An Orderly Transition
(C) 1998
Andrew Stone, jacked in from the WWDC port.

As the smoke and dust clears from Steve Job's simple yet convincing plan to bring the high priests of the Macintosh faithful into the next millenium, certain things are emerging clearly. First of all, absent here in San Jose is the tolling of the death knell and total disgust/disbelief that permeated WWDC after Dr. Amelio's meanderings last year. In its stead are relaxed yet excited Macintosh developers, who know that their beloved OS is safe for as long as these things can be safe.

For now, the Mac developer has 3 very viable paths, and the time to execute them properly, plus a guarantee that there will an orderly movement from MacOS 8 to MacOS X. He (although I like to interchange "she" sometimes instead of "he", here at WWDC it's a guy's guy world!) can simply do nothing - and the app will run on Mac OS X. He can make minor (less than 10%) modifications which ditch old, crufty, barnacle-covered code and adopt the new "Carbon" API, and then his Mac App will take advantage of the new features of MacOS X. Finally, and in the case of new development the recommended path, he can choose to write to the Yellow Box API (which we hear is yet again going to be renamed!).

What does this mean to Rhapsody/Yellow Box developers? First and foremost, we are doing the right thing: my Number Nine theory came to pass! Number Nine goes like this: the world is woven in a mysterious way which links the Beatles (by the way, John Lennon sang the first song after Steve's keynote yesterday), pschychedelics, the Macintosh and Yellow Box - and parallels the old computer science saw about "What language will we be using in the year 2020"? The answer is, "I don't know, but it will be called Fortran". In the exact same way, Mac OS X IS Rhapsody, but it will be called Mac OS. And this is how it has to be.

And now, the Road Ahead is clearly marked, is better lighted, is less rocky and steep than it appeared last year at this time for the Macintosh developer community. When a luminary from the Mac press asked me what I thought about the keynote, I replied, "Steve said almost exactly what Gil said last year, but he said it in a way that resonated with the hearts and souls of those who are going to create the future of the Macintosh, so now it's going to happen."

And the best news for Rhapsody afficionados is Customer Release 1.0 is being readied for this fall!

Gotta run...