Wednesday, January 8, 1997 by Dave Winer.
Apple hasn't bought a song yet, but yesterday they came close. One of my favorite musicians, Peter Gabriel, was on stage. Oh man I was hoping he'd play a tune for us.
Remember that Microsoft bought the Stones 'Start It Up' as the theme of the transition from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95. Good move.
Gabriel's 'Steam' would have made a grrrreat theme song! Tongue in cheek, a little self-deprecating humor, especially expressed in music, never hurt.
"How you feel can make it real! Real is anything you can see."
Yeah! I like it.
Hey -- I'm in tradeshow mode, getting just a little sleep, lots of talking, dancing and just a little thinking and reflecting. Listening to Peter Gabriel this morning. Steam! Totally.
Apple is a moving target, but they're moving in the right direction. Doing more listening and assimilating. I can see much of what I've been asking for in the new direction statements, and even some things I like that I haven't asked for.
Everyone wants Apple to win, but we don't expect it. Apple is like the Mets. If you don't remember what happened with the Mets, check out The Baseball God, 4/24/95.
I'm not predicting success, because out there in the user's land, the Mac is under a lot of pressure. This world is getting smaller. How much smaller can it get and still sustain a big platform vendor and lots of developers? Hey, it's a long shot, but it's worth a bet.
A lot of people asked why Muhammad Ali was there yesterday. My little kid, the one inside me, was inspired. I'm the greatest! Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. I remember and admire the young Ali. He's still there, pretty and arrogant, and right!
I think it was a great move. Symbols are memorable, words fade. I'll remember sitting four rows back from the Great One for the rest of my life.
I also think I'll remember the return of Steve Jobs, for different reasons. No one asked why Jobs was there yesterday, but I'll answer the question anyway. It's a transition. Jobs, the father of the Next operating system, passed off to Amelio and his team, for better or worse. It's out of his hands now, and that's appropriate.
He gave the standard Next pitch, one final time. Now comes the struggle, as his team, lead by Avi, negotiates the real deal. What will the new Mac OS look like? We have some pictures, but lots of boxes need filling in.
Developers who think on their feet, who move quickly and are flexible, will find that they can play a significant role in the attempted revival. Power is up for grabs if you're powerful. Vaccuums everywhere you look. Steam! Cooool.
Lower the pressure, and water turns into steam at a lower temperature. In a vaccuum all there is is steam.
So, if you're a Mac developer, wanting to invest in Apple platforms in early 1997, which API would you develop for? I asked this question at yesterday's press conference. The answer was on the right track, but it wasn't the answer I wanted to hear.
Apple's CTO, Ellen Hancock, firstname.lastname@example.org, said that if you're shipping a product in 1997, you should use the Mac OS APIs, but if the shipment is planned for after that, she believed that the Next APIs are the way to go.
More flexibility than Apple of the past. During the last API transition, from System 6 to System 7, believe it or not, Apple asked developers not to ship products at all! "If you must..." they said. Ohhhh. Not a good thing for a platform vendor to say to developers. It spoils all the fun.
Hancock's answer was better, but the best answer would have been: "We're delighted that you're investing in an Apple platform. Look at all your options, make the best decision for you and your customers. If your market and technology are well-served by the features of System 7, by all means, use those APIs. If it makes more sense to use the Next APIs, go for it. Either way, we support and thank you for your investment in our platforms and for your trust of Apple."
It's important that the platform vendor not take a side counter to the interests of its developers. We're sentient beings, our realities add a lot to the mix. Some would say they're everything! So if a developer chooses to stay with System 7, as many will, it would be a good idea for Apple to align their interests to be compatible with such a choice.
Anyway, Apple is listening well now, so I'm confident that we will be able to get this worked out in a positive way.
Jim Barksdale from Netscape, Kim Polese of Marimba and Eric Schmidt of Sun all appeared on stage in support of Apple. They were all great -- positive statements for the future, an assurance that the Mac will be well-supported by companies with high PE ratios.
Lots of headroom -- shared with the platform with collapsing ceilings. This is good, very much along the lines of what I've been asking for. Let's work together. We're all more powerful if other people are empowered. Let's have fun! I say (and have said many times) and that sentiment was echoed in the presentations from Barksdale, Polese and Schmidt.
I was lucky, during the press conference, I sat across a small aisle from Schmidt. We exchanged whispers and I got a better picture of how compatible our interests are. I gave him my phone number. I want to visit Sun and see how we can create better connections between Mac web developers and Sun's Java and server platforms. A Solaris version of Frontier? Yeah, I'd like to see that happen. Better system support for Java code? Makes sense to me.
Power is where you imagine it. The world can be reshaped, if you want it to.
The final bit of theater for this DaveNet.
I'm on the show floor. Schmoozing. One group on my side of the aisle. Another group gathered around Kim Polese, on the other side of the aisle. We're laughing! It's fun. Coool. Down the middle of the aisle comes a big entourage. A TV crew and lots of PR people with notebooks. Gil Amelio is leading the entourage.
Gil talks to Kim. He finishes. I shout his name. Gil! He comes over. We shake hands. I sense this man wants hug. So... I give him one! Even I'm amazed that I did it.
Hey, I never felt like giving John Sculley or Steve Jobs a hug. Like Larry Ellison, they radiate energy that says stay far away. Amelio radiates a different kind of energy. I don't think he bargained for the kind of attention that Apple gets. When he first took the job, I wondered if he knew what he was getting into.
I watched him on stage yesterday, carefully, as everyone did. Personal computer technology is clearly not his thing. He stumbled and rambled. In contrast to Steve Jobs' well-rehearsed pitch for Next, Amelio is a neophyte in this world. But Jobs' pitch is so ingrained, there's so little flexibility or creativity in his position.
From my point of view, we can work with Amelio. It's worth another shot. What does it cost us to give it a try? Hey -- the man received his hug. He even gave back, with a smile.
It was all captured on TV. Maybe they'll post a QuickTime movie of it on the Apple website. If they do, I'll point to it from the News & Updates page.
Real is anything you see...
PS: CTO stands for Chief Technical Officer.
PPS: Namaste means "The divinity in my being acknowledges the divinity in yours." It's a Buddhist concept that has a lot of relevence in the software world of 1997. See Go with the Flow, 7/19/95, for a discussion.