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OS X Businesses Operating Systems Apple

Copland/Gershwin vs. NeXT 147

Etcetera writes "David K. Every (of MacKiDo fame) has written an interesting article at iGeek about Copland vs. NeXT and the decisions that Apple made back in '95-96. Although most agree that bringing Steve Jobs back was a Good Thing, a lot of cool Apple-invented technologies got left by the wayside without a fair shot at proving themselves once NeXT came in. Was it always the right call? Functions as a cautionary tale about management vs. engineering as well."
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Copland/Gershwin vs. NeXT

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  • by brokeninside ( 34168 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @12:18PM (#4238087)
    Half the promise of OpenDoc was its proposed cross-platform functionality. When Novell failed to deliver on OpenDoc for the Windows platform and IBM deprecated OpenDoc for OS/2 (IBM deprecating OS/2 didn't help either), Apple was left as the only platform for OpenDoc.

    Given a choice between OLE and COM on Windows (95% of the desktop market) and OpenDoc on MacOS (5% of the desktop market), most developers chose OLE and COM for their components.

  • by masonbrown ( 208074 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @12:52PM (#4238429) Homepage
    You used to be able to download pre-alpha copies of Copland from Hotline back in 1997. I never had the hardware for it (think it was only one model that was bootable, like a Mac IIci or something). Same look and feel of System 7, with 3D icons, from the screenshots I saw.
  • by rgraham ( 199829 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @12:55PM (#4238462) Homepage

    The reasons why the "real" Mac OS X took longer were that Apple had to implement Carbon for developers unwilling to convert to Cocoa, and write a brand new display system (Quartz) after Adobe dropped Display PostScript.

    Almost true. Adobe didn't drop support for Display PostScript, Apple decided they didn't want to pay a royalty to Adobe for every copy of the MacOS that would ship that used Display PostScript.
  • Subjective Article (Score:4, Informative)

    by Spencerian ( 465343 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @01:03PM (#4238516) Homepage Journal
    I would remind people that David, in my mind, is a Mac zealot. His old Mackido website was full of vitrole and over-advocacy. (Mind you, it was a great place to find a computer joke, but I took little of the site very seriously.)

    As I mentioned in other topics, Mac OS 9 users are among the most stubborn to change their way of doing things on a Macintosh. That's understandable--the original Mac OS was easier to use than most operating systems and developed quite a fan following. This resistance to change, however, causes finger-pointing and blame-making over a matter that, now, isn't really a point of conversation anymore. I think David falls in this trap of "Apple's changed with OS X and I don't like anymore." I also give this problem a name: whining. I'm a Macintosh advocate by trade but I've never been fond of zealotry--its a blinding thing in helping a customer.

    I disagree with David about his being "sick of hearing that Copland project failed because of engineering. From what I know of engineering and people inside of Apple, it was mostly because of bad management decisions inside of Apple." He makes the incorrect assumption that the technology was sound enough and needed only enough money and time to push it through. Apple creates the environment that R&D works in, true. But faulty engineering is faulty engineering. Steve Jobs likely killed many projects not only because he didn't find them practical but because they just plain didn't work or didn't follow the business plan. Seedless corn or instant water sounds like a cool idea, but a bad idea is a bad idea.

    Apple nearly died because they didn't have a business plan. Does David want Apple to revive old projects at the cost of the company's existence? Makes no sense to me. I think David is grousing over spilled milk.

    We were all uncertain about what became OS X, and, thanks to a strong business plan, focused R&D, and listening to customers and developers (things that Apple did very badly in the '90s), Apple has a sound product with a good future.
  • by nosferatu-man ( 13652 ) <spamdot@homonculus.net> on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @01:53PM (#4238862) Homepage
    Every is a well-known crank, with a vanishingly small understanding of technology. While I'm all for pointless, iconoclastic stands on principle, MacKiDo is basically the rantings of a brainless loon.

  • Re:nostalgia (Score:4, Informative)

    by BitGeek ( 19506 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @02:09PM (#4238998) Homepage

    There is nothing important that Smalltalk has, that Objective-C lacks.

    In fact, Objective-C is superior to small talk for its given market: compiled applications that can be shipped in shrink wrapped form.

    Call C++ a pale shadow of smalltalk and I agree with you, but don't knock Objective C. Its wonderful, and has no problems or poor aspects that from what I see.

    There's a lot of whining about OS X and I just don't get it-- it is far and away the best OS I've ever worked with as a user, or developed for as a developer. Far better than Classic Mac OS, better than windows, better than Unix.

    I think people want to complain about some idealized impossibly perfect idea of what something could be... but in terms of reality-- shipping products-- its the best there is right now, and well ahead of everything else out there.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @03:12PM (#4239514)
    I saw that too - however, it's not a specification. It could probably be used as one, but a real spec would go into much more detail than these docs - like, for example, talking about which errors you need to check for and handle.

    I must have been using different terms last time I searched, because *this* time, when I searched using "OpenDoc Specifications", I came up with this link: http://www.diffuse.org/oii/en/docstand.html#ODA [diffuse.org] which takes you to a reference talking about getting the specification.

    The spec costs money, though. :(

  • by Etcetera ( 14711 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @06:49PM (#4241132) Homepage

    For those of who weren't programming Macs back in the Day (remember APDA?), Apple had an award-winning quarterly technical journal called "develop" which had lots of neat articles in it with a fun and offbeat tone. Sort of like O'Reilly and Associates has now. They stopped putting it out in '97 amid all the hemoraging, but all the issues are available here [mactech.com].

    Anyway, there's a pretty informative article explaining all about Copland here [mactech.com].
  • by Etcetera ( 14711 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @07:25PM (#4241383) Homepage

    I posted it above, but take a look at the Copland article in Apple's develop Tech Journal [mactech.com].
  • by Wesley Felter ( 138342 ) <wesley@felter.org> on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @08:44PM (#4241818) Homepage
    Yes, V-Twin (AIAT) is still alive in OS X.
  • by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gm a i l . c om> on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @10:23PM (#4242200)
    OS X, assuming you have enough RAM (start at about the 384MB mark) appears to be really, really CPU and bus bound. This isn't good for Macs, which have neither very fast busses nor CPUs.
    Basically, it's the GUI. It's just doing so much stuff that you need a top of the line machine to get anything even approaching speed out of it - and even they get unresponsive without much going on. Maybe in a couple of years, when Apple's hardware has caught up with their software ambitions (we're basically seeing the same thing that happened with PCs in the early to mid 90s - the software being in front of the hardware curve) OS X won't be so slow to use.
  • Re:nostalgia (Score:3, Informative)

    by RevAaron ( 125240 ) <revaaron&hotmail,com> on Wednesday September 11, 2002 @11:59PM (#4242534) Homepage
    Not all Java implementations have mark and sweep GC, which is the primitive form of GC of which you speak. However, there are still plenty of reasons to dislike Java beyond that. ;)

    ObjC also has a primitive form of GC, even more primitive than mark and sweep. The best GC you can probably get is a generational system, not surprisingly found in most (all?) current Smalltalk implemenations and good Common Lisp implemenations. You get the best of both worlds- unlike the GC in ObjC, you're not stuck looking over your sholder to deal with it's primitive form of GC (found also in Python still?) and unlike Java, it doesn't do one huge mark-and-sweep at any given time- it's always doing a little GC.
  • by 1of9 ( 107254 ) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @07:11AM (#4243618) Homepage
    After reading Mr. Every article all I can say is WOW. Its amazing to see how someone can look at something that happened, like the Apple situation in the mid 90s, and come away with a totally skewed view. I don't even know where to start with the bad information or misconceptions. I will however put forth one piece of information about copland that I think is germaine to this discussion. Applications in Copland, by default, only had cooperative multitasking. They could start tasks that were preemptive but those tasks could not interact with the GUI and were limited to certain parts of the API. Full preemptive multitasking was not to come to the macos until Gershwin. All I can say is "Thank God NeXT came along.
  • by dke ( 608042 ) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @08:36AM (#4243830) Homepage
    The reason that it had semi-cooperative tasking (actually engine was preemptive, UI thread was cooperative) was because it had to have 100% compatibility. If you took out that requirement, then you had Carbon/Gershwin. That was the point.

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