Developers split on adoption of Rhapsody OS

CobraBoy! (
Tue, 20 May 1997 07:19:11 -0800

By Erik Sherman

Independent software developers certainly aren't writing off
Rhapsody, but they are approaching
Apple's next-generation operating system with caution. Most
significantly, they are not yet announcing
even the intention to provide native Rhapsody applications.

"Right now we are not in a position to comment," said Tom
Swinford, marketing manager at Now
Software Inc. in Portland, Ore. "We are developing some
products and taking a look at what's
happening with Rhapsody and will incorporate what makes sense."

A spokesman for a Mac software company who did not want to be
identified said his organization must
examine whether reprogramming software for Rhapsody is a
valid use of resources. "One thing we all
have to realize is that existing PowerPC code will run under
Rhapsody," he said. "Maybe that's why
we're less committed, because under Rhapsody the PowerPC
version should run fine."

Finding a market
Terry Kunysz, CEO of Casady & Greene Inc. of Salinas, Calif.,
said his company plans to provide a
native Rhapsody version of its popular Conflict Catcher
product, but Kunysz said he still has concerns
for the company's games and other titles.

"I'm in a unique position on [porting] because Jeff Robbin,
who wrote the product, is a lead developer
in Apple on the Blue Box," Kunysz said. "He's aware of what's
needed under Rhapsody.

"There'll be a Conflict Catcher for Rhapsody," said Kunysz,
noting that he still has some concerns:
"Which customers are going to switch to Rhapsody? Which of my
customers in the entertainment market
are going to Rhapsody, and how fast do I need to make the
transition with my developers?"

Dangling like a carrot at the end of a stick is the potential
of writing cross-platform applications for the
Mac and Windows markets simultaneously. That would make
Rhapsody adoption on PowerPC
hardware less critical.

Growing pains
Since the NeXT environment uses technology from other
companies, such as Adobe Systems Inc.,
pre-existing contractual agreements limit what Apple can do.
With Rhapsody as a strict superset of the
current OpenStep APIs, the previous arrangements may continue
to control licensing prices. "The
[current] pricing is unacceptable," said Jordan Mattson,
senior Rhapsody evangelist for Apple.

Another software-vendor concern has been the work needed to
change technologies. According to
Mattson, it is possible to begin working on Rhapsody
applications. "The Yellow Box is a strict superset
of today's OpenStep APIs. If you start building to those APIs
today, you can take that application and
recompile it and it will be a Rhapsody application," he said.

Greg Galanos, president and chief technologist at Metrowerks
Inc. of Austin, Texas, offered additional
solutions: "We will be shipping a library called Latitude
that takes Mac OS calls and redirects them to
Rhapsody," he said.

Yet many companies looking to eventually port Mac OS
applications want to know about the future of
current technologies such as AppleScript and Apple events.
Casady & Greene's Kunysz said his
company is concerned about the speed with which Apple can
implement these technologies into
Rhapsody: "There's been a lot of communications, but they've
been more fluff-oriented," he said.


There is no off position on the genius switch. ...David Letterman

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