Sent: 1/6/97; 10:14:45 AM
From: jkempner@atnf.CSIRO.AU (Joshua Kempner)
I've been reading your DaveNets about the NextStep transition with great interest, but as someone who doesn't develop for Macintosh (I write software for Unix) I've felt a bit left out of your discussion. While I don't write Macintosh software, I do use it a lot, and felt like sharing an end-user's perspective with you.
As a power user I love the Mac OS. I wish it were a bit more Unix-like at times, but for what I do with it, it serves my purposes well. I love the consistency of interface, the interaction between applications, and the sheer simplicity of it. Most of all, though, I love that it works. If Apple moves purposefully towards NextStep and the developers follow them, I'll follow too. Transitions like this from one OS to another on a single platform are relatively common and I've seen them done smoothly with minimal hassle for the end users (witness the Windows 3.x to '95 to NT transition). I've also seen it done not so well, by Sun in the transition from SunOS 4.1 to Solaris. Solaris broke most of the available software, requiring users to start over mostly from scratch. This was a big hassle, and the only reason I stuck with it was because I had no choice. Mac users do have a choice, and a botched transition would be disasterous.
If Apple makes this transition like Microsoft did for their OS, I'll follow happily and with great enthusiasm, as it seems will the developers. If, on the other hand, the transition is too abrupt and too complete all at once, I'll drop the Mac OS and switch to Windows or Linux. I wouldn't like to see the new OS be too conciliatory to the "old way" of doing things; some things simply have to be sacrificed. But it's possible to sacrifice things slowly and strategically, like Microsoft did with Windows '95, and in the end everyone comes out on top; it's a win-win. I like the Mac OS and want to have reasons to stick with it. I hope Apple gives them to me.
Joshua Kempner Room 8 Australia Telescope National Facility Mandelbaum House work phone: (02)9372 4274 University of Sydney email:firstname.lastname@example.org Sydney, NSW 2006 WWW: www.physics.oberlin.edu/~jkempner/ Australia
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