow Leopard indefinitely.  Now I hope that someone will come out with a full-featured financial app (or that one of the existing apps will evolve to do the things that Quicken does) so I don't have to use this fairly elegant kludge forever.

Intuit sucks, by the way, and I'd leave them behind in a heartbeat if I could find an alternative that worked for me.
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perkiset
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« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2011, 03:05:25 PM »

First, well done DV8R and yes, I'd like complete details. I am most interested to see if I can do it in VMWare and then run from an ESXi box, but I think Nutballs has doubts that we can do it.

Second, totally agree that Intuit is just a steaming pile of dung, but they are about the only game in town. My personal solution is Quickbooks rather than Quicken. and most recently I converted from Quickbooks for Mac to QB for Windows and am running it on a virtual desktop in my cloud, so that I can do my accounting on the iPad.

Quicken has said that there'll be no update for Lion. It's like they have always hated the Mac. They piss me off regularly with their ridiculous levels of advertising, control, licensing, "we'll build that ultra critical feature someday, but don't you like our pretty new ways to charge you?" attitude and even the way that the two versions of QB (Mac and PC) have vastly different capabilities, bugs and even methodologies. Oh, and the fact that they don't use a standardized file format so that it can be accessed from either OS without having to do a backup and restore. Or the fact that their backup and restore fails me on both systems probably a solid 15% of the time.

HATE THEM.
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2011, 10:09:48 AM »

Quicken has been a load of crap for 25 years.  There are bugs in Quicken 2007 that have been there for more than 10 years, through succeeding paid releases of the software, without being fixed.  Intuit got their start with products for the Mac, yet they always treated it as the bastard stepchild.  It was always inconceivable to me that their Mac and PC software shared neither capabilities nor a common file format.  In fact, for years, if you wanted to convert Quicken for Mac data to the PC (or vice-versa) the only option was a paid service where you paid them something like $200 for the privilege of migrating your data.  (Would that it were even POSSIBLE to migrate mine.)

The fact that they failed to adapt Quicken for the Intel CPU architecture despite having years and years to do so... well, they are completely undeserving of our business.  Even QuickBooks (which I, too, use for different financial stuff) was orphaned and then resurrected a few years later.  And all this time, Intuit CEO Bill Campbell sits on Apple's board of directors.  It's a travesty.

Anyway...  I gleaned info on getting Snow Leopard to run under Parallels/VMware from a variety of sites, but the basic info here: http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=20081031054054546  is probably as good a synopsis as you'll find.  It talks about Tiger, but the same technique works for SL.  Here's another very useful post:  http://blog.rectalogic.com/2008/08/virtualizing-mac-os-x-leopard-client.html

I found that, inexplicably, after modifying a disk image of the SL Installer DVD, I couldn't boot the Virtual Machine using that virtual image (Parallels would always complain that it wasn't OS X Server.)  So I burned that same image to a DVD and then set Parallels to boot from the DVD drive, and then the SL Installer booted up just fine.  Not sure why it wouldn't boot from the image, but this may save you some frustration.

Make sure that immediately after installation, you go and fix the ServerVersion.plist file on the virtual HDD.  I found that I had to do it BEFORE I left the installer (when the installation finishes, DON'T click to continue; instead go up and choose Terminal from the menu and go fix that file, or you won't be able to boot.)  It should be possible to fix the file from the host OS by mounting the virtual HDD and accessing its system files, but I couldn't get Parallels to mount the client drive.  This is an important step, I ended up having to install SL three separate times before I got it right.

Good luck!
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perkiset
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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2011, 02:04:43 PM »

Great steps D, I'm gonna give it all a try.

Cheers mate
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