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Apple

Wozniak Calls For Open Apple 330

Posted by samzenpus
from the open-up dept.
aesoteric writes "Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has voiced a renewed desire to see the company open its architecture to the masses, allowing savvy users to expand and add to their products at will. However, Wozniak qualified his desire for a more open Apple by arguing that openness should not impinge on the quality of the products themselves. He also sees any change of heart on openness as a challenge when Apple continues to rake in huge cash with its current model."
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Wozniak Calls For Open Apple

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  • by rullywowr (1831632) on Monday May 14, 2012 @11:12AM (#39995003)
    I suppose the notion of Apple becoming more open to modifiers, tinkerers, hardware/software enthusiasts, and lowly programmers would be akin to Gillette giving away the plans and patents to its razor cartridges.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday May 14, 2012 @11:23AM (#39995163) Journal
    While Woz was certainly not the recipient of terribly fair treatment, I suspect that there is a second reason why he was removed from the picture comparatively early:

    The success of the early Apple designs (the II particularly) rested in no small part on assorted deep-hack chip count and cost reduction measures, the sort of thing that Woz is reputed to be very good indeed at. It did lead to somewhat arcane and tightly interlinked designs; but this was back when reducing the chip count in your floppy drive was still Serious Savings or having Woz go up the mountain and descend bearing the design for ADB made your peripheral interconnects genuinely better than the other guy's. In Apple's later models, they just kept moving closer and closer to commodity circuits wrapped in nice industrial design and a friendly software layer.

    Obviously, somebody still has to design their logic boards; but that hasn't really been Apple's competitive edge in ages. Jobs occupied a larger-than-life seat on the pantheon; but the members immediately behind him in public awareness and clout were the industrial design guru and the supply chain/manufacturing guy. Board-level engineering elegance appears to have been swamped by volume savings on commodity silicon some time ago.
  • by htnmmo (1454573) on Monday May 14, 2012 @11:30AM (#39995273) Homepage

    Found some interesting quotes from Wozniak [jimmyr.com] related to apple and jobs.

    He gave up a lot of his wealth, and even potential wealth to spend more time doing things he thought were more rewarding in other ways. So when he asks people to give up their share of the pie it's not a do as I say not as I do thing.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday May 14, 2012 @11:47AM (#39995503)

    And that's pretty much the problem. As much as I hate it and as much as I think it's terribly, terribly wrong, what made Apple big is marketing, not engineering. And that's not trying to bash Apple, it's what you can easily see when you follow Apple's history. It was a niche product while they relied on engineering. It was a great product, well engineered, with a lot of technical innovations. As soon as they moved towards design and gadgets, in other words, as soon as they went for flashy and gimmicky instead of technical innovation, people started flocking to them.

    Woz, as much as I agree with you, I'd sad to say that this would be a bad move for Apple. It would certainly endear Apple again to engineers, but financially it would not be beneficial.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2012 @11:55AM (#39995611)

    Apple really spawned twice. The first incarnation had Woz's help and indeed he helped to establish the brand.
    The second incarnation was all Jobs.
    But to say engineering is not their competitive edge ignores that, like that famous political cry, "It's the system, stupid" that makes Apple soar. Ergonomic design is pushing the envelope, hardware design is constantly improving, and software is written to be easily accessible and controllable, and the Apple now controls the supply chain rather than the other way around.

    Apple is as perfect a manufacturing machine as there is today. Don't diss it, emulate it!

  • by bartoku (922448) on Monday May 14, 2012 @12:13PM (#39995875)

    Without Woz, Jobs would have been nothing and Apple would have been a failure.

    I am no Apple fan, but I do respect Jobs and I am not convinced he ever "needed" Woz.

    Woz is great, very smart guy, but without him Jobs simply would have found someone else.

    This isn't the case, even Jobs admitted it, he said "It's the talented people at Apple that make the difference" or something like that.

    This was Jobs gift, he had an eye for such talent, in Woz and the others he used, I mean hired.

    Like it or not the mentality that Jobs had set him up for success.

  • by Brannon (221550) on Monday May 14, 2012 @01:01PM (#39996435)

    The slashdot crowd doesn't understand that and thus they don't understand why Apple is so successful. The "marketing" crap is your best attempt to rationalize Apple's success without having to expand your tiny little world.

    Meanwhile, Apple is on their way to being the first $1 trillion company because nearly everyone else in the world understands something that you don't: "The ONLY point of technology is to make life easier for humans"--by that definition, Apple cranks out the best technology using the best engineering. Deal with it.

  • by bartoku (922448) on Monday May 14, 2012 @01:09PM (#39996517)
    Perhaps Jobs could never find someone as good or as patient with him as Woz, but I am still not convinced he needed him to succeed.

    As far as I am aware Woz did not come along with Jobs to NeXT, and as far as I am concerned today the company know as Apple is simply NeXT with the Apple brand.

    Is there anything in Apple today that is from Woz? His comments seem to suggest it in no way reflects him or his genius at this time and has not for awhile.

    Honestly I would prefer Woz's Apple, but the Wheels of Zeuz (WoZ) did not quite make it.

    I maintain, for better or for worse, that Steve Jobs was set on his path to creating Apple as it is today no matter who was with him...
  • I think that happens a lot. It happened to me. I co-founded an imaging company back in 1983 based on my idea for connecting a high speed CCD camera to an advanced workstation - bleeding edge stuff at the time. A few months later the company was already doing well, and my associate (a sales guy) and I brought in a new CEO who brought some VC money with him. I left in frustration three years later as the CEO was mismanaging the place horribly, although he did mange to keep bringing new investment money into the company. The history of the company as of a year or two after that was how the CEO had taken an interesting project by a couple of engineers and single-handedly created a company to bring it to fruition - literally our efforts merited part of a single sentence in a ten page history.

    The last laugh was that after I left (I had been VP of R&D), in the next two years they went through seven VPs of R&D (I guess I wasn't doing such a bad job!), and spent most of the 1990s fighting a series of battles against financial types who were trying to force them into bankruptcy - people that the CEO had originally brought in to invest in the company. The financial shenanigans were rather distressing to me. In a short conversation about 1999, the CEO of the then-defunct company agreed that the three major things I had recommended, and he had rejected finally triggering me to quit, were all correct - but as he said, "I hadn't been forceful enough to convince him!" - sigh. And he spent ten years fighting in court instead of doing other fun things.

    I still feel there was a good legacy. My track record in managing the engineering side was that we were technically successful on every project, usually under budget, and had excellent morale. I'm still friends with folks that I originally hired there. And we did some really great work in vectorizing, OCR and entity recognition for large format maps and drawings. We even did some work on constructing 3D models from sets of 2D drawings. We could generate terrain models from USGS maps. I got to tour the Space Shuttle External Tank manufacturing facility, and we built image processors that were two orders of magnitude faster than anything else out there, using chips from the cruise missile program (credit where credit is due - that hardware and a lot of the original code behind the OCR and other recognition capability was done by the Visual Understanding Lab of Bob Thibadeau, research professor at Carnegie Mellon). Of course, all that can now be done by any common desktop in software.

  • by xmundt (415364) on Monday May 14, 2012 @01:58PM (#39997139)

    Do not down play Woz's contribution to Apple. One of the major reasons for the success of the Macintosh was the IWM chip that was the heart of it This amazing hardware hack coupled complex state machine logic and individual circuits together in one chip to become greater than the sum of its parts. Woz's design used the partial circuits in a dozen or more different ways, reconfiguring itself on the fly to do what needed to be done at that point. Could another engineer have done this design and made it work so well? Perhaps, but, I doubt it. "IWM" stands for "Integrated Woz Machine", and well it should. It remains a pretty spiffy hack,
              pleasant dreams
              bee man dave

  • by tilante (2547392) on Monday May 14, 2012 @02:44PM (#39997663)
    Interestingly enough, Apple's people came away from their quick tour through PARC thinking that Xerox's interface did things that it didn't actually do. For example, Xerox's interface didn't allow programs to draw into a portion of a window that was obscured, and didn't have self-repairing windows -- when you dragged one window off of another, you had to click the revealed window to get it to repaint. Apple's people didn't realize that Xerox's system didn't allow those things, and thus, designed QuickDraw and the Lisa/Mac Window Manager so they *did* allow those.

    Another example is drag-and-drop file management. It seems like such an obvious thing with icons for files and a mouse, but Xerox's interface didn't have it. Apple's people invented it on their own for the Lisa/Mac interface. Some other things that the Lisa/Mac interface did that Xerox's didn't:

    * "Direct manipulation" of file/folder/etc. names (i.e., click on the name and type to edit it)

    * Pull-down menus

    * Resource forks for files, allowing for easy, clean internationalization of applications

    * Files having type IDs and creator IDs embedded, so you could simply double-click a file and have it open in the appropriate application, no matter what folder it was in

    * The clipboard holding typed data (and holding multiple representations of the same data)

    * Desk accessories and control panels

    So, as you can see, the Lisa/Mac interface was *not* just a copy of Xerox's. Quite a few things were added by Apple's team.

  • by IceNinjaNine (2026774) on Monday May 14, 2012 @02:58PM (#39997859)
    NeXT would have never been if it hadn't been for the original incarnation of Apple, which itself would have NOT happened without Woz. Your house of cards falls so easily....
  • by muon-catalyzed (2483394) on Monday May 14, 2012 @04:08PM (#39998613)
    Woz is the true and only founder of Apple. He single handedly enabled them, he alone made Apple 1 computer in his garage. He started it all, if it was not for Woz and his early efforts, Jobs would be selling used cars or something...

    Therefore Woz >> Jobs.

    Also it is well known fact that Jobs just copied Sony, after Apple nearly exited the market at around 1998, Jobs in desperation copied Sony products (Sony was totaly dominating the market at the time), from Apple Pippin (PlayStation), iPod (Walkman), Apple stores (Sony Style stores), App stores/Walled garden (PlayStation store).. everything predates Jobs' efforts.

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere." -- Dr. Seuss

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