When Lion comes out shortly it will not allow you to run any applications that were created for PowerPC. But how do you know which applications are PowerPC?
An article on Macworld.com by Chris Breen provides instructions on how to figure out which applications won’t run once you upgrade to Lion. You run the System Profiler (which can be found in the Applications>Utilities folder) and sort by Kind. Anything listed as PowerPC won’t run in Lion. (And anything listed as Classic won’t run in Snow Leopard or Lion.)
I did this on my iMac and found quite a lot of applications that will no longer run once I go to Lion. Luckily almost all of them are things I no longer use, including an old version of Yahoo Messenger, Internet Explorer, and an old version of Quicken. And for the items I do use, there are either newer versions that will work in Lion, or alternate programs that do the same thing.
Now I’ve done my homework and know I can upgrade to Lion without losing any important applications. However I’ll still wait a week or two after the Lion update comes out before I upgrade–just in case of any serious software bugs.