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Microsoft Businesses Apple

Microsoft Bites Apple, Apple Bites Back 1024

hype7 writes "The NYT (free reg reqd etc) is running an interesting article on where MS seems to be getting all the ideas for its next big OS release, Longhorn. It's only a quickie, but they look at MS's big news from WinHEC, and their possible sources for inspiration. They also pull out that fantastic Bill Gates quote: 'The one thing Apple's providing now is leadership in colors'; and that Apple execs are now having a laugh of their own over how Longhorn, 'Microsoft's 2005 version of its Windows operating system, apes features that have been in Apple's OS X operating system since 2001.'"
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Microsoft Bites Apple, Apple Bites Back

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  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:32PM (#5937993) Homepage Journal
    Imitation is the scincerest form of flattery. Where will flattery take you today?

    I recall, years back, an avi making the rounds with Bill Gates speaking (at a MacWorld?) and sheepishly admitting that the Mac was the best or had the best desktop or something along those lines. As if Win95 didn't cement clearly the view that Microsoft indeed was impressed with, at least the look and feel, we get more of this, "Gee, Apple is visionary, so we'll just copy what they do", from the big innovator. Well, no surprise, but I do wonder whether there's an agreement where Microsoft pays Apple for some of this, or is it just payment 'in-kind' (meaning Microsoft products which run on Macs)?

    "As a matter of fact we do have a Research and Development department, we call it, 'Apple Computer, Inc.'"

    • by Jedi Alec ( 258881 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:38PM (#5938037)

      but I do wonder whether there's an agreement where Microsoft pays Apple for some of this

      Apple gets to ship IE with their computers ;-)

    • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:45PM (#5938117) Homepage Journal
      The Win95 shell imitates NeXTStep in its appearance far more than it does MacOS, and its behavior is Motif-like. (Or vice-versa depending on who you ask.)
      • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @05:22PM (#5939705) Homepage Journal
        The Win95 shell imitates NeXTStep in its appearance far more than it does MacOS,

        Exacly what features of the Nextstep does win95 offer? "windowblinds"? Sure, if you download a serious modification. 95 shipped with the clumsy three button junk from win3.1 plus an extra button and a pannel. A root menue anywhere on the screen? Nope. The way it resizes windows? Nope. Menues that you can leave up on the screen? Nope. Can you name one feature that is not simply part of any GUI? I'm not going to go into the tremendous difference in the unerlying systems but just look at the apearances alone.

        Nextstep was made from MacOS and was better. Windoze never did much more than follow along the GUI path, never evolving much from the first one they made. The evolution and lines of influence are clear when you look at screen shots from each.

        For those of you not familiar with Next [osdata.com], check out this 1993 screen shot [w3.org] of the first web browser. [w3.org] The client was developed in 1990. There are many free implementations of the Nextstep such as Window Maker today. It still kicks any GUI Microsoft has ever made. After using a reasonable window manager on X, few people can go back to the M$ GUI confines.

        For those of you fortunate enough to have missed Windoze 3.1, here is a little screen shot [osdata.com] from 1993 or so when Netscape became one of the first available browsers for Windoze. 95 added the X button on the top right, so I suppose you could say it coppied Nextstep in one way. Here is a typical Win95/98 desktop [min.net]. Windoze XP (screen shot to compare [microsoft.com]), is more of the same [min.net] and annoying as all hell.

        Please don't compare reasonable software, such as Nextstep or Sun's Common Desktop Environemnt, to junk from Microsoft. People might get the idea that one was better than it is or that the other sucks in ways it never did.

        • by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @10:31PM (#5941806) Journal
          and its behavior is Motif-like.


          Please don't compare reasonable software, such as ... Common Desktop Environemnt, to junk from Microsoft

          A stated design goal of Motif was to give the X Window System the window management capabilities of HP's circa-1988 window manager and the visual elegance of Microsoft Windows. We kid you not.

          link [molgen.mpg.de]
  • google loves you (Score:5, Informative)

    by ramzak2k ( 596734 ) * on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:33PM (#5937997)
    article without registration [nytimes.com]

    Wish i was an editor
    • by sharkey ( 16670 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:50PM (#5938175)
      Wish i was an editor

      Well, your grasp of capitalization is loose, puntuation is nonexistant and your grammar is subpar. You meet the minimum requirements for Slashdot editorship. The problem is, you were able to locate the free article, read it and subsequently create a functional link to it using HTML tags. This disqualifies you from consideration for the job.

  • by ajiva ( 156759 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:33PM (#5937998)
    Apple copies Microsoft, and Microsoft copies Apple.
    Apple coppied the WinXP feature that lets users switch who's logged in without losing state. And Microsoft copies features from Apple. Its the Kettle calling the Pot black...
    • by BJZQ8 ( 644168 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:35PM (#5938015) Homepage Journal
      Jobs and Gates are two immovable objects that are colliding with irresistable force...and these are the results. They just sort of merge together. Apple becomes DRM-loving Microsoft, and Microsoft becomes touchy-feely-hippie-interfaced Apple. No surprise to me.
      • I'm sure Bill & Co. would love to be able to present themselves as free-wheeling hipsters when it suited them (and Apple would love to be able to present themselves as the no-nonsense, utilitarian Corporate Approved Vendor.) But no, there are still meaningful differences between the two companies philosophical approaches.

        The idea that Steve copies Bill as much as Bill copies Steve is ludicrous on it's face. Microsoft copies Apple tons more, always has. Listen, I'm not saying that makes them evil. They're not breaking the law here. Let them copy away! It's good for everyone. I'm merely pointing out that they're not the "innovation powerhouse" that they make themselves out to be. Calling a spade a spade.

        And Apple has been the most consistently anti-DRM company you can name besides the P2P companies themselves. Their current nod to DRM in the iTunes Music Store is an amazing achievement in that they somehow convinced the RIAA that we all might actually buy the music if it wasn't DRM'd to death (see PressPlay, for example). Apple has been as pro-consumer as a company can get in the whole digital music thing. Tossing them in the same bin as Microsoft isn't accurate or fair.
      • by SoupIsGoodFood_42 ( 521389 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @03:15PM (#5938372)
        Microsoft becomes touchy-feely-hippie-interfaced Apple

        If you mean that, like, in the way of a bad acid trip, then I guess you're right.

        Have you seen Longhorn?

  • Apple leadership? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:35PM (#5938016)
    The same company that didn't offer a preemptive, protected multitasking OS until OS X, years and years after Microsoft had Windows NT?
    • I think we are talking about the GUI and not the kernel here. Apple has always been ahead of M$ in that area.

    • Re:Apple leadership? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:43PM (#5938093)

      But when they did offer such an OS, they did it right.
      • by AxelTorvalds ( 544851 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:59PM (#5938241)
        Never mind that fact that they offered a seemless transition over the years from 68000 to PowerPC, from MacOS Classic to MacOS X.

        If you invested in Apple 15 years ago, they still honor your investment. I can't say that the same is true of MS where different versions of Office don't even like to talk to each other and they are constantly pushing for their customers to spend more money.

    • by darkwiz ( 114416 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:52PM (#5938188)
      Rational arguments can be made against preemptive multitasking for particular applications, or single task oriented machines (if you have a tick every 10ms for scheduling, 100 times a second you are dumping the cache and TLB, potentially for no good reason - and to a reasonable hit in performance). However, the average computer users' patterns of usage have shifted away from single task oriented use (because the cpus are actually fast enough to really be productive doing more than one thing - even w/preemption on a 1ms tick). Josephine User wants that update to download along with her P2P in the background while she's listening to MP3's and emailing someone. This wasn't an issue 5 years ago except to power users.

      However, you are right in criticizing the lack of protected memory - a source of great irritation and many unnecessary crashes and reboots. The market demanded it, and Apple provided. Where is the criticism here?

      ps: I still use Linux, even on my Macs, but I believe in fair criticism.
    • Re:Apple leadership? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by melatonin ( 443194 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:58PM (#5938234)
      The same company that didn't offer a preemptive, protected multitasking OS until OS X

      Wrong. The Apple Lisa had a pre-emptive multi-tasking OS with protected memory, but the hardware cost too much (the Motorola 68k in particular had a paging bug at the time that required them to use their own MMU). The Lisa was $10K in 1983. The Mac didn't have those features (and a lot more), and was $3K in 1984. The Mac won in the marketplace over the Lisa, therefore it can be argued that co-operative multi-tasking and a simple memory model are better.

      After all, if pre-emptive multi-tasking and protected memory are so important, everyone would have used OS/2 instead of Windows 3.1.


    • Yes, Leadship (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tylerh ( 137246 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @03:04PM (#5938279)
      The same company that didn't offer a preemptive, protected multitasking OS until OS X, years and years after Microsoft had Windows NT?

      This is a meaningless comparision. How many copies of NT 3.5.1 were sold to retail customers?

      Apple was selling a "preemptive, protected multitasking OS" (OS X Server) several years before OS X was released the masses. Likewise, Microsoft did NOT deliver a "preemptive, protected multitasking" appropriate for unsupported users until Windows XP. (Win2K was aimed at business users who had IT support).

      Moving deeper, Apple has never been a leader in OSes -- OS X came straight out of the UNIX world. Even the Apple ][ borrowed heavily from others, including HP.

      Apple's ongoing genius is User Experience, like the fabuously-well integrated iTunes music store. And here, Microsoft is, has always been, and remains a laggard and a copycat.
    • Re:Apple leadership? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @03:32PM (#5938522) Journal
      "The same company that didn't offer a preemptive, protected multitasking OS until OS X, years and years after Microsoft had Windows NT?"

      Agreed. But CEO's sometime make up a large part of a company's image and culture. Steve Jobs is no exception. He did just that. He changed Apple from the inside out. They are not the same company they were in 96.

      I think Steve Jobs is a brilliant marketer and innovator. Something Apple was desperate for when he took over.

      He really did save Apple. Apple became stagnat for years and the lack of a good OS was one of them. It was Steve who got the nextstepOS ported, created the imac, drafted a new modern UI(aqua), integrated bluetooth on all macs, came up with the itunes music store, etc.

      During the early and mid 80's the macs were years ahead of the pc's. Built in sound, ethernet, a modern gui, and color layouts created the huge cult mac following. They were close to 10 years ahead of Windows based pc's. Again I believe this was part of Steve Jobs vision. Apple became stagnent after they fired him quite quickly.

      The only thing Apple is behind on is hardware which oddly was its strenght when he wasn't the CEO. This is mostly Motorolla's fault but it has hurt them quite hard.

      Apple had no leadership and horrendous marketing in the mid 90's. But today its the opposite.

      Who else would pay premium prices for .mac and pc's that are half as fast as windows boxes? People critized Microsoft's "my .net services" while applauding Apple at the same time for .mac. They sell some expensive products and have a great marketing and advertising campaing.

      What a change a good CEO can do. Apple went through 4 CEO's when they originally canned him.

  • by telstar ( 236404 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:37PM (#5938030)
    Remind me again ... do we consider New York Times articles to be fact or fiction these days?
    I hear they're creeping towards the top of their own Fiction Best Sellers list these days.
  • by Raleel ( 30913 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:39PM (#5938054)
    Competition makes the product better. MS learns, they are not stupid. They are stealing from Linux, they are stealing from Apple, Linux is stealing from both, etc.

    Feed on each other to make a stronger whole :)
  • Sign Needed: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tnak ( 163802 ) <mlibby@4geeks[ ] ... m ['com' in gap]> on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:40PM (#5938066) Homepage
    "No Feeding the MS Bashers"

    Seriously, this 'article' is the journalistic equivalent of the Sci-Fi channel bumpers [slashdot.org] and the only reason I can see for Slashdot to post it is to start another anti-MS feeding frenzy.

    Do different companies in the same industry steal ideas from each other? Yes. Is it news? Not unless they get caught doing it before the other fella, i.e. industrial spying.

    • Re:Sign Needed: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ausoleil ( 322752 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @03:00PM (#5938253) Homepage
      Do different companies in the same industry steal ideas from each other? Yes. Is it news? Not unless they get caught doing it before the other fella, i.e. industrial spying.

      When a company has made a living off of copying other ideas and then proclaiming their "innovation" they are going to draw the ire of those who know better.

      Microsoft, more than any company since at least the halycon days of IBM, does more to make informed people dislike them than anyone else. And they do a better job of that than they do creating computer programs.

      Even died-in-the-wool Microsoft bigots have a lot less than love for the new licensing plans that Microsoft has "offered" ... so it is more than just a few malcontents sitting infront of their keyboard after their third triple espresso of the day.
  • by YetAnotherName ( 168064 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:41PM (#5938077) Homepage
    Not only has Apple been selling cinema-style flat panel displays for several years, but last year it filed patent application 20030002246, titled "active enclosure for computing device," ...

    Help, I'm conflicted.
  • News? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ghoser777 ( 113623 ) <[moc.cam] [ta] [abnerhaf]> on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:42PM (#5938082) Homepage
    Considering this is all that linux distros have been doing for the past several years, how is this news? It seems that this same idea gets rehashed every so often. Yes, I'm not happy that lil' BG turned on Apple, but what do you expect Microsoft to do...

    Microsoft Employee: Look, Apple just added X feature to OS X!
    Bill Gates: Well rats. Since they beat us to the punch, we should just voluntarially not add the feature for the next five to ten years as if they had a patent on it or something.
    Microsoft Employee: Good idea sir!

    No way - as soon as one company adds some service or markets an idea, other companies can start using it as well. Apple's and Linux's big problem isn't microsoft stealing little features and design attributes, it's that people don't realize that both are very stable and allow you to do almost the exact same thing as a PC running windows. If that myth ever goes away, then there's a legitimate chance that users will start to move over at a noticeable rate to alternative platforms for the desktop.

    Matt Fahrenbacher
  • Athens? Yuck! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Craig Maloney ( 1104 ) * on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:43PM (#5938097) Homepage
    Leave it to Microsoft and HP to turn the sleek "I want it" of an Apple into something that looks like a cheap rip-off for a kids toy company. If that's the best they can do in the design, they need to get out and get some fresh ideas.
  • Where's the beef (Score:5, Informative)

    by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:43PM (#5938098)
    That article was short and uninformative. The only "innovative" feature clearly alleged stolen is the particular aspect ratio of the screen, which 1) who cares and 2) isn't an "idea", just a design choice.
  • Ugly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scrotch ( 605605 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:43PM (#5938100)
    That computer looks like an iMac using a painted Commodore 64 keyboard and 2 little arms stuck on the sides. Couldn't they integrate the camera into the screen a little better? And what is that thing hanging off the left side? And why on Earth would it be there? Couldn't that be under the keyboard somewhere?

    I know it's a prototype, but isn't this the stage where you make it beautiful - because it doesn't have to work well yet?

    This is why MS gets accused of copying more often than anyone else. It's a second class rip off. When you steal from something, you should be able to look at the original and improve upon it. This is just playing catch up.
    • by crovira ( 10242 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @03:25PM (#5938455) Homepage
      Its NOT about churning out a first rate product. First rate products are hard to build take time and don't make you very rich very quickly.

      GM, Ford and AMC don't churn out great cars. No Lamborghini's, no Roll's Royces, not even a Beamer. But they churn out a lot of crappy ones and make some money on each one.

      Its all about the Benjamins. M$ would churn out Goethes, Bachs, Rembrants and Piranene's if anybody figured out a way to make a buck doing that.

      But that's not likely is it? So you get "wanna-be" "rip-off" crap that doesn't work well, look good or last long because there's more money in churning crap.
    • Re:Ugly (Score:3, Interesting)

      Personally, I found the camera a little creepy. Is it part of the hardware that MS will require for DRM?
    • Re:Ugly (Score:5, Interesting)

      by phillymjs ( 234426 ) <.gro.ognats. .ta. .todhsals.> on Monday May 12, 2003 @06:04PM (#5940060) Homepage Journal
      And what is that thing hanging off the left side? And why on Earth would it be there?

      It's the handset for the integrated telephone. It does look stupid there, it (along with the camera sticking out on the otherside) ruins whatever sleek appearance the computer might otherwise have.

      This is a perfect example of Microsoft's true innovation-- they do really stupid shit when they're not copying someone else outright <cough>MS Bob<cough>. If you're going to integrate a fucking phone with a computer, do it in a way that leaves people's hands free to operate the computer while they talk! What next, are they gonna hang a memo pad and a pencil on a string off the side of this thing, so you can jot down ideas while you're using the computer?

      If I were designing this thing, I'd build in Bluetooth, and use a rechargable wireless headset for the phone. Hide the recharge bay on the rear edge of the display. Let the headset's mic also be used for speech-to-text and giving verbal commands to the computer. And build in a good mic and speakers so you can use a speakerphone if you don't want to wear the headset or so you don't have to fumble for it if you're not wearing it when there's an incoming call.

      /me runs off to the Patent Office with a hard copy of this post, just in case anyone from Microsoft reads it.

  • The mandatory registration will automatically register you for the New York Times. Then, Internet Explorer will automatically remember your registration ID and password. Oh yeah, maybe mandatory registration will automatically sign you up for MS Passport as well.

    Heck, it reminds me of the Dilbert cartoon where an "InstalSHIELD" type program displays the message "Install Wizard is now placing orders for products you will probably need... Found your credit card number..."

  • by Dthoma ( 593797 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:44PM (#5938112) Journal

    ...of the responses this story will no doubt get when more people start commenting, for the benefit of those lacking time to read them all:

    • Apple copies Microsoft
    • Microsoft copies Apple
    • Everyone copies the hell out of everyone else
    • All of these features were in BSD/Linux/AIX/VMS/SysV since 1995/1990/1985/1930
    • Fuck you all, Apple rulez
    • I know I'm going to get modded down for saying this, but Microsoft has innovated
    • Give one example where Microsoft has innovated
    • An example of Microsoft innovation
    • Five examples of Apple's innovation
    • Somebody screaming that all of these features were copied from an obscure OS from thirty years ago
    • I use Multics! I love it, and you should too!
    • Fuck Linux
    • Fuck Microsoft
    • Shaddap all of you, copying is part of innovation
    • Imagine a Beowulf cluster of iMacs!
    • The latest Microsoft PCs are copies of iMacs
    • Here's a reg-free link to the article
    • Steve Jobs hasn't had an original idea since 1990
    • Bill Gates hasn't had an original idea since 1970
    • ...plus the standard trolls
  • by curtisk ( 191737 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:46PM (#5938123) Homepage Journal
    "We only showed glimpses of the future of Longhorn,Wait until the fall when we'll go into more detail at the Professional Developers Conference."

    Yeah, after they check out Apple's latest OSX version "Panther" [apple.com] in July :)
    They only need a few months to emulate what they see there, right?!

  • by marian ( 127443 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:46PM (#5938132)

    Am I the only one who remembers the "Look and Feel" lawsuit Apple lost after MS first released Windows? MS already knows they can steal anything they like without any significant retribution from either the government or other corporations, which is exactly what they do. The only real innovation coming from Redmond is new and better ways to take other people's technology, add it to their own, then put the original creators out of business.

  • by rgoer ( 521471 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:47PM (#5938146)
    I mean, sure, we can go back and forth with the same old MS vs Apple BS... but there is something new and humorous to point out here:

    Did anybody notice the desktop image used in the promo photo of the MS/HP Athens (top right of atricle page)? It's as if MS said: "you're damned right we're copying Apple. Fuck them! We'll copy their default desktop image, too, pompous bastards that they are!"
  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) ( 613870 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:48PM (#5938154) Journal
    Apple do lead in colors! I just started using XP for the first time in my life. It took me a few minutes to recognize the color scheme. It's just like the stuff in the 0-6 months section of the toy shop. The pastoral background scene and the primary colors are from the same school of design as mom decorating for her new baby.

    Still, XP does boot and shut down fast. That's something worth paying for and I wish Apple would follow.

  • by bmetz ( 523 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:48PM (#5938159) Homepage
    The underlying issue is that people feel that somehow 'their' particular technological provider is the sole benefactor of whatever un-patent-worthy trend in the industry is going on. We should be glad that this isn't the case, but due to 'interface addiction' we see innovation spreading as somehow threatening. All it theatens is the ability to feel superior.

    What, do you think iTunes is visionary? How about the idea of a 'digital media hub'? These are ancient news in the computing world and the fact that one company got to market a year before the other says more about scheduling than it does about innovation.

    The absolute worst is people who think Microsoft making their UI more 'soft' was a direct response to OS X. These UI changes don't get dreamed up at the last minute -- they're part of an evolution that takes years.

    I will admit there are some times when it's pretty blatant that a company's idea is stolen.

    Computer manufacturers noticed apple's sales take off when they went for a more stylish look. Yes, they're copying. It's called capitalism and it's what raises the bar for everyone. What, do you think apple came up the idea of making something they're selling look good?

    It's no different from JC Penny selling some fashion that the GAP came up with. Thanks for the idea, say hello to the free market. We as consumers win, the innovator gets first-to-market advantage. But that's ALL they get.
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:49PM (#5938161)
    That Microsoft HP computer doesnt look at all good or pratical. It reminds me of a dentist chair. If microsoft is pushing towards Home intertainment they need to produce something that looks good in homes. That is where Apple Excells. People can argue about Tech Specs untill they are blue in the face and it will never end. I am at the opinion PC and Macs technically are about equal and a couple Seconds here and there dosent bother me. But apple products have a practical and formfull design to their products. That actually look good in a home or office. And sometimes that is actually more important. If an i-Mac makes your office seem more high tech and clean then it could help make a potentional customers (The ones that pay the cash and often arnt to technical) because your office seems to be organized and modern. And at home a lot of people dont like having Big Off White or Black boxes in their rooms because they seem to be an indrustral design in a non industral room. Most of us dont really care how a computer will look with your room but for others it is more of a consern and the tech specs dont matter that much if they both can get the job in a resionable amount of time.
  • by Sanity ( 1431 ) * on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:52PM (#5938185) Homepage Journal
    The last Linux UI innovation I can recall is themeability - and I am still not sure whether that was a good thing or a bad thing.

    Surely there are adacemic researchers out there probing the frontier of human-computer interaction that could use Linux as the basis for their work? Could it be that X is slowing us down somehow? I mean, think of how much fuss there was over minor and superficial enhancements antialiased fonts and transparent windows. Where are the big ideas?

    The Open Source community has demonstrated that it can play catch-up and play it well, but when are we going to see Windows and Apple stealing important UI features from Linux?

    • by Telex4 ( 265980 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @03:07PM (#5938299) Homepage
      Where are the big ideas?

      I think you'll find there's a lot of big ideas coming through, both in the back- and front-ends of GUI design.

      Take KDE, for example, and its KIOSlave system, which is slowly moving KDE from being a collection of applications to a collection of pluggable components, with things like Konqueror becoming complicated wrappers for these components. The whole desktop is totally integrated - that's big, isn't it?

      Or Enlightenment, whish is going even further to do away with the whole application concept altogether, or so I've heard (I don't use it).

      And even little projects are doing interesting things, like Slicker, experimenting with how we manage our desktop space.

      All these calls are ill-founded, and probaly stem from the fact that it is easy to keep up to date on Microsoft's and Apple's big moves, since you only get the occasional big article, whilst developments in the Free Software world come thick and fast.
    • Surely there are adacemic researchers out there probing the frontier of human-computer interaction that could use Linux as the basis for their work? Could it be that X is slowing us down somehow? I mean, think of how much fuss there was over minor and superficial enhancements antialiased fonts and transparent windows. Where are the big ideas?

      There's nothing to stop someone from inventing FancyUI with all sorts of bells and whistles and installing it in place of X11, but who would use it? All of my cur

    • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @03:31PM (#5938513) Homepage
      The Linux community is throwing innovation away. There are things about X that drew me from PC/Mac to Unix/X then Linux back in the early '90s:
      • Total configurability... you can choose anything from wm2 [all-day-breakfast.com] to KDE [kde.org] to act as your environment and at least once, you could make your environment behave in almost any way you wanted (remember dotfiles?)
      • Nice UI features like focus-follows-mouse, horizontal/vertical maximize, "user placement" of applications (used to always use this in TWM, FVWM, etc.) and so on.
      • Total network transparency.
      • Multi-display, Xinerama, multiple-input, etc. etc. etc.
      • Multiplatform application support (using Basilisk and Crossover, I have Windows applications, Mac OS applications and Linux/Unix applications all on the same desktop).

      The Linux community has recently been rabid in its desire to get rid of such things. The "choose your environemnt" philosophy has been sacrificed in favor of the KDE/GNOME wars, and /. posters regularly bemoan the fact that even TWO choices are available. GNOME and recent distros have done away with focus-follows-mouse, user placement, and similar features totally; you can't even choose them as options in the default installs. Every X story on /. is met with a flood of "WE HATE NETWORK TRANSPARENCY" posts about the X11 protocol. People are more and more pushing for framebuffer+toolkit options that will make the more flexible output/input options unfeasible or at least less abstractable.

      The current Linux community hates innovation. They wouldn't know innovation if it rose up and bit them in the ass. Anything new and different is seen as a kind of dangerous superceding of Windows, which is apparently what users REALLY WANT and Linux is talked about as being WAAAAAAY "behind" (aside from X-hating, KDE/GNOME-hating posts, witness the diatribes the other day against Unix in general in the Gobo story).

      Linux began as almost pure innovation, an OS written from the ground up by GNU and Linus Torvalds. It is network-centric, runs on devices ranging from tiny to supercomputer, supported SMP, software RAID, IPV6, and a million other features before any of the other consumer operating systems. It's still one of the only free pieces of "major" software in the world. The marriage of Unix, new ideas, new technologies and new languages in Linux has created probably the single most productive large-scale computing environment in history, and at one of the lowest price points, too.

      And yet Linux users (especially the converts over the last 3-5 years) can't stop moaning about how Linux will never be successful until it apes Windows and MacOS. And then they complain about a lack of innovation...

      Methinks Linux users are confused. Or maybe they can't see the forest for the trees. Or something.
      • by tuffy ( 10202 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @03:49PM (#5938727) Homepage Journal
        And yet Linux users (especially the converts over the last 3-5 years) can't stop moaning about how Linux will never be successful until it apes Windows and MacOS. And then they complain about a lack of innovation...

        The problem is that the Linux community is populated partly by ex-Unix guys who are quite capable of installing their own window managers and getting by without pointy-clicky desktop environments. But it's also partly populated by ex-Windows guys who feel more at ease with a desktop full of icons and something resembling a "start" menu where their "applications" live. This generates a fair amount of tension within the community itself.

        For example, take a typical X11 flamewar. The old-school Unix guys have spent a lot of time configuring their system for productivity and certainly don't want X11's benefits to be thrown out. But, the Windows folks want to eliminate any hindrances that prevent their latest OS from looking and feeling more like what they were used to.

        Bringing things back on topic, there's little reason Linux folks and X11 users can't pick-and-choose whatever improvements they want to add (antialiased fonts being the latest example). But without a centralized force in charge of UI development, improvements are ultimately decided by program authors themselves. The result is a more conservative development path overall, but that's not necessarily such a bad thing.

      • by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @05:24PM (#5939719) Homepage
        The current Linux community hates innovation.

        That's because the majority of Linux users are ex-Windows users. They don't want a UNIX system; they want a free version of Windows.

    • by Kunta Kinte ( 323399 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @03:35PM (#5938549) Journal
      Surely there are adacemic researchers out there probing the frontier of human-computer interaction that could use Linux as the basis for their work?

      There is innovation in open source, but funding and leadership are issues with innovative open source projects.

      I've been seeing more and more researchers working with commercial products/platforms due to funding issues, at least at the university that I'm at. Here alone microsoft provides millions to fund research.

      It's not about profit really, but about survival. If you're a research professor and you're not bringing in funding, you get fired, or at least put to use by teaching those annoying freshman courses that no one else want's to teach.

      The open source projects that I've seen have mostly been funded by the government. NSF grants, etc. But those are usually smaller and heavilly contested.

      It's my opinion that Open source innovators have a huge funding problem.

      Leadership also plays a factor. Innovative ideas often come with huge risks. A design built by democratic consensus will assume the risk of its most risk adverse members. The conservatives slow down the pace of innovation, but also stabilize the project.

      This gives open source the stability and reliability it is well known for, but holds back innovation.

    • it ain't X (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tom ( 822 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @04:00PM (#5938841) Homepage Journal
      Surely there are adacemic researchers out there probing the frontier of human-computer interaction that could use Linux as the basis for their work? Could it be that X is slowing us down somehow?

      No, it's not X. I've done some HCI work, including some very early contributions to Gnome. It is almost never the technology that slows you down in this area, it's almost always people's mindset.

      One thing that's been really damaging Linux in this regard is the load of people who believe that Linux absolutely has to copy windows. Very obviously, innovation and copycat behaviour don't work well together.
  • osx (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jest3r ( 458429 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:53PM (#5938195)
    OSX is a dream OS ..

    I can compile GNU fileutils .. play Warcraft3 .. run Adobe Photoshop .. and use Cron .. all on the same machine in the same OS -natively- without dualbooting .. and you can actually watch fullmotion video (ie DVD's) behind a transparent terminal window thanks to a true OpenGL rendered desktop.

    Apple has done in a few years what many in the Linux community have been trying to do for ages ..

  • Don't Laugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by w42w42 ( 538630 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:53PM (#5938197)

    I sincerely hope that Apple Execs aren't 'laughing' at msft longhorn, for having features in '05 that they've had since '01. If I recall, they did the same thing regarding Win95, and look at the resulting market share for Apple when that came out.

    Unfortunately, in the consumer space, technical merrit isn't everything.

  • by TFloore ( 27278 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @02:54PM (#5938205)
    Really... Windows 2005 will have things that have been in MacOSX since 2001, huh?

    Windows 95 copied things that had been in MacOS since... 1986 or so?

    The way I count things, MS is getting better, right? They went from 9 years behind to 4 years behind, in only 10 years.
    • Windows 95 copied things that had been in MacOS

      This is a myth. There were things in Win95 that had long been in in the Mac. But Microsoft didn't copy the Mac. They copied OS/2 Warp.

      The reason this myth got started is because most tech reporters at the time (as now) only use Windows. They had to compare this new look to something in their experience, but they didn't have any experience outside of Windows. But they did notice that some people in the publication's art department were using that Mac. So they
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @03:08PM (#5938311) Homepage Journal
    OS/2 had all the features of Windows 95 back in 1992, and those features were for the most part better implemented. Look where OS/2 is now...

    While OSX does enjoy several advantages over OS/2, I am not convinced that it's going to be enough to buy Apple any long-term gain. I suspect that any move Microsoft makes against the Open Source community will also be very dangerous to Apple. At the very least, Apple is going to have to remain vigilant if they are to avoid any potential dirty tricks.

  • by repetty ( 260322 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @03:10PM (#5938322) Homepage
    I remember when IBM announced their first personal computer. Of course, Apple said something like "Welcome. Serioiusly."

    Then Apple got it's head kicked in.

    In our world, quality does NOT sell computers. This new Microsoft machine doesn't have to be nearly as good as a Macintosh to be good enough for people who don't know any better. That principal, already, has been proven.

    Thankfully, there is one important difference between those days and today: Apple is working its arse off and not just talking shit.

    Apple is definitely pushing the industry -- that has always been its charter. Let us all hope that they don't forget all the obligations that role entails.

    • Its all about marketing.

      Apple has a new marketing and advertising team.

      The Imac is a perfect example. Joe six pack sees the cool imac vs an ugly biege pc, he is going to pick the imac.

      MS use to have great marketing. However Jobs has fired and replaced the whole team when he took over. Its quite good but consumers like gui's.

      If its as good as macosx it will hurt apple. If its ugly like XP it might benefit them. I do not know of anyone who likes XP. However longhorn supports brilliant colors in high end m
      • by repetty ( 260322 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @05:26PM (#5939742) Homepage
        "Its all about marketing."

        There's some truth to that. Not as much as you probably believe, but some, at least. I used to say they same thing about Microsoft. I've come to realize that it's really more about politics than marketing.

        Also, I disagree with your supporting example. The iMacs have done very well, but it's hardly the case you describe wherein Joe Six-Pack sees a colorful iMac and buys it over a beige PC.

        People decide to purchase Macintosh systems because they make the conscious decision to do so. Same case exists for people who make the decision to run Linux or Unix or OS/2 or Be or any of the many other non-Microsoft operating systems.

        By definition, no Windows user has ever made the decision to run Windows--instead, they are born into the situation. Almost to the last person, Windows users lack any meaningful understanding of the alternatives available to them. What motive do they have? What opportunity for knowledge of the alternatives are available to them?

        I'm not blaming anybody for this situation. It's just how things are.

        By virtue of proportions, Linux users and Macintosh users are well exposed to Windows and Microsoft's World(TM). How familiar are Windows users with Mac OS X or Linux? Which type of user has had the opportunity and resources to make the most informed decision?

        Joe Six-Pack doesn't buy iMacs. He bought Packard-Bells by the truckload, then Gateways, and now Dells. In the future, Joe Six-Pack will buy whatever commodity PC is being produced for the masses by the most successful commodity PC maker, and he won't burn any brain cells doing it.

        And somewhere inside this mess is marketing.
    • by thatguywhoiam ( 524290 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @04:06PM (#5938912)
      I remember when IBM announced their first personal computer. Of course, Apple said something like "Welcome. Serioiusly."

      Ah, but you forgot the most hubristic - and funniest - ad that Apple ran.

      At the launch of Windows 95, Apple ran a full-page ad (NYT?) that said:



      Your point is taken, though. Let's see if Apple is awake this time. Something tells me they are.

  • hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IWantMoreSpamPlease ( 571972 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @03:10PM (#5938323) Homepage Journal
    From the summary: "...'The one thing Apple's providing now is leadership in colors'..."

    And this is the *best* thing MS can copy? Whatever happened to increasing security? Opening standards? Interoperability? Customer support? Fixing bugs?

    Nope...gotta get them colours right...
  • Oh, wow (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Monday May 12, 2003 @03:19PM (#5938405) Homepage
    These stories should be posted on a Mac advocacy website. This is the home of the folks whose crowning achievement remains cloning [gnome.org] whatever [kde.org] Microsoft [microsoft.com] does [lindows.com].

    Oh, and BTW, Apple has a definite point here. The difference is that Apple took an unfriendly OS and turned it into a consumer product.

  • by Slime-dogg ( 120473 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @03:19PM (#5938406) Journal

    Microsoft now announces:

    The arrival of the nExT generation desktop! This desktop will include all-new technology, such as scalable icons and a specialized bar at the bottom that we like to call "the port." You can now land programs in the port, and ship programs from the port.

    At the windows developers meeting, we will be unvailing the UCAPI, or universal component API. This API will be a C++/C# centric API, where MS nExT developers can place descendant classes of current coponents in a directory, and they will be automatically "turned on" for use in all programs that used the original component! Imagine the possibilities, such as a multi-threaded spell-checking text box!

    We at MS are very excited to be the frontrunners in this brand-new nExT-generation technology!

  • by taaminator ( 185731 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @03:24PM (#5938444)
    Let me see --

    Windows (19)95 was a brand new operating system concept never conceived before -- with the exception of Macintosh OS (1988)

    iWin (2004) is a brand new computer concept never conceived before -- with the exception of iMac (1997) then iMac FP

    Reverse engineering is the sincerest form of flattery. Plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery. Copyright violation is the sincerest form of flattery. -- M$ ripping you off is the sincerest form of flattery.

    Run, Apple, run!

    This is reminiscent of Sony. Sony was only 15% of the consumer electronics market (compared to National/Panasonic), so Sony had to innovate or die. As Sony innovated, others would take Sony's ideas, reverse engineer them, modify them, and create competing products. [Revive Beta versus VHS argument, here] For example, Sony developed and sold the only digital camera with memory card and modem in the early 80s. It did not catch on and Sony was about to cancel the product line when a reporter took pictures of an aircraft crash, sent them to his editor, and his newspaper scooped everyone with pictures. Now, few remember the original Sony digital camera with stick and modem and how Sony helped lead the digital revolution .

    Sony leads, others follow.

    Apple innovates, M$ assimilates ...

  • I'm amused that (Score:5, Insightful)

    by porkchop_d_clown ( 39923 ) <.mwheinz. .at. .me.com.> on Monday May 12, 2003 @04:01PM (#5938864) Homepage
    Even the background image on the Athens PC looks vaguely like the default OS X background image.

    I'm also amused that no one seems to have noticed that while none of the individual ideas MS is pushing are wildly new, the level integration of basic work tasks will be very impressive if it works as hyped...
  • by xyrw ( 609810 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @04:09PM (#5938944) Homepage

    Would anyone be surprised if Longhorn turns out to be BETTER than OS X?

    Would anyone be shocked if, alternatively, by 2005, OS X had progressed to a further point than Longhorn then?

    And which of you would switch just because of that? As for me, I'm sticking to the Mac anyway.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2003 @04:18PM (#5939029)
    "... I don't think." -- Bill Gates
  • by Aaron Denney ( 123626 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @06:04PM (#5940069) Homepage
    I always figured Microsoft would come up with a new name for the same old bull.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell