APRIL 9, 1996 [Exclusive]
Dual booting: Copland, 7.5 to share Mac
By David Morgenstern (David_Morgenstern@macweek.com)
Attendees at a recent user group show in Berkeley, Calif., were given a peek
at the latest developer release of Copland, the forthcoming Mac OS.
Peter Lowe, one of four Apple product managers for the operating system,
showed off Copland interface features to the crowd at MacFest '96, hosted by
BMUG Inc. He also ran several current applications, including ClarisImpact
2.0 and Microsoft Excel 5.0; predicted a street price equal to System 7.5
(about $90); and said the final release is expected at the end of 1996 or
early in 1997.
According to Lowe, compatibility with current applications is the highest
priority for Copland, but he said "the level of compatibility for extensions
and drivers will be about zero." Apple will include many installers for
third-party products with the OS release.
Lowe said several key components of the system, such as the microkernel,
were "baked," while work on other parts has barely begun. The latter group
includes many drivers and APIs for low-level I/O.
Calling Microsoft Corp.'s preview program for Windows 95 "marketing genius,"
Lowe said Apple will also have a fall public beta release to shake out bugs
and improve compatibility. Copland will offer users a "transition phase"
from System 7.5, Lowe said. The system will support a dual-start-up
capability that will let users switch between new and old operating systems.
Apple's multimedia technologies will run faster in Copland, which will sport
fully Power Mac-native versions of QuickDraw 3D, QuickTime VR and QuickTime
Conferencing. Lowe predicted QuickDraw 3D "will be as pervasive a part of
applications as QuickTime is today," though Copland's new interface elements
will not implement the 3-D technology.
Similarly, Copland will not use OpenDoc for its core features. Apple is
investigating ways in which OpenDoc parts or containers might be integrated
into the Finder, he said.
Much of the April 5 demonstration focused on Copland's expanded user
interface, especially the multi-user preference capability called
In addition to an Appearance utility that lets users choose from different
window frames, menu styles and desktop appearances, Lowe showed animated
sprites running in the background as an active desktop pattern and running
in the foreground as a screen saver. The sprites demonstrated were small
flies buzzing around a bowl of fruit.
Copland will probably allow different Workspace appearances and security
settings for up to 10 users per machine, Lowe said. Apple is investigating a
scheme to store groups of settings files on network servers, similar to the
scheme currently found in At Ease for Workgroups. Users will also be able to
save their Workspace preferences on a floppy disk and move them to a new
machine, he said.
Assuaging the concerns of consultants and support workers in the audience,
Lowe also said Copland will come with a standard Workspace setting that
provides a uniform interface for developers and site managers when fielding
technical support calls.
A Feature Manager will enable users to hide or remove unwanted features of a
system, such as access to certain folders, files or menu items. The OS will
definitely allow for an Owner account that overrides the access controls in
the others, he said.
Lowe said Copland's interface will be built on IBM Corp.'s SOM (System
Object Model) and offer developers HI Objects, which define all elements of
the interface. This architecture will eliminate the need to use system
patches to tweak the Finder, as is the case with the current OS.
Similar to AppleSearch, Copland's enhanced Find will show the results of
text searches with bars indicating the relevancy of each file found. Lowe
showed Copland finding text in a variety of documents, including QuickTime
Copland will take up about 50 Mbytes of hard drive space: half for the
system files and the rest for storing temporary pages of virtual memory.
Users will be able to run the software on a PowerPC-based Mac with 8 Mbytes
of RAM, Lowe said, reiterating a claim Apple has made from the beginning of
Lowe apologized to the audience for the fact that 680x0 Macs upgraded with
PowerPC cards will not run the initial Copland release; he said all Macs
with an original PowerPC logic board and all licensed Mac OS systems will
run the forthcoming OS. He said that the work required to supported upgraded
680x0 Macs was mainly in the drivers and that Apple may farm out the
creation of those additional drivers to third-party developers.
" It isn't a very easy sport. If it were there would be a whole bunch of guys in tight pants doing it." ...Professional Skateboarder Eddie Reategui
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