UNIX under the Desktop

A penguin's-eye look at Apple's OS X.

When Steve Jobs introduced Apple's new iMac in January 2002, the spotlight was focused entirely on the physical architecture of the first mainstream computer that fully defied the term “box”. The new iMac is a white dome with a flat screen that floats on the end of a chrome arm. It looks like a cross between a Luxo lamp and a makeup mirror. Jobs called it “the best thing we've ever done”.

Coverage—including a TIME magazine cover story—was all about hardware. Nobody paid attention to Steve Jobs' slickest move of all, which is leveraging UNIX where it counts. Starting in January 2002, every new Mac will ship with OS X as its default operating system. OS X is built on Darwin, an open-source implementation of BSD on a Mach kernel. So now every new Mac is a Trojan horse that arrives with an invisible army of UNIX experts.

Regardless of the technical and religious differences that separate the many breeds of UNIX, expertise at one ports well to another: from Solaris to HP-UX to AIX to Linux to BSD to Darwin and OS X. If you want to hack, the environment is there—so are the tools and the community.

Put another way, OS X gives us the first popular desktop OS that fits into a prevailing Linux environment and also into the prevailing marketplace. On the bottom, it's UNIX. On the top, it runs Microsoft Office and the whole Adobe suite. This has its appeals.

In iDevGames.com, Aaron Hillegass writes:

Tomorrow I will get on a plane. I'll have my PowerBook with me. On that flight, I can write Cocoa apps, PHP-based web sites, Tomcat web applications, AppleScripts or Perl scripts. I can use Project Builder, Emacs or vi. I'll have my choice of MySQL or PostgreSQL to use as a back-end database. I'll use Apache as my web server. And it is all free! If I'm willing to spend a little cash, I can also run Word or Photoshop. I may even watch a DVD on the flight.

The social effects of OS X on the Open Source community were already apparent at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention in July 2001, when slab-like Macintosh G4 Titanium laptops seemed to be everywhere. At one Jabber meeting, four out of the seven attendees tapped away on TiBooks, including Jabber's creator, Jeremie Miller. Terminal windows were scattered across his screen. When we asked what he was doing, he replied, “compiling code while I catch up on some e-mail”.

The growing abundance of OS X fruit on the UNIX tree creates new and interesting market conditions for Linux, along with every other UNIX branch. There are sales projections for six million iMacs alone. Many of these machines will be penetrating markets where Linux has strong incumbent server positions, such as science and education. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was once Apple's biggest customer and might easily reclaim the title. In January 2002, the state of Maine announced its intent to give a new iBook to every teacher and student in the seventh and eighth grades. All those kids will have their own UNIX machines. Consider the implications.

Life among Penguins

Is there a server market for OS X? It's worth noting that OS X Server has existed as a product for more than two years and has never attracted much attention. Also, while every new OS X Mac is ready to perform a variety of server functions, that's not why it sells. IT Manager and Mac columnist John C. Welch calls OS X an “okay server, mostly due to hardware limitations and immaturity”. Meanwhile he says, “Linux is an excellent server. It runs on more and better hardware than Windows can ever dream of, thanks to IBM and Sun.” So OS X is no threat to Linux in the server space. And it's utterly absent from Linux's other home turf, embedded computing.

Where OS X will succeed is in the one category where Linux has struggled for popularity (if not functionality) from the start: on the desktop.

Is this a problem? That was the question at the top of our minds when we visited Macworld in January 2002. To our surprise, the answer was quite the opposite. Not only were plenty of familiar Linux figures walking around kicking tires (approvingly, it appeared), but there were UNIX geeks wearing Sun and SGI schwag as well. One Linux hacker told us OS X was “subversive” because it “seeds” the world with millions of open-source UNIX machines. Another said, “I can go to my Mom's, fire up her iMac, open a shell, ssh to my own server and get some real work done.” So the market logic of Linux and OS X appears to be AND, not OR.

Apple also has attracted some top talent from the open-source ranks. Brian Croll, who runs OS X engineering for Apple, was recruited from Eazel. Jordan Hubbard, the world's foremost BSD hacker (and a founder of FreeBSD), actually pitched his way into a job working on Darwin at Apple. After seeing OS X in preview form, he said “Hallelujah” and “This is what I've been waiting for the past 20 years....I never thought about working for Apple before, and now I was saying, How do I join?”

Working with the Open Source community is still new for Apple, and the relationship has been a challenge to the company's highly proprietary approach to intellectual property. But Apple has compromised on some issues. After hackers barfed on Apple's original public source license, the company issued a new one that the Open Source Initiative soon approved. Shortly after the new license was issued in January 2001, OS X product manager Chris Bourdon summarized it this way: “You can take Darwin and do anything you like. It's there for everybody.”

______________________

Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal

Comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Microsoft

sali's picture

In Iran, Putin Warns Against Military Action:
http://salihome.info/show/index.html

It's a piece of crap

Niscenus's picture

Yet another person fooled by the yellow journalist at The Register. That quote refers to the idea of a micro-kernel, in particular MACH. Anyone who still believes that refers to the whole operating system is deceived and should consider actually reading Just for Fun

Where's Samba? and the missing openssl files?

Anonymous's picture

Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place, but, while the article says Samba is included, I can not find Samba anywhere on my 10.1.3 system. I started out with 10.0.3, upgraded to 10.0.4, and installed (upgraded) to 10.1.3. 1013 has the ability to mount smb shares but that is not Samba. Samba is the sharing of folders/directories with smb. In Linux, smbfs is not part of Samba, but is part of the Linux kernel. It appears to be the same with OSX.

It is possible/probable that Samba comes with OSX Server but the article's comparison chart does not indicate it is comparing OSX Server with Debian. For one thing, the listed cost of OSX is much too cheap to be the OSX Server cost. Hence the comparison must be to OSX (desktop).

So, where is Samba?

And where are the missing pieces of OpenSSL (headers for example)?

Re: Where's Samba? and the missing openssl files?

Anonymous's picture

hope the links will help ;-)

About SAMBA:

http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/networking_security/sambasharingpa...

or try

http://fink.sourceforge.net/pdb/package.php/samba-ssl

Do this last version install using fink...

with fink you can also find openssl

http://fink.sourceforge.net/pdb/package.php/openssl

Lastly, GNU-Darwin provides thousands of unix-word packages for your computer

http://gnu-darwin.sourceforge.net/download.html

Re: UNIX under the Desktop

Anonymous's picture

When I first saw and used Mac OS X I was truly impressed. Finally UNIX with a decent GUI. But after some time I found that MacOS X is far more unstable than Win2000 and certainly extreamly more unstable than my Linux-box.

All linux-distributions comes with a lot more stuff as well. Often good and nice stuff such as php, MySQL etc.

Ofcourse, the old problem of Mac-programs lagging behind their windows cousins in respect to functionality still exists and will probably do so even in the near future. There is still much more to earn by doing a good PC-program than there is to earn by doing a Mac-prog.

The best solution for me is still a Linux-server for housing daemons etc and a windows desktop for desktop apps and developmental tools (for generating for example webpages for Apache on the Linux-server).

MacOS X in nice, but it just doesn't reach the levels of either w2k or Linux in their prime areas.

Another problem is that, althogh nice looking, aqua isn't as good as w2k when it comes to GUI functionality. The dock is a good example. It's about worthless. If you starts a number of terminal windows and close and open them randomly you can't find any given window in the dock without opening just about all of them. Very irritating! Windows taskbar is far better - an open program has a fixed position and you can always find the program at that position. I can't seem to find a nice way to group programs on the dock either...... Another problem with the Mac GUI is that the menu row is fixed on top of the screen. With large screens that means that you have to move the mouse _far_ every time you want to use the mouse for accessing the menus. Futhermore you don't see the menus of other open progs... Some sort of legacy from the first Macs I suppose, but when they rewamp the whole OS they could have fixed those things as well. Letting every window have its own menu-bar just fits better with a multitasking OS...... Some other frusrating things are the change of /home to /Users, the lack of case-sensitivity, the problem if you drag files to a "closed" symlink to a folder.... and so on.

Another frustrating thing is that aqua lacks many of Xwindows functionality....

I hope Apple will release the GUI for other platforms, because as I said, it's the best GUI for Unix. This could be Apples second chance of turning the whole industry.. They missed their last chance - if they had released MacOS for IBM PC back in 1985 they had probably been the largest software company on earth, but they didn't. I suppose they will do the same misstake this time, and think that PC users will by macs....

I don't expect them to release the GUI for other platforms - but I hope.

After all, even BeOS was released for the PC. And if they release aqua for PCs, you will get UNIX with all it's bells and whistles AND a nice GUI with existing programs and not only promisses. That, I can promisse, will be a hit. I for one would certainly by it.

Re: UNIX under the Desktop

Anonymous's picture

After reading this article I am adding an iMac to my wish list. As a short term fix, I eagerly scoured the Apple site for the x86 version of OS X. Not seeing it, I called Apple's store and had a humorous conversation with a hapless sales person who didn't know what x86 was and had to refer me to Tech Support. To my disappointment, I was told that the x86 version is nonexistent. What gives, Doc?

Re: UNIX under the Desktop

Anonymous's picture

The x86 version he refers to is Darwin OS, the open-source kernel of Mac OS X.

opensource.apple.com

Re: UNIX under the Desktop

Anonymous's picture

OS X has Darwin as its low-level core (this includes the kernel, command line utilities, compilers etc).

Darwin can be downloaded and then run on x86, too.

Crucially, OS X adds proprietary front-end technology, including the Aqua GUI. This will not (and probably never will) run on x86 - it's proprietary, and not part of Darwin.

On x86, you are compelled to use an X windows implementation, such as XFree86. The whole effect is something that looks pretty identical to Linux.

Hope this helps.

Re: UNIX under the Desktop

Anonymous's picture

the expierices i have with my mac running OS X are great, and the implications are fantastic, for the first time we are seeing machines coming out of any hardware company with an open-source OS. the experice is enlightening, the use of the system is so symplistic while the work being produced is intricate, apple did a good job of doing what no other company does much of: listening to customers.

Re: UNIX under the Desktop

andrew's picture

Apple has to move onto the server and clustering solutions. Its no use having a pretty desktop if you are not well trained in programming, which brings out the power of an OS. I'd thought of taking up on UNIX again (after stints with Linux, SCO, Irix), but felt that it was wiser to learn how to program well on a Windows XP desktop, before venturing into other platforms. Currently, I'm going to be using Pascal, C#, and Mondrian (lightweight Haskell), PHP on my Windows XP computer. MySQL looks like a good candidate for a database but I will still rather have SQL Server.

Comments.

Re: UNIX under the Desktop

PantheraDeveloper's picture

My upgrade experience: Just upgraded to Mac OS X 10.1.3 on March 19th. I've got a PowerMac G4 400 with 512mb ram. To my surprise, the upgrade went very smoothly. Popped the CD in and performed the upgrade in less than 10 minutes. I used xOptimize to get a performance boost out of all my new OS X applications. Downloaded for free a utility called Brickhouse to configure the built in firewall. I'm in the process of upgrading to GoLive 6 and Acrobat 5 for OS X ... but both of my old web development apps run fine in Classic. I run Linux at home on an old Performa 6400/200. What really impresses me about Mac OS X is the superior workflow management. Its better than Windows, the old Mac OS 9, and Linux desktop. I've been running the new system non-stop for 9 days straight, no crashes.

Re: UNIX under the Desktop

Anonymous's picture

Just a quick note:

OS X 10.1.3, running non-stop for 30 days plus.

Running 12 apps all the time

320 Mb ram, imac g3 dv+ sage

Best OS out there.....

Re: UNIX under the Desktop

Anonymous's picture

How does the previous comment have any bearing on this article? Thank you for a well written article explaining Mac OSX. I am in love with the concept, and partially in love with the OS. I think Apple is finally going about things right. So much... That I bought a Titanium Powerbook. Man Apple hardware is nice. I'm amazed at the image quality, speed, and overall performance for a 400 Mhz. I agree with the fact that OSX Server will not dominate. I find it hard to believe that a free well crafted Server OS wouldn't take over the market share evetnually. How can you argue with craftmanship and quality? Not to mention the price of the product. Overall, I have a hard time believing that Linux could take over the desktop. It's hard appealing to the anal-retntentive people who utilize the desktop. On the server end you don't have to worry about that as much. You deliver the goods, and you walk away. How it's managed, and how it's stored on the desktop end is entirely too involved. Apple has been able to appease the hardest crowd in the industry. The artists, graphic designers, scientists. Go Apple... and keep up the good work. As long as they continually improve the OS they have. They will do well. Look at Microsoft, and their product cycle. It's foolish! Every 1-2 years they are releasing a new OS! After the launch of XP. I read about their next 2 Operating Systems. Why don't they work on one OS at a time. Make it the most well crafted OS in the market. Then take on new emerging ideas.

I don't know. I needed to vent. My company utilzes MS technologies completely.

-CJ

gannon@chartermi.net

Re: UNIX under the Desktop

Anonymous's picture

MPW is and was free by the way. just need an ADC (apple developer connection) membership (also free)

i've been using x for about 4 months on a VERY old G3 with only 128 ram (more when i can afford). basically the smallest computer and ram possible for x. running it from 8 to about 6 daily, it froze once, no other problems, soon i'll forget how to force-restart! and cd devices ect are a snap. i have a 3rd party cd burner, needed a driver in mac os 9, just works in x, no driver. plug in, insert cd, and it's on the desktop

jail

Re: UNIX under the Desktop

Anonymous's picture

What's with the April Fool's Date?

Re: UNIX under the Desktop

Anonymous's picture

Unix now had a change to be on every one.

apple did it. now live with it.

you had your time and did not get right.

The average person want's to point and click and you can't do that with Linux.

Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

Apple Laptop Keyboards are Unacceptable to Unix Users

Apple designs horrible keyboards.
ADB keyboards (which are still used on all of
Apple's laptops) are unusable to unix users who
need a
Ctrl key to the left of the 'A'.

Proper Keyboard Design

  • When a key is pressed, the keyboard sends a keyPress
    event.
  • When a key is released, the keyboard sends a keyRelease
    event.
  • Each key is assigned a different keycode.

Nothing more, nothing less.

ADB Keyboard Mis-design

  • When the key to the left of the 'A' (CapsLock) is
    pressed, the ADB keyboard sends both a keyPress event
    and a keyRelease event.
  • When the CapsLock key is then released, the ADB keyboard
    sends NO events.
  • When the CapsLock key is next pressed, the ADB keyboard
    sends NO events.
  • When the CapsLock key is then released, the ADB keyboard
    sends both a keyPress event and a keyRelease
    event.
  • The above cycle repeats over and over.

This is WRONG! Apple's ADB keyboards are
broken by design.

Unix Users Cannot Use Apple's ADB Keyboards

What this means is that unix users who
need the key to the left of the 'A'
to be a Ctrl key cannot use Apple
ADB keyboards. You can easily reprogram the CapsLock key to
be a Ctrl key and get rid of the badness of the
CapsLock key, but you can't get the required goodness of the
Ctrl key to the left of the 'A'.

All Apple laptops have the horrible
broken-by-design ADB keyboards which are unusable to unix
users.
I want to buy an Apple laptop, but I cannot and will
not until Apple builds input devices usable by unix users. In fact, I will not buy an Apple desktop machine either until Apple fixes this problem with their laptops.

Re: Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

Not true: on my desktop (G4), I have succesfully swapped control and caps-lock in the desired manner. Email me for details.

David Baraff

deb@pixar.com

Re: Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

ummm - did you read the thread? he's specifically talking about LAPTOPS - and even more specifically the built in keyboard (when reading the thread, my guess is that you could hook up a usb keyboard - something I always do when @home, and swap the keys fine.) Therefore your post is null && void

Re: Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

You guys are entirely too harsh and need to learn some respect for your elders. I can not stand having the control key to the left of the 'A,' but for the same reason that 'Anonymous' can't stand having it below shift. I like what I am used to. I have an old-school sun keyboard on my desk with the control to the left of 'A.' The only reason I use it is because I hate the feel of the new Sun keyboards even more.

At any rate, this gentleman is obviously old-school and can probably teach everyone here a thing or two. Maybe his flame style post was a bit overstated, but none-the-less, I think that he has a valid point: ibook keyboards are not conducive to use by UNIX old-timers.

my two cents...

Not so...

Anonymous's picture

The style of the original post (i.e. a flame) show a few things:

The person who wrote this was not in a sane state of mind.

They also show their inflexibility/lack of willingness to adapt.

I do not agree with your use of the term gentleman. It is simply not appopriate in this case.

I hope on further consideration you find that you agree with me,

Josh Musket

Re: Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

Whoa! Where'd THAT come from?

I don't know about everyone else, but isn't this a downright _minor_ quibble? Can someone enlighten me on why it's a big deal to have the ctrl key next to 'A' verses next to 'option'? (Other than it takes getting used to?) Does the ergonomics of decades past have that much to bear?

Re: Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

Emacs uses a lot of ctrl-x or ctrl-c etc.

Many developers don't use the caps lock and

change their configuration files so that the

caps lock (the one to the left of the 'a' ) is

the control key so it is closer to the home

position of the left little finger.

Re: Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

it's simple. emacs. In emacs the control and meta keys are essental. move them to the right place, and you can increase productivity, and reduce finger strain. NOTE - I don't agree with this guy, I'm posting this on an iBook. However, if he is correct, and the capslock key cannot be remapped because it does not send keycodes at the correct times, then I have to say he has a point. I use emacs a lot, and this has been a slight annoyance. But hell, its still a great machine!

Re:Crack-smoking Unix Old-Timers do get some things right

Anonymous's picture

Actually folks, aside from the weird rant regarding the placement of the Ctrl keys, the ADB comment is actually correct. As far as the method for sending events goes - i'm not entirely sure if that is correct, but according to Apple's own Developer Notes, the current laptops *do* "...behave as if they were ADB devices".

The PMU99 Power Controller (which handles, among other things, charging and inbuilt device I/O) treats the keyboard and trackpad as ADB devices. A bit strange, I know, but see for yourselves:
http://developer.apple.com/techpubs/hardware/Developer_Notes/Macintosh_CPUs-G3/ibook/2_Architecture/Memory_and___Controller.html#BCIBBDBH

I've been searching for more clarification of this, but there's only so much experimentation you can do outside of Apple's own labs. ;-) Below is the most I've been able to work out on the topic:
(I've only tried this with a recent Apple portable, ie iBook Dual USB, PBG4):

*Log out and log in as ">console", with a blank passwd

*By doing this you shut down the CoreGraphics layer of OSX, and will be running (pretty much) bare Darwin. (--now is a good time to launch X !--)

* Try plugging in an ethernet cable to see the debugger output, etc. Interesting, but not too useful.

* Close the lid of the computer, and let it go to sleep. Open it up again, and you will see the first thing displayed is: ADB*8c:Present

This does seem to verify what Apple says about the controller IC....as well as what our friend the Unix Old Timer says.....go easy with the flames pls :-)

As far as initiating a consumer boycott on the merits of a "non-standard", "non 'Ctrl-key on the left of the `A` key' complaint" seems a tad strange.......especially when Apple's machines (especially the portables) are so great ;-)

reino@lc_cube

Re:Crack-smoking Unix Old-Timers do get some things right

Anonymous's picture

There's an app called uControl that undermines the PMU and makes the caps lock key into control. I've used it and it works fabulously, except for the fact that the caps lock led still toggles. Otherwise, it's great.

Re: Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

ADB is stone age stuff. Its USB now as in the wintel world. Otherwise what are you on . Is this a joke ?????

Cant believe that the 99.99% of inteligent stuff here is broken by this post. Strage world we live in.......

Read the post! The laptops st

Anonymous's picture

Read the post! The laptops still have built-in ADB keyboards, for some reason. External Apple keyboards are all USB now, and much saner.

Re: Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

Have you ever used a Sun type 5 keyboard - not sure about all the other Sun keyboards, but you won't find CTRL to the left of A either!!!!

Looks like your argument is now crumbling pretty fast when Sun (aren't they somewhere near the top end of Unix workstation suppliers??) put capslock to the left of A.

Have a great time burning keyboards!

Re: Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

A correction with respect to Sun keyboards:

They can be ordered either way.

Long time Unix users such as myself prefer

having Ctrl to the left of the "A" key, whereas

people coming from the PC world prefer "Caps

Lock" in that location.

I am not going to change my mind, and I won't

ask you to change yours either. As ever, what

is important it that the user be allowed to

make the choice that suits them.

Re: Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

In Japan, the keyboard layout on all Apple computers places the control key to the left of the A and the caps lock below the shift key (the reverse of Apple's American keyboards). Although you might prefer it this way, it's an annoyance for those of us who use both Windows and Macs and tend to mistakenly (because of the role reversal of the command and control keys in the two systems) hit the caps lock key when typing a keyboard shortcut on the Mac.

Re: Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

Uh... if I had words I might say something more useful, but geez - that isn't right. Where have you... what?

Finally, I find myself at a loss for words. (If anyone I ever knew found out.)

Re: Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

And you have no idea what you're talking about. ADB stands for Apple Desktop Bus, a standard that was officially dead with the second revision of the Blue and White G3 tower. ADB was the interface style, and since that machine, it has changed to USB - the same standard that most WIntel machines use.

Check again

Anonymous's picture

The Caps Lock key works as it's supposed to. Your theory about NO events being sent on various presses of CapsLock is just plain WRONG.

Re: Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

check out uControl at www.versiontracker.com

Re: Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

Yeah, I'll never buy one because I don't like the color of the cardboard box it comes in.

;-)

Re: Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

I suspect that the least of your problems is having a CRTL key left of the "A".

:-)

Re: Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

Have you been smoking crack ?

Re: Apple Laptop Keyboards Unusable for Unix Old-Timers

Anonymous's picture

Simply put, u r a loser.

OS X on a PC

Anonymous's picture

I read in the article that, at least I think I read this, Mac made an x86 version of OS X. Does this mean that I could go out and install unix-based OS X on my all-pc hardware? Someone tell me I'm dreaming, cuz if I'm not, than I am buying it.

Re: OS X on a PC

Anonymous's picture

Yes and no.

'Apple' has a x86 version of Darwin, not OSX.

Darwin is Mach + BSD + bunch of other free stuff.

It is notably missing Aqua (GUI) and anything else that makes is remotely resemble a Mac (== no iTunes, iPhoto, iCantBelieveItsNotButter)

You can get X and a growing amount of other cool stuff to run.

Better still it's free.

-S

Re: OS X on a PC

Anonymous's picture

The other poster is right...but here's the full story:

Apple has Darwin running on x86, but if you want to run ANY of the apps we know and love, (Office, Photoshop, etc) they would NOT run on any version of OS X for intel. here's why: CARBON is the programming enviroment for porting over legacy mac apps with not too much re-tooling. this enviroment is not at all compatible with x86 hardware. COCOA is the objective-C development enviroment, and any app written for that would port nicely. the problem is, there are no major apps written in cocoa - a few shareware apps, but I know of nothing big, becasue it would take re-writing your entire app into objective-c...a task that even Microsoft couldn't afford (this was the original demand of apple, but then they realized they needed to develop a middleground for full compatibility and feature use, without having people fully re-write their apps.)

Back when OS X was announced, Apple also pushed development in cocoa (also called yellow box) for another reason - they were going to ship yellowbox for windows. meaning any company that DID develop for yellowbox would have an instant cross-platform product! This disappeared very quickly without expalantion why, but as a result, it's ruined the incentive for companies to port all the way over to yellowbox when with much less work they could be ported to carbon.

Let's not forget the conspiracy theorists out there...

"redbox" was a full x86 compatibility layer that would let you run windows apps on mac. Some say it was scuttled becasue apple didn't want to weaken the antitrust case, other say VirtualPC (not mentioned in the article, by the way!) was goignto do it's work for them....others say it never existed at all.

Also, the other, even more popular theory right now is that Apple has an x86 version of OSX all ready to go....on it's own x86 hardware. They have lots of work left, but are keeping it on life support since Motorola is so bad about clockspeeds, ship dates, and financial well-being. if this would mean that all of a sudden x86 apps could be ported, or vice-versa, I don't know. but, it's intereseting none the less....

Cocoa = OmniGroup

Anonymous's picture

These guys have been writing "major" apps in Cocoa for a long while now.

Cocoa

Anonymous's picture

You don't have to do everything in Objective-C to use Cocoa. The latest versions of Project Builder have objective-C++ support, meaning that you can share C++ and Objective-C code within the same file; the upshot of this is that you can keep the "guts" of your program in C++ and just have your interface files in Objective-C. This is how I've been doing my coding from scratch, since C++ has some concepts that I miss in Obj-C. But it also would make porting classic apps to Cocoa much easier (though still quite a task).

Of course, there are Java headers for all the Cocoa classes too, so you could write Cocoa apps completely in Java.

Re: OS X on a PC

Anonymous's picture

You're half-way dreaming. Apple's Darwin on x86 open source effort is not an x86 version of the entire OS, but only of Darwin--the "Unix underpinnings," to quote the marketingspeak. So you wouldn't get the Aqua interface, app's like iPhoto, iTunes, etc.

I doubt we'll ever see (in the next few years, anyway) a true OS X for x86 from Apple. They'd lose a ton of hardware sales that way, and that's ultimately where they make the most money. Also, since so much of what makes a Mac a Mac is based on tight hardware/software integration, they'd lose that control.

But isn't it interesting to think of the world in a couple of years as a Linux/Unix/OSX allignment versus Windows/.NET?

HA HA

Anonymous's picture

HA HA

Re: UNIX under the Desktop

Anonymous's picture

I guess I am waiting for Apple to really support MacOSX server. The documentation is scarce. Since I work in the education field, we need all the help we can get on MacOSX server. Since this past year support in the field from Apple has been scarce. Apple gets an F in support of MacOSX Server in the education field. Sure there are workshops on ITools, etc. and other seminars, but that is for the desktop use. If Apple was smart, they should work with some good technical publishing companies like O'Reilly to publish the uses of Mac OSX server as a dynamic webserver and as a network server. Apple should compile best practices from the educational, private, non-profit,etc. sectors. I hope Apple wakes up and smells the coffee.

Take a look at this site

Anonymous's picture

Apple needs still offer more practical support!

Anonymous's picture

We also need inclusion or something for High School and Elementary school network administrators, who are sometimes teachers with a new title and without the training! I think Apple should spend the dollars on really making the Macintosh server easy configure. There could be a part for general information, a part for enough scenarios from elementary school to the University level, and maybe a planning manual that can get the folks who are upgrading to those starting out from scratch rock and rolling. Apple, who has been in education a long time should know that already. Some times one has to spend money in order to make money! Teacher Network admins need support materials that are very practical. This is a no brainer. Apple has to get off its butt! Sometimes I wonder if the corporate types in Apple really know what the needs of the educator network administrators are.

Re: Apple needs still offer more practical support!

Anonymous's picture

I guess they don't know. What else do you need to make Mac OS X servers easy to administer? No one else in the industry makes boxes as easy to admin, so what problems are you having exactly?

Webinar
One Click, Universal Protection: Implementing Centralized Security Policies on Linux Systems

As Linux continues to play an ever increasing role in corporate data centers and institutions, ensuring the integrity and protection of these systems must be a priority. With 60% of the world's websites and an increasing share of organization's mission-critical workloads running on Linux, failing to stop malware and other advanced threats on Linux can increasingly impact an organization's reputation and bottom line.

Learn More

Sponsored by Bit9

Webinar
Linux Backup and Recovery Webinar

Most companies incorporate backup procedures for critical data, which can be restored quickly if a loss occurs. However, fewer companies are prepared for catastrophic system failures, in which they lose all data, the entire operating system, applications, settings, patches and more, reducing their system(s) to “bare metal.” After all, before data can be restored to a system, there must be a system to restore it to.

In this one hour webinar, learn how to enhance your existing backup strategies for better disaster recovery preparedness using Storix System Backup Administrator (SBAdmin), a highly flexible bare-metal recovery solution for UNIX and Linux systems.

Learn More

Sponsored by Storix