RE: Quilt (sucessor to Bento) & Apple, the NeXT Order

Ron Resnick (
Sun, 30 Mar 1997 17:49:59 -0500 (EST)

At 13:01 3/30/97 -0800, Joe Kiniry wrote:
>Adam Rifkin wrote:
>> Joe Kiniry wrote...
>> > i'm in agreement with eldee here, cutting opendoc was a really bad
>> > move on apple's part. the staffing and cost of the team was
>> > _extremely_ minimal in the big picture.
>> Perhaps they had to destroy the village in order to save it.

What's with this little blurb anyway? I think I've seen it 5 times in the last
2 weeks...Am I missing something here?

>> How many years has OpenDoc been promising the world to us?
>the issue here isn't how long it has been promised by the marketers or
>the visionaries, it has more to do with company's focus on short-term
>profit. any new technology has the producer/consumer catch-22, thus
>most new technologies get insufficient funding coupled with overly
>sufficient marketing and, as a result, the technologies still looks
>like vaporware to the masses when in fact it is a shipping product.
>> How many more years before they were COMPLETELY embarrassed?
>i'd say apple has more reason to be proud than embarrassed. if anyone
>should be embarrassed it should be the other opendoc supporters that
>pulled the plug on development before it ever really began.

Agreed. In the same way that Taligent folks should never have felt/feel
embarrassed about what they achieved, regardless of whether their
exec supporters ever understood it either.

> or,
>perhaps, other component vendors who ship and utilize products that
>are deceptively competitively marketed by not only the guys in suits,
>but by the guys at the console (who happen to be wearing suits too).
>> You have to ask yourself, how important is OpenDoc to Apple's
>> future? Put yourself in their shoes. You're spread out way too
>> tight, and the sharks are circling. You have to cut yourself lean to
>> have a chance of survival. Is OpenDoc really worth staking your
>> survival on? More importantly, is OpenDoc AS IT EXISTS IN 1997 worth
>> risking your life on? I think not.
>ok, let's look at it this way. after apple's layoffs they have now
>trimmed down to, what, 6,000 staff? HOW MUCH OF AN IMPACT IS TWELVE
>DEVELOPERS GOING TO MAKE? to me, that's like saying i want to loose
>weight, so i'll eat right, go to the gym, see my doctor and loose 20
>lbs and, while i'm at it, cut off my dick to save that extra few

Very apt. 'specially since your dick is just those few ounces of you necessary
to create your progeny in a new world, much as OD might have been Apple's....

>> > in fact, i've been arguing for over a year now that apple's
>> > internal support for the project was far too minimal and thus the
>> > cut was something of a surprise to me (given the low $ of the
>> > project).
>> It is true that Apple's lack of support for OpenDoc for the last few
>> years may have been its premature death knell, but there's really no
>> way to turn around the past. And OpenDoc, on the path it was headed,
>> was not a viable technology. The raptors would have eaten it alive.
>apple's and the industries lack of realistic support goes back much
>longer than the last few years. i mean, the opendoc effort was only
>started in 93 and i think that it has got pretty far in the past few
>years considering the real resources put to the problem.

Yes, although Adam is still right - OpenDoc doesn't have that sexy,
look anymore, and the market isn't anticipating it eagerly any longer (if
it ever did). I think there's a shelf life to new-buzzword technologies. If you
introduce a buzzword as the "next big thing", and it hasn't caught on bigtime
within about a year-18 months of date of announcement, it probably never
will. Examples: ISDN, DCE. Probable example: CORBA. Possible
example (future will tell): ATM. In contrast, if a buzzword hits at the
market sweetspot when all the critical mass is ready to explode all
over it, then it has staying power. Examples: www. Java. C++ in its day.
(hey, nothing is for ever :-). OD, I think, was in the former category.

I liked the viewpoint in the article Rohit posted a week or so
ago, that OD just didn't handle the emergence of Web/Java very well,
especially the conclusion, suggesting cutting up OD, and grabbing
the best parts for Beans. I
think those of us into components can gratefully acknowledge the contribution OD
has made, while we eagerly anticipate going to Beans. I think the
writing was on the wall for OD a full year ago, when Beans was announced.

>just think what could have done if the same resources would have been
>applied to opendoc that microsoft applied to activex. hell, i'd be
>happy to get as many developer-months of work as went into the fuckin
>drawing tools in word 97!
>all of this and not even a mention of how much the technology has
>indirectly helped out complementary and competing technologies (say,
>corba and activex).

What? you want acknowledgement that anyone in the industry ever lifts
good ideas from anyone else? what on earth for ;-) ? In fairness,
I think the corba gang readily acknowledges that OD was symbiotic
with them. They didn't necessarily understand what that *meant*, mind
you, but at least they mouthed the words.

As to ActiveX, oh, didn't you know that MS *invented* componentware
way back in the early days of DDE and OLE? Long before Taligent, OD,
were gleams in someone's eye. What? That MS should pay tribute to OD?
Hmpph. Actually, I think MS thinks they invented OS'es way back with DOS,too

>> > i mean, if apple had more than a few dozen developers and a whole
>> > semi-division, that would be one thing, but to cut a handful of
>> > extremely bright, passionate, and hard-working folks working on
>> > technology that really might/will make a difference in the next
>> > 3-5 years is just plain stupid.
>> If it's not in line with the corporate vision, then supporting it would
>> be just plain stupid. Apple is a company that needs to FOCUS. That's
>> not just good business sense; it's good survival instinct, too. Apple
>> cannot afford to be many things to many people. It must be a laser beam
>> that hits a focused, important segment of the market if Apple wishes to
>> survive. Gil knows this, Steve knows this, Avie knows this... and
>> that's all there is to it.
>ok, that said, what is apple's focus? where is that laser beam
>aiming? anyone? as near as i can tell they have been coopted by
>next, are busy integrating two disparate operating systems into a
>coherent whole, and really expect to be competitive again in six to
>twelve months (per gil's and avi's recent interviews).
>what is their target audience? who are they selling to? what types
>of applications do they want on this new platform?
>i think as soon as you start trying to answer any of these questions
>you'll realize that they are a _lot_ less focused that they need to
>be; our possible _can_ be.

True. But who really cares? I mean, Apple almost certainly will go down.
It's just a question of time. I'm sure there'll be the usual indignant
responses to this sacrilege from all the Apple/Next fans around here,
but anyone detached enough can see it's true. So what? Does that
mean that the bright people who worked there disappear too, and
stop being creative? Of course not. They'll just go work their magic
somewhere else. They'll go to Javasoft, ParcPlace, IBM, even MS.
Wherever their talents are appreciated. And, you'll see successors
to OD come around yet Joe. So, grieve not for Apple's incarnation
of componentware, nor for Apple. The best of it will live on elsewhere
(My money's on beans, but hey, I've already dropped that enough
times in one post).

>thus, the addition of a statement "we think component technology is
>really going to be the paradigm shift of the industry over the next
>3-5 years", (which is what they and everyone else is saying _anyway_,
>the hypocrites), and the corresponding action is a drop in the
>proverbial bucket that could do nothing but help apple in the medium
>to long-term.
>> OpenDoc might be compelling in and of itself, but it's no longer in
>> line with Apple's current vision.
>and what "vision" might that be? i'd argue that their current vision
>is to save their asses more than anything else. if we look at what
>the compelling technologies are coming from their competition we'll
>note that, once they finally _get_ their fucking wonderful operating
>system shipped and debugged all of their currently halfway compelling
>tools will be of little or no value.
>what do they think, microsoft is standing still?! "gee, we'll just
>wait for you to get your ass in gear so we can be competitors again."

But don't you get it? That's exactly how most people play chess - one
move ahead. If I move my rook here, yeah, that looks good. Aargh! but
he wasn't *supposed* to move there! Amazing how much business
strategy is built on not seeing the other guy doing what you're doing too...