Copland = OS/2

CobraBoy (
Fri, 4 Oct 1996 22:37:07 -0700

Been there done that....

Apple Copland OS May Orphan Old Apps

c.1996 San Francisco Examiner

CUPERTINO, Calif. - In a daring move, Apple
Computer Inc. plans to
develop an operating system that would not be
hobbled by the requirement
to run all of today's Macintosh programs, but would
be free to tap the power
of Apple's latest hardware.

In an interview at Apple's headquarters, Chief
Technology Officer Ellen
Hancock outlined a two-prong plan: to extend the
life of the current Mac
System 7.5 with periodic upgrades while redesigning
next-generation Copland operating system with a new

Hancock said she was willing to sacrifice
``backward compatibility'' - the
ability to run existing Mac programs - if that was
the price of creating a more
powerful operating system.

``This may sound dramatically different, and in
some ways it is different,''
Hancock said. ``If we have to pick between backward
compatibility and new
functions, we're voting for new functions.''

An operating system controls the basic functions of
a computer, and
regulates the functioning of the word processing
and other programs that
people commonly use. Apple wants to develop an
operating system that
will be less prone to glitches, and will make it
easier to run more than one
program at a time.

The Copland project, which Apple first announced in
spring 1994, was
supposed to add stability while allowing Mac owners
to run their favorite
old programs. But Hancock, who joined Apple in
July, said it had proven
technically impossible to have it both ways. In
mid-August she halted
Copland development, but until outlining the
dual-track strategy, had not
indicated how the project might resume.

``When people said Copland was dead that is
inaccurate,'' Hancock said.
``What we have done is shifted our thoughts'' by
jettisoning the
compatibility requirement, which has already put
Copland more than a year
past schedule.

Industry observers called Hancock's plan a gutsy
but risky move because
Apple will have to convince customers and software
developers that the
new operating system - which has no delivery date -
will be worth the
expense of buying or developing word processors,
spreadsheets and other

Henry Norr, an editor at San Francisco's MacWeek
Magazine, said Apple
must provide more details about its plans to get
customers excited about it.

``I was always of the camp that said they made
backward compatibility too
much of an issue,'' Norr said. ``If they explain
the benefits of making a
break to get a powerful new architecture, I think
developers will go along.''

Snn Wrixon, executive director of the Berkeley
Macintosh Users' Group
(BMUG), said she wasn't surprised Apple had finally
admitted Copland
couldn't have it both ways.

``If I were them I'd do the same thing: cut my
losses and move ahead,''
Wrixon said. But she said many of BMUG's 12,000
users who have older
Macs ``will not be happy'' the new operating system
will leave them

Hancock said Apple hopes to calm these concerns by
adding features to
System 7.5, and has already scheduled upgrades for
January and July 1997.

The two-prong strategy is a retreat for Apple,
especially compared to rival
Microsoft Corp., which managed to make its Windows
95 operating system
run programs written for DOS and Windows 3.1.

The strategy also poses risks that customers and
software developers, who
won't be able to pop their old programs into the
new operating system,
might defect from the Mac.

``One of the ways you hold on to users is with
backward compatibility,'' said
Steve Jasik, an Apple software developer in Palo
Alto. ``If you have to get all
new software to run on the new operating system the
expense could scare
you off.''


Inertia makes morons of a lot of people. _______________________________________ If you want the party over, take the disc out of the stereo.

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