Mac OS X Tiger and Other Mac News

2 minute read

The first and most major news of this fine Monday is Apple’s preview of the next revision of Mac OS X, code-named Tiger. Apple’s introduced some very provocative new features, all of which are documented (albeit informally) at their Tiger preview site.

The first feature to catch my eye was Spotlight. Based upon Apple’s new Metadata-based search technology, Spotlight brings live search to not just the file system or Mail atomically, it allows for system wide searching of many services including Mail’s messages, contacts, calendar entries, the filesystem, etc. all at the same time. Very cool. However, following a disturbing trend that Apple is perpetuating, Spotlight also very closely resembles one of my favorite pieces of software, LaunchBar. Live searching across multiple data types is what LaunchBar excels at (especially the upcoming 4.0 version which has many, many file types and databases integrated into its own search engine).

Another interesting feature is Dashboard. I saw it and immediately thought, “This looks really familiar.” This is yet another instance of Apple’s new trend of ripping off developers, only this is even more blatant than Spotlight or say Watson. Spotlight has a resemblance to an existing product. Sherlock 3 was a rip-off of Watson, with a more flexible extensible implementation (using XML). Dashboard is a carbon copy, right down the fact that its components are called Widgets and are implemented in JavaScript, just like Konfabulator. This has incited Arlo Rose, one of its main developers to bash Apple for ripping him off. I feel this is completely justified and continued theft of shareware ideas will only completely alienate Mac OS X’s rich shareware community. There was a time when Apple integrated these products into the OS by hiring the developers (such as SuperClock’s developer). Apple set a dangerous precedent with Sherlock 3. It’s now just playing with fire.

Speaking of Watson, its creator, Dan Wood, has announced that Watson has been essentially bought out and all support will end October 5th. I hope the company offering the new product offer it with a huge discount (or possibly free) to existing Watson users because I bought Watson only a few months ago and getting less than a years with of maintenance support (Watson’s back end won’t be updated after Oct. 5th to reflect changes in source websites, effectively breaking modules) is beyond poor. It’s piss poor and unprofessional. Paid users deserve several years of support. Every major software company follows this practice and Dan Wood will remain small potatoes if he doesn’t follow suit.

That’s all for today!

Edit: Adding link to debate at Maccentral about Konfabulator and Dashboard.