Steve “Real­i­ty Dis­tor­tion Field” Jobs has deliv­ered his keynote address to Apple’s World Wide Devel­op­er Con­fer­ence (WWDC). It’s amaz­ing what he would have us believe. Apple has appar­ent­ly invent­ed vir­tu­al desk­tops. What does Microsoft have to say about it, giv­en they applied for a patent on the tech­nol­o­gy in 2004 (com­plete with images ripped out of GNOME and KDE!)? Let’s just for­get that they have exist­ed since at least 1985, shall we?

That aside, I am heart­ened to see that Open­Dar­win did not close their doors a cou­ple of weeks ago in vain. Apple them­selves are spon­sor­ing Mac OS Forge, and in the process they have made read­i­ly avail­able the source code for Bon­jour, Col­lab­o­ra­tion (Dar­win Cal­en­dar Serv­er), WebKit (which is real­ly just KHTML on steroids any­way), Launchd and even their XNU ker­nel (minus some essen­tial pro­pri­etary parts). They have even licensed some of these projects under the Apache Licence 2.0. I pray that this sig­ni­fies the start of a new era of col­lab­o­ra­tion between Apple and the FLOSS com­mu­ni­ty, and not just a cheap attempt to con­tribute the min­i­mum amount required to keep the bulk of the com­mu­ni­ty on-side.

So with Tiger being favourably com­pared to the for­ev­er-delayed Win­dows Vista, what does that make Leop­ard? Mac OS just gets bet­ter and bet­ter, while the Win­dows deba­cle is far from over. With screw-ups such as this , it’s no won­der that Microsoft feels the need to prevent/destroy all com­pe­ti­tion.

 

Update (2006–08-13): Here is a much more sober eval­u­a­tion of the so-called ‘copy­ing’ going on between Mac OS and Win­dows. It puts every­thing into more per­spec­tive, show­ing that some of their killer fea­tures in fact orig­i­nat­ed else­where. It reminds me of a fun­ny quo­ta­tion: “Mac OS, Win­dows, BeOS: they’re all just Xerox copies.

As much as Paul Thur­rott likes to claim that Spot­light is a copy of Win­dows Search, Apple had the same func­tion­al­i­ty in the mid-1990s with its Cop­land Project.

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