Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI)
(c) 1998 Andrew C. Stone. All Rights Reserved.
    Now that its been 6 weeks since Apple's World Wide Developer Conference, and we've had a chance to figure out what's been proposed by Apple, I'd like to share some thoughts on the differences between where we were 1 year ago and where we are right now.
    Last year, there was a lot of discontentment, discouragement and even rage amongst the old-time Macintosh developers who felt like they were being forced along yet another set of API's doomed to be dropped right when they were about to release software a new killer app built around this API. Also evident was the large and gaping chasm between the "ex-NeXTers" and the diehard Macintosh folks, both within Apple and the third party developer community. The major Apple software houses remained very noncommittal.
    I am pleased to report that a new synergy has arisen that has begun erasing the lines between the two groups, both of which are vital and necessary to the success of Mac OS X. The Macintosh developers who originally were quite skeptical of Yellow Box have been, much to their credit, open minded, have actually played with Rhapsody Developer Release 1 (RDR1), and are hundreds of times more enthusiastic this year about Yellow Box then they were at the rather depressing WWDC of '97.

    And amongst the old-time NeXT developer community, although I still hear rather disparaging comments about the use of
Charcoal as the default message font, is this growing understanding that our existence is in jeopardy if we don't embrace the simple fact that we are all Macintosh developers now! The richness of Rhapsody Developer Release 2 (RDR2) is due in large part to the infusion of Mac talent and human usability know-how into the old OpenStep model. I expect this trend to continue with Rhapsody 1.0, which will be sufficiently "Mac-like" to please even those who bleed in six colors. Of course, the use of the new platinum Apple logo should staunch that blood flow!
     The basic concept of Mac OS X is simple - use the tried and true robust and secure Rhapsody OS under the hood of all the beloved Mac technologies like Finder, QuickTime, Color Synch, etc. The implications are much further reaching since applications built with Yellow Box can run on the other 96% of the computers in use today. And those Windoze users will never know that a Mac fanatic designed and debugged the software which looks and feels for all intents and purposes like a Windoze app when you are running under Yellow Box for Windows.
     The old NeXT community use to bemoan the fact that bugs were found, reported but never fixed by the overworked and slightly overwrought NeXT engineers. RDR2 is living proof that old bugs can be shaken out, and to paraphrase an ex-NeXT engineer, "It's incredible - all these resources and quality assurance testing - if I need to know something, there is someone at Apple who is the definitive resource, and I immediately find out what I need to know."
     I absolutely welcome the "total is greater than the sum of its parts" attitude now becoming the norm within Apple. Are we such slaves to the past that we cannot envision a future which encompasses the best of both worlds? Even I like Charcoal now, as the latest
Create reveals, and I am very grateful for the symbiotic magick fountaining forth from Cupertino.