Friday morning I needed to do some edits to a document I had been working on for work. This was a Microsoft Word document, so naturally I've been using Office 2004 for things like that on my MacBook. I double clicked the document, and Word started. Then it stopped. Abruptly. I tried to open Word directly and the same thing. I tired launching Excel or PowerPoint -- same thing.
I noticed that there was an update for Office 2004 (11.3.6) available. So I downloaded it and tried to run it. It did the same thing.
At this point I knew that something in that update from Apple had crippled Rosetta. It was the only thing that made sense. I did some research. I found one thing that suggested reinstalling the most recent major update from Apple. So I did that. No luck.
I did some more research, and found that the problem stemmed from the presence of Java 6 Developer Preview on my MacBook. To uninstall that, here's what I did:
sudo lsbom -s -f /Library/Receipts/JavaSE6Release1.pkg/ContentsArchive.bom > /tmp/files
I edited /tmp/files and chagned all the spaces to "\ " (backslash and a space) and then changed ./ to rm /. This changed the bindings file to remove the Java 6 bindings to OSX. So I now I just needed to execute this magic file.
sudo bash /tmp/files
Now I could delete Java 6.
rm -r /Library/receipts/JavaSE6Release1.pkg
Now I could rebind Java to OSX.
I actually deleted Java 5 (rm /Library/Receipts/JavaForMacOSX10.4Release5.pkg) also, and then re-installed it, but I probably didn't have to do that last step. Rosetta and thus Office were now back!