Rhapsody is dead, Long live Mac OS X!
(C) 1998 Andrew C. Stone
A rather dreary day in New York City, a weary red-eyed Steve Jobs, but it was a cheery crowd at the MacWorld keynote speech this morning at Javits Center. The net.rumor was that Steve was going to do a remote broadcast, and after seeing how terribly cheesy Bill Gates looked on screen via satellite at MW 98 in San Francisco, it was the right decision to be there in person. The delighted Mac Faithful gave him a rousing standing ovation. For those of you who saw the WWDC 98 keynote, the message was basically the same, including the inordinate amount of focus on Microsoft products. But the news of the day for Yellow Box enthusiasts was even news to Apple staff on the Rhapsody team. For software engineers who think they can code fast, remember, the Marketing Doctors of Spin (MDs) can code even faster!
There will be no Rhapsody 1.0 - why bother? There's a much better name for the OS codenamed "Rhapsody" anyway - Mac OS X, Server. Who, with due diligence, would buy into an operating system slated for only one release? I'm one YellowBox/Mac OS X developer that thinks this is a brilliant move. Now, the future shall be less discontinuous for Macintosh developers and users.
There are superficial comparisons that can be made to the Microsoft model of marketing both a consumer and industrial strength operating system. NT 3.5 was rolled out before it completely interoperated with Windows 95, just as Blue Box today, although fully functional, is not the same as having Carbon apps existing in their own process space. This shall be the case when Mac OS X (User?) ships Summer/Fall of '99, with Beta due as early as 6 months from now. The main difference is that Apple's technology, even as it stands today, is more robust than the shipping version of NT. And there already exists a suite of killer apps for this "server". It's going to be a design server, from our point of view!
When you consider all the network and management products that Windows users have to buy and suffer through, it becomes apparent that Apple's use of proven technology is the right choice for success in the twenty-first century. The robust BSD 4.4 was developed over the course of the last 30 years by our most rigorous and demanding engineers - academia and the military. Moreover, the fact that the MACH kernel and BSD 4.4 parts of this code base are being enhanced and maintained by academia and the free software movement is further evidence of right thinking by Apple's strategists. The winds of change are blowing, so the wise put up sails. Finally, no royalties mean that they can deliver the new OS at a lower, enticing price point.
Within 90 days, anyone will be able buy the Mac OS X server, at which point you can substantiate my claims. May I recommend an iMac? Gotta get back to the floor!
July 8 2:24 EDT 1998