News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
Mail Starting 4/10/97
I don't know whether Apple is being stupid or evil, but I am pretty sure it is one or the other. I am speaking in regards to the plan being rumored, that Apple will charge clone makers a license fee proportionate to the speed of the processor in the hardware.
From: email@example.com (Adam Rice);
Sent at 4/11/97; 11:06:12 AM;
Apple & MacOS Licensing
This is nonsense.
Apple can't have it both ways: it can't encourage cloning and then dictate what kind of clones get built (even though it has been trying, with its insistence on licensing motherboard designs). This step is going even further: Apple is essentially telling clone makers what their business models should be.
I hope that Apple stops being stupid/evil and abandons this plan. If they don't, however, I see a way out for the clonemakers. They sell all their systems with, say, a 60 MHz 601 chip on a daughtercard. Presumably this would entitle them to the lowest licensing fee possible (rumoured to be $10 per unit). At time of sale, however, the customer is given the option of selling the daughtercard back to the clonemaker and buying an upgrade. Unless Apple's lawyers have already accounted for this approach (which wouldn't surprise me), this would presumably undercut Apple's licensing rules and stay within the letter of the rules. After all, Apple couldn't retroactively charge a higher fee for clone-owners who buy an upgrade card, right?
This whole thing raises another can of worms that nobody has addressed yet: When I bought my Power Computing clone, it came with a copy of System 7.5. Recently I bought System 7.6 directly from Apple. Under the rumored plan, if I wanted to buy an upgrade to the OS, would I need to reveal what kind of machine I had, and then be charged accordingly? That would go over with consumers like a bucket of lead. The OS and the clone license are admittedly different issues, but as we move towards PPCP the two are going to converge. Of course, the move towards PPCP has been slower than molasses, and I reckon this is a big part of the reason.
Tony: I like your attitude. That bit reflects some of what's going on. I keep in touch with a lot of Mac developers. You know who I hang out with, don't you? In that world, the switch is happening. I'm tuning you into something you may not be aware of. Or maybe you are...
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dave Winer);
Sent at ;
Re:Great Walls of FUD
Where are you getting this information from? Or is this just a good start to your FUD rant?
From: email@example.com (Tony Jacobs);
Sent at 4/11/97; 9:12:27 AM;
Re:Great Walls of FUD
"Major transition"? Where's the data? Where's the facts.
If this were true, aren't computer systems cheaper nowadays? Didn't they save tons of money by not switching earlier?
Hmmm. Great walls of something alright!
I don't think Java makes any sense at all unless you think that write-once, run-anywhere, is important. If the Mac fails, and Unix slides into insignificant market share, then why bother with Java? As you have been pointing out, there are already much better tools on Windows. So it seems to me that the success of the Mac is essential to the success of Java. Otherwise, it has no reason to exist. Am I missing something??
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Springer);
Sent at 4/10/97; 8:10:12 PM;
Re:Great Walls of FUD
something you might be interested in. a couple of weeks ago you mentioned john ousterhout's white paper on scripting languages vs. system programming languages in a davenet. don't know if you're aware of some of the recent context behind that.
From: email@example.com (Mark Roseman);
Sent at 4/10/97; 8:13:35 PM;
Sun, Java, and Tcl/Tk (was: Great Walls of FUD)
sun's been hosting john and the tcl/tk group in the labs since a bit before java came out, and have been pretty good about supporting it there. in the near future the tcl/tk guys will be spun out of the labs into a separate business unit, with correspondingly increased funding etc. to try to make a go of it as the "scripting language of the internet". i believe this will happen officially within about a month. john's white paper i suspect is mostly intended to explain why sun is backing two internet languages.
it should be interesting to see how that turns out. there's certainly not universal agreement in sun about tcl/tk, certainly from some of the java guys who are probably a bit too arrogant (john had tried to get them earlier to adopt tk as their gui, which had already been picked up by a lot of the other "little languages" since its a fairly mature high level toolkit, but they'd claimed that awt just needed "a bit of spit and polish". gack). eric schmidt had been a big tcl/tk supporter, but apparently even without him now there are a number of other high level people who to some degree "get it" about why both tcl/tk and java are worth having around.
so there's at least one other thing out on the horizon for sun, at least if they try to push it for real.
If Microsoft is evil today, then Apple in 1985 was evil.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Daniel K. Allen (Visual C++));
Sent at 4/10/97; 11:17:16 AM;
Re:Great Walls of FUD
I worked at Apple from 1985 until 1994. I worked on the Mac Plus with Jerome Coonen, on HFS with Steve Capps and the Brufman, on MacsBug, on the MPW Shell, on MultiFinder with Erich Ringewald and Phil Goldman, on HyperCard with Bill Atkinson, and with all of the great people that made the Mac the Mac. They are still my friends. I was lucky to work at Apple in those great years from 1985 to 1989 when Apple did amazing things. Gassee was great to work with, even better than Jobs.
Anyway, I've worked at Microsoft since then. When I came to Microsoft at the end of 1994 it felt like Apple felt like in 1985. Everyone at Apple was very worried: almost without exception they told me that I was going to work for "the dark side". They meant it!
Microsoft is not evil. Microsoft today is doing what Apple did in 1985: innovate, try new things, new interfaces, work hard, fix bugs, ship products, and do it all again and again. Apple used to have free soft drinks, and when Microsoft gets rid of their free soft drinks then I think we'll see the languishing and the demise of Microsoft, but for now, it feels like 1985 at Apple. There is excitement here. There is a sense that what we do matters and effects millions of people.
This is not to say that Microsoft does not have its problems. Size, number of projects, and working across many teams limits our effectiveness on occasion, but we have a leader that was only approached by JLG (Gassee) when he was at the head of Apple.
I love your DaveNet news. I send your comments to lots of people here at MS and people here respect your views, even though most of them are not Mac folks like you and I are.
Thanks for listening,