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

I Find Karma (
Mon, 31 Mar 97 02:00:22 PST

In response to Joe Kiniry... :)

> > 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.

No, I think it has to do with, as Tim Byars says, Apple finally
realizing who's kept them alive these past 10 years.

> 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

First off, I'm sure more than 12 people were involved in OpenDoc
to one extent or another. Furthermore, OpenDoc is just one more
distraction that Apple as a company doesn't need right now.

If you have trouble chewing gum and walking at the same time, then
you either give up chewing gum, or you go nowhere. And I think
Apple is tired of going nowhere.

> 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 ounces.

Interesting analogy. *evil grin*

You have to admit that if you cut off your dick:
1) You're too focused on the pain to even think about food,
hence getting you leaner (and, let's face it, meaner, too... :)
2) The one major distraction in your life goes away. :) :) :)
3) You no longer have the facility to fuck up. Literally. :)

All of which contribute to your overall goal of losing weight.
And then some.

> 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.

It did get pretty far, but probably the top brass at Apple saw that
Beans were going to take the metaphors further than they themselves
would or could -- much in the way they took the OOE (and Taligent)
metaphors from NeXT (and Taligent) and played with them from 1993 to

Along the way, OpenDoc affected the way ActiveX and LiveConnect and CORBA
and JavaBeans all play the game, so in that sense, they were successful.
It's okay for OpenDoc to hand the baton over to JavaBeans, isn't it?

> 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!

:) That reminds me, I still can't get Windows 95 to find my
plug-and-pray modem ever since we upgraded the RAM to 48Meg.

As a result, I can no longer use PointCast. Which Rohit says is a good
thing. The people at the PointCast helpline were completely unhelpful.
I couldn't even get through to the Microsoft helpline.

> 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).

It *has* helped those others, just as technologies before it helped it.
But is OpenDoc crucial to Apple's present survival strategies? I'm
guessing no. Of course, we've already ascertained that Apple seems to
be letting people go haphazardly -- they've released several networking
deities that they really could not have realized in sound mind.

> 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).

Apple is in the process of losing EVERYTHING except a firm commitment to
bringing state-of-the-art hardware to the market for use by graphic
artists, web designers, film editors, ad agencies, effects people,
and true appreciators of state-of-the-art equipment.

> what is their target audience? who are they selling to? what types
> of applications do they want on this new platform?

They will keep the intended target audience of NeXT: power users, power
developers, the people who want to use the hottest hardware to produce
the hottest effects out there. The heavy duty, in your face type people
who demand high quality from their hardware and software.

You know.

The 3% of the world who look at the rest of the crap that's out there
and reach their hands to the heavens and exclaim, "I WILL NOT PLUG AND

> 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.

They are very focused. Whether or not this will work for them is
another story. But I do think Apple has a very clear idea of where they
are going.

> 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.

Remember, they can do components without doing OpenDoc. The
Open Object Embedding work by Bjorn E. Backlund of Xanthus (see his
paper in the SIG CHI Bulletin, January 1997, Vol 29, No 1) on the NeXT
platform shows great promise for that platform to deliver a compelling
compound document framework. Heck, the work Rohit himself did with
eText in 1994 and 1995 foreshadowed this insight - that a compound
document framework need not be complicated to be compelling.

And again, they have Beans and CORBA and LiveConnect and ActiveX to play
with if that "paradigm shift" does become relevant.

I'm personally not so convinced anymore. I think another compelling
technology could come along and make the world completely leapfrog the
components idea. And don't ask me what it is, because I don't know.
Just a hunch, that component models themselves are too complicated for
people to want to use. Great for the small cabal who reads the jillions
of man pages and figures out what's going on, terrible for everyone
else, means that eventually everyone else will shut the cabal down.

> and what "vision" might that be? i'd argue that their current vision
> is to save their asses more than anything else.

Ya gotta admit, that's a pretty compelling vision.

> 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.

The people who remain at Apple aren't dummies. They're not just going
to throw everything away and start from scratch. And they do finally
understand that they're fighting for their lives, so don't count them
out just yet.

> 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."

Apple's repositioning isn't exactly great for MS either, you know.
Microsoft spent a lot of money/effort/people on building Mac software.

Maybe, just maybe, Apple will reassert themselves as the mark of
quality. "You want crap? Go to MS. You want the goods? Come to us."
Again, they won't get 97% of the people out there -- the worried, the
scared, the lemmings, the people unwilling to switch platforms, the
crazy, the masochists, the folks who don't want to learn new things, the
poor saps who have no choice because when Intel donated the machines
they stipulated that the machines must run Memphis -- but the 3% may
just keep them in business.


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