Along the lines of their other recent moves, like buying Flickr, Yahoo! has acquired Konfabulator. Longtime Mac fans should recognize the product and its author, Arlo Rose, for his role in creating Kaleidoscope. Recent Mac fans should recognize the debacle surrounding Apple’s creation of Dashboard.
This brings the immediate benefit of making Konfabulator free. Previously, the framework itself cost $20 to register. When comparing Konfabulator to Dashboard, the price difference (Dashboard being free with Tiger) gave Dashboard the edge. Yahoo! effecting this price change will have a dramatic effect upon its market share. Mac users will feel free to compare it directly to Dashboard without feeling obligation. As for Windows users, the new Yahoo! association should bring lots of attention. Those two effects should stimulate Widget developers into developing for Konfabulator again. That’s a good thing because as I write this, there is still no working package tracker. Very lame.
Another point I glossed over is that Konfabulator is cross-platform. I’ve already installed it at work. Should I discover a set of Widgets that I really like, I may even start using it at home on my Macs. Seeing as the Widgets themselves are written using web languages that interpreted rather than compiled, it’s only natural that it be cross-platform. There’s nothing blocking a Linux version as well.
Also worthy of attention is the response this acquisition has generated. It was to be expected though. Some are naturally cheering the move because it breaths new life into the project along with a steady stream of money. It also gives the end user a new toy to play with. It has also yielded the unoriginal negative response. As you read this, people are getting in a huff, protesting the illicit corporate takeover of their
puppy favorite software. Yahoo! is the antichrist. It’s completely irrational of course, but don’t dare say that or you might get a long winded rant on how corporations are destroying everything near and dear.
That’s not to say that some trepidation isn’t warranted. Certainly, Yahoo’s track record concerning the Mac OS hasn’t been sparkling. Long term we may see declining support for the platform that originally played host in favor of Windows. However, jumping to that conclusion now is terribly premature. Lots can happen and Yahoo may see the value in maintaining its cross-platform nature as it brings a host of Mac-based developers who, let’s face it, have a much better eye for presentation and user interface behavior. Indeed, that may have been what sold Yahoo in the first place.
To borrow a tired phrase, I for one welcome our new Widget overlords. Download a copy on them.