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Apple vs Microsoft Both Copycats 207

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the we-all-copy-each-other-anyway dept.
jdbartlett writes "Yesterday, we read Paul Thurrott's response to Apple's Leopard preview. In his TechBlog, Jim Thompson trims Thurrott's bloated opinion piece and presents an alternative take on four major new features, admitting that each may have been inspired but certainly not by Microsoft. Thompson ignores 6 features; some (Core Animation, Accessibility improvements) needed no defense, but perhaps not all Thurrott's points were invalid."
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Apple vs Microsoft Both Copycats

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  • who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by locnar42 (591631) on Friday August 11, 2006 @10:10PM (#15892739) Homepage
    Does anybody really care if one of them copied the other?
    Maybe Apple/Microsoft because they want to fight out patents. Personally, all I care about is which one does a better job of implementing the features I want.
  • by nacturation (646836) <nacturation&gmail,com> on Friday August 11, 2006 @10:18PM (#15892760) Journal
    The argument that Thurrott advanced was that Microsoft had some of these features first. He doesn't claim that Microsoft was the inventor of those features. So along comes Thompson and outlines how various things in Unix did it first. Well, that's nice. But the debate here is between Windows and OS X, not Unix.
     
    • But the debate here is between Windows and OS X, not Unix.


      Right you are, but I must take exception with your spelling. "grudge match" is not spelled d-e-b-a-t-e.

      TW
    • by rolfwind (528248) on Friday August 11, 2006 @10:53PM (#15892861)
      I believe that Thurrot advanced that Apple copies MS too (and not just the other way around), which implies that MS invented those features originally - otherwise Apple would be copying Unix as there is no way to know if they were copying a feature just because it was on Windows.

      For instance, he said that MS had something like "Spaces" originally in some obscure version of NT which was never officially released, however anybody with any familiarity with Unix will have recognized that Apple probably got the idea for multiple desktops there rather than from MS. It's an insincere point.
      • by LO0G (606364) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @12:53AM (#15893255)
        The "obscure version of NT that was never officially released" was actually the very first version of NT, NT 3.1, which had multiple desktops. The problem was that there was no UI that allowed for the user to access them.

        But the support has been in NT since the beginning.

        Not that it really matters :)
      • For instance, he said that MS had something like "Spaces" originally in some obscure version of NT ... nybody with any familiarity with Unix

        Remember that these people are not familiar with anything other than home computers - unix was something that the Moorlocks in the server room had to deal with while the tech journalists only noticed the home computers. Remember that these are the same losers that thought Microsoft invented the optical mouse just becuase they had never seen one before. You usually get

    • by Foerstner (931398) on Friday August 11, 2006 @11:17PM (#15892929)
      the debate here is between Windows and OS X, not Unix.

      OS X is just a peculiar Unix distro.

      I find it fascinating that Linux can borrow BSD features, and AIX can mimic Solaris features, but when Apple steals a feature for its particular Unixling, it's a big event.
      • People make a big deal about stealing other Unix features because, when other unixes impliment the feature, it's some obscure CLI think that only uber-geeks can get working in a practical manner. When OSX does it, there are fancy animations that make the common folk go "ooooh" and "aaaaaah".
    • by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Saturday August 12, 2006 @12:17AM (#15893137)
      Ok, but here's the catch. You could have an OS that prints money for you, but if the end user can't figure it out, it's pretty useless. I think the real issue here is whether or not people or developrs can use the features, and in all the cases, Apple hit the homerun MS missed. When it's poorly-done version in a server OS, or a user-un-friendly feature in some Linux distros, it doesn't really help much, because no one can use it. The point is, out of the box, a mildy tech-inclined person (anyone smart enough to figure out how to download Firefox or iTunes w/o much help) can use Time Machine or Spaces. 90% of the market aren't gonna use it if they can't find it or can't figure it out. Look at Office 11 (yes, I'm going there, Thurott). One of the things I've heard is people finding "new features" in it, and MS getting credit for adding things when all it did was make them visible (not hidden 8 layers deep).

      And spotlight compared to windows search? I'd say Sherlock probably beat Windows Search out, and Spotlight has the slight advantage of being near-instant (YMMV, I search 45-75 GBs on a 1.33 GHz G4).

      And the big thing here is this: Apple is accusing MS of direct rip-offs (similar icons, similar UIs, etc) in addition to copying features, whereas Thurott is accusing Apple of having similar features to Windows.
    • by Senjutsu (614542) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @12:30AM (#15893178)
      Well, if we're going to be pedantic: Thurrott's "point" was that Apple shipped features that Microsoft had previously announced but not shipped. The implication apparently being that Apple needed zero planning time for their features and can clone Microsoft features out of thin air faster than Microsoft can implement them.

      In other words, it was classic Microsoft "our vapour tomorrow will be better than their shipping product today" FUD from the Internet's #1 Microsoft toady.
  • Comprimise (Score:2, Interesting)

    by scolen2 (956819)
    Windows copied the Mac OS, no one will dispute this, not even Bill. Mac is not duplicating windows at all, they are only makeing it easier for a PC user to switch. This comes directly from Steve. There is no benifit of the windows OS except its memory schemes, the new Mac OS is just a comprimise.
    • Re:Comprimise (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Ruff_ilb (769396)
      Actually, BOTH companies copied a GUI design that Xerox implemented a full NINE years before the Mac was even concieved.

      "Xerox PARC was the incubator of many elements of modern computing. Most were included in the Alto, which introduced and unified most aspects of now-standard personal computer usage model: the mouse1, computer generated color graphics, a graphical user interface featuring windows and icons, the WYSIWYG text editor, InterPress (a resolution-independent graphical page description language an
      • Re:Comprimise (Score:5, Informative)

        by scolen2 (956819) on Friday August 11, 2006 @11:07PM (#15892899)
        Thanks for that NOVA Ep recap i saw 15 years ago. Apple didn't copy btw, they purchaced it along with the mouse that Xerox didn't feel was viable. The OS has matured a long way, and just like music its all about building upon the shoulders of giants. Apple did it better on the surface, and under the hood while Microsoft did it better in the engine.
      • Re:Comprimise (Score:3, Interesting)

        by GaryPatterson (852699)
        Apple *licenced* the UI elements from Xerox, who made quite a bit of money on the Apple stock they received.

        Microsoft had no such agreement.

        Apple also extended the UI from what Xerox had (have you ever seen a PARC in action? Clunky, horrible UI but with the germ of a good UI hidden within).
        • Re:Comprimise (Score:3, Insightful)

          Clunky, horrible UI but with the germ of a good UI hidden within

          You had such a great opportunity for a pun but wasted it on a wheat metaphor with that extra 'r', considering the history of GEM. [wikipedia.org]
      • Re:Comprimise (Score:5, Informative)

        by soft_guy (534437) on Friday August 11, 2006 @11:46PM (#15893036)
        I'm so sick of people bringing up Xerox Alto to zing Apple. You have never used a Xerox Alto - and you never will and you never would have even HEARD of the damn thing if Apple hadn't come out of the GUI. First, the interface on the Alto was very primite compared to the Mac. Second, Xerox would never have allowed the Alto - or anything else from PARC such as Ethernet or Smalltalk - to see the light of day left to their own devices. Third, many of the people who worked on the Alto came over to Apple to work on the Lisa and/or Mac. Fourth, many of the ideas that the Alto was based on came from Jef Raskin's PhD. dissertation (Jef Raskin started the Mac project at Apple). Fifth, Apple PAID Xerox 80 million dollars to use ideas from the Alto.

        The fact is that there were people shopping some good ideas around Silicon valley at that time. Apple was the only company at the time with the guts to bring these radical ideas to market. Not Microsoft. Not Xerox. Not IBM. Not Digital Research (they made CPM and were a big deal at the time).
      • BOTH companies copied a GUI design that Xerox implemented a full NINE years before the Mac was even concieved

        The proof-of-concept design is not the same thing as a marketable consumer product.

        • AFAIK the Alto and Dorado machines were not 'proof-of-concept' designs but production and productive environments, on of the guys on the core Macintosh team (Jef Raskin maybe?) had been an intern at PARC for 2 or 3 years, working in Smalltalk on altos and dorados (and "being spoiled by the environment" by his own words).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, 2006 @10:20PM (#15892769)
    perhaps not all Thurrott's points were invalid.

    Even a broken clock tells the correct time twice a day.
  • by acomj (20611) on Friday August 11, 2006 @10:21PM (#15892773) Homepage
    I posted this before, but thought it was good enough to post again...

    Oreillys radar's site take on the new features of the OS (by nat):

    A good read actually:

    http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2006/08/apple_ea ts_whiners.html [oreilly.com]
  • by brokeninside (34168) on Friday August 11, 2006 @10:26PM (#15892793)
    Digital Unix [wikipedia.org] on Alpha in the early nineties.
    • by Tim Browse (9263) on Friday August 11, 2006 @11:05PM (#15892887)

      This is the part of all this nonsense I don't understand.

      Making a nice interface onto a backup system (Time Machine) - yes, great. Tooltips, even - yes (read Alan Cooper on this - I can't be bothered to argue). Stuff like that is innovative and worth talking about.

      Stuff like "Oh, we invented the 64-bit OS" or "We were the first to integrate wifi into our computers" - who gives a toss? Both are stepwise/obvious improvements to any competent practitioner in the field.

      Oooh, you thought of using a 64-bit CPU to run your OS? How ever did you think of that? I mean, first we had 4 bit CPUs, then 8-bit, then 16-bit, then 32-bit...but you came out of left field and decided to use a 64-bit CPU? Fantastic!

      You thought of putting another peripheral inside the main box?! Awesome!

      I'm not having a go at you in particular, brokeninside, - 'you' here means anyone who claims to be first with such improvements and claim they're more amazing than they really are. It always seems a bit "I'll piss on your boots and tell you it's raining" to me.

      The whole 'first' thing is kind of dumb. I once pointed out to a tedious Mac fan who had a website detailing just how great and 'first' Apple were with everything, that contrary to his belief, Mac OS was not the first OS to support anti-aliased fonts - Acorn's RISC OS pre-dated it, for one. He then told me that Apple were 'the first to make it mainstream'. Typical fanboy - when you come up against contradictory facts, just change your criteria.

      (Apologies if I sound cranky - can't sleep...)

    • HP Tru64 Unix was previously known as Compaq Tru64 Unix, Digital Unix, and DEC OSF/1 AXP. It was a full 64 bit OS on the Alpha CPU, first released in 1992 (a couple of years before Apple switched from the 68K to the PPC).

      I think OSF/1 on the Alpha may have been the first 64 bit Unix variant.

      Interestingly, Tru64 is based on a Mach kernel, same as Apple's Mac OS X.
  • Both of them suck (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wheatking (608436) on Friday August 11, 2006 @10:26PM (#15892794)
    Both companies suck at caring for their customers. I wish Google will start making and selling consumer PC terminal thin clients that do not have any 'state' and do not require any local software to be loaded at all. the geekboys can battle out the oh so 90s choices. all i want are my applications and i really do not want to give a damn about the OS anymore.
    • When you have a problem with Google, try emailing them. Then you'll see how much more they care then MS or Apple. Experience has taught me that no major corporation really cares whether their stuff works as it should or not so long as profits are up; the only good customer service I've ever recieved was from small companies, with Newegg being the only exception.
      • I had a problem with Google Base (a free Google service) a few nights ago and sent an e-mail. Next day, I received a personal reply (not a bot response) from a Google Team member thanking me for my e-mail, letting me know the issue had been resolved, and asking me to let him know if I had any other questions.

        In general, though, I agree. The best customer service e-mail response I ever received was from Bare Bones Software, the company that makes BBEdit. I wasn't e-mailing about a BBEdit issue, though. I was
    • I wish Google will start making and selling consumer PC terminal thin clients

      The network appliance tanks whenever it is tested in the marketplace. Dell at entry level is under $400.

      • Probably because, by and large, internet connections in most places are far too slow to use such a product. Even things like remote desktop over LAN feel too laggy to be greatly useful, and that's a much faster connection than what most people have for internet. Designed properly, it'd be great, but our connections are going to need a lot of work first, especially if we even think about things like gaming with thin clients (encoding, streaming and then decoding high-def video in realtime, with low enough
  • Oh so familiar (Score:2, Informative)

    by vinividivici (919782)
    "each may have been inspired but certainly not by Microsoft." Just like Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" was 'inspired' by Queen's "Under Pressure"
  • by buckhead_buddy (186384) on Friday August 11, 2006 @10:37PM (#15892820)

    Seeing the itemized list of who's providing what, made me think about why everyone thinks their "allegiance" is the one to do it right and to do it first. In general I think the trend is:

    • Unix needs a bulletproof implementation
    • Apple needs a bulletproof interface
    • Microsoft needs a bullet point

    That probably sounds negative to any of the three groups, but I think it explains more about why users don't "remember" that someone else perhaps did it first. An Apple aficionado who appreciates good user interfaces will never acknowledge anyone else as coming "first" after seeing the demo of Time Machine; there's just never been anything like it. But a Unix user will guffaw at the crash they had during the demo and state that they're the ones with the "first" version since they really see reliability as their cornerstone. As for adamant Microsoft users, it just seems to matter about when something was released rather than the quality. The next version may completely drop the interface or re-engineer the back end. But often these users can quote feature lists and continuity better than most Trekkies or Whovians.

    In a lot of ways, I think there's a lot to be improved from all three camps. Make it work. Make it usable. And make it known. I think there are things each developer group can learn from the other, but advocacy will be self-selecting.

  • by kjart (941720) on Friday August 11, 2006 @10:38PM (#15892823)

    It's not so much that Thurrott is claiming that Microsoft invented all of these features, it's merely a rebuttal against all of the Vista bashing that Apple indulged in. Thurrott is not claiming that Microsoft invented the 64bit OS (contrary to what TechBlog seems to think) - he's just saying they beat Apple to it.

    Also, for those that seem to think this is all pro-Microsoft hogwash, the following came up within the first few paragraphs:

    As Serlet effectively demonstrated, Windows Calendar is almost identical looking to iCal, right down to the candy-colored appointment blobs. That's just embarrassing.

    He said that Vista's IE 7 stole the friendly RSS view from Safari, Apple's Web browser. And sure enough, he's got a point. I said so in my own reviews of IE 7 betas. It's a great feature, and Apple did it first.
    • Those two statements were made so that Thurott could feign objectivity. Your second quote is worded as an admission: "he's got a point"=="touche".

      That aside, you are correct: a hefty chunk of Thurott's piece was rebuttal of Apple's incendiary anti-Microsoft campaign. Specifically, it was a rebuttal of the claim that Microsoft copied Apple. TechBlog is simply explaining that both are copying (or rather, "taking to the next logical stage") older technologies.
  • Everyone copies everyone. Microsoft copies Apple copies Linux copies Microsoft copies... you get the picture. If they want to be successful, they really have no choice. Consumers see a great new feature in one OS, they're going to start whining that theirs doesn't have it. So whoever writes that OS has to grit their teeth, suck it up, and copy that feature. Or alternatively, they can find a way to implement the feature in a way that's so much better, that whoever introduced it first is forced to turn around
    • Reminds me of what Chet Atkins said about writing.

      "Good writers borrow. Great writers steal."

      Chances are, he stole the quote, but Chet Atkins was The guitar god. He can be forgiven.

      Of course he probably orginated this observation:

      When watching K D Lang perform on the TV at Brown's diner he says, "She's eaten more pussy that Porter Wagoner."

      )
    • "Why, the fax machine is nothing but a waffle iron with a phone attached!"
  • iChat (Score:3, Informative)

    by cyborch (524661) on Friday August 11, 2006 @10:42PM (#15892839) Homepage Journal
    Notice how in his iChat bashing he neglected to mention desktop sharing. Which I would also neglect to mention if I had to say that there were no major features. Adding desktop sharing is indeed a major feature.
    • Not quite as major, but the presentation/video/photo thing is big too. Universities (well, mine anyway) is going gaga over teleconferencing and telelearning. You can see the Powerpoint slides and the speaker at the same time! These systems cost hundreds of thousands. They do the same thing, but not quite as nicely, as iChat in Leopard does. And they need a technician on each side to set up each conference.
  • by mblase (200735) on Friday August 11, 2006 @10:58PM (#15892870)
    1. Windows (or UNIX) implements a useful feature. It is kludgy, difficult to use, and powerful in the right hands.
    2. OS X (or Windows) borrows the feature, puts a GUI on top of it, and trumpets it with the next release.
    3. UNIX (or OS X) copies the feature, customizes the GUI, tweaks it a bit to make it more powerful, and mentions it in the next release.
    4. Windows (or UNIX) copies the feature, integrates it into the OS completely, tweaks it a bit to make it less useful, and fails to mention it at all.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.
  • People in the Apple camp have to admit that Steve Jobs set Apple up for this kind of criticism when he playfully trashed Microsoft for copying OS X and then immediately proceeded to unveil new features in OS X Leopard that aren't necessarily all that new (although many are new takes on older concepts that have yet to be taken to the mainstream for any number of reasons)

    On the other hand, the Microsoft fans have to admit that Microsoft too has set themselves up for criticism by being so far behind on Vista t
    • What's impressed me most between the two companies is which one keeps their promises. Microsoft promises all kinds of things in Longhorn/Vista and then slowly strips them out and delays them.

      Apple usually doesn't say anything until they've already got the particular feature working. When they do pre-announce things they almost always come through. The one exception I remember is when they promised 3GHz G5s. Whether it's because of that failure or not, Apple switched to Intel after they failed to deliver
      • The one exception I remember is when they promised 3GHz G5s.


        That's because Apple got burned badly with Copland. 10 years of development, announcments, product demos, development releases, and they had nothing to show for it. They'll not make that mistake again. That's why we find out years later than Apple has had an x86 OSX all along... they've been planning a switch to x86 for years.
        • So Apple learned their lesson about making promises you can't keep. Think MS will? Weren't they talking about something called Cairo around the same time Apple was shooting their mouths off about Copland?
        • I doubt they planned to switch to x86 for years.

          NeXT ported ther OS to x86 a long time ago, but it didn't do them any favors. (It didn't help tht the hardware requirements were extremely specific and virtually nobody could run it. (The only person I know personally who ran a copy worked at a computer shop and had purchased the best equipment he could at the time, helps when you get significant discounts). OS/2 ran on significantly more hardware than the Intel version of NeXT.

          Since NeXT ported their OS from
          • I doubt they planned to switch to x86 for years.

            As GP said, they've had working x86 versions of OSX zipping along for a few years 'just in case', and you can be sure that somewhere in Cupertino they're running OSX versions for fully unsupported processors just in case they have to switch again one day.

      • Like when Apple promised to replace MacOS with a modern OS (with a microkernel and an OO platform SDK no less) in 1991 (here I am referring to "Pink", which ended up being spun of as Taligent when it failed to materialize in development, which were then to be partly reused in the even later Copland). Slamming Microsoft over the Vista delays is fine and all, but Apple does have a pretty damn legendary series of delays, trashing of feature-lists and restarts behind them before managing to release OSX in 2001
        • Yes, the screwed up Apple of the 90's did seem to make a lot of promises they couldn't keep. It seems they either learned their lesson or Steve Jobs put and end to it. Either way, I wish a few more companies would take a cue. Nintendo seems to be pretty good, Sony and MS not so much so. When a major company makes a product announcement you shouldn't have to wonder if it's vapour or not.
  • by TheZorch (925979) <thezorch.gmail@com> on Friday August 11, 2006 @11:07PM (#15892897) Homepage
    Text to Voice support in Windows XP is dismal to say the least. The built-in text-to-speech softrware is a joke. It works yes, but only in Microsoft applications.

    There is a 3rd party software package called "JAWS" which costs around $400 - $500, is locked down with DRM so if you have to reinstall your system or upgrade you have to reactivate it. Also, the software is very picky as to what kind of video card and sound card you have, and its prome to crashing. The software had also been none to deactivate itself for no reason, thus requiring you to reinstall it and reactivate it.

    I looked at VoiceOver in Mac OS X and I was very impressed. Someone with no vision at all (I have some, I just need an extra large monitor) would have little trouble navigating the system using it. I know a few people with no vision at all and they were also extremely impressed with Voice Over, and I know at least one person who will benefit from Mac OS X Leopard's support for Braille displays. Also, the APIs and tools needed to make Mac OS X apps work with Voice Over are freely available to developers so any Mac app can be made Voice Over compatible with minimal effort. For JAWS its much harder.
  • by copponex (13876) on Friday August 11, 2006 @11:08PM (#15892904) Homepage
    Looking on the horizon, it seems to me that early 2007 will determine the next five years of the computing industry. If Leopard is introduced on time in conjunction with an office suite (Microsoft or a truly comparable replacement) and the Adobe Suites as native applications, Microsoft is in serious trouble. Apple will have delivered on all of their promises; the industry will have supported their move in the form of third party applications, and Microsoft is going to look slow and stupid. Vista is going to suck early - there's no doubt about it. They're already talking about things they are "saving" for SP1.

    When all of this happens, the other shoe will drop when business owners and business managers begin asking: Why is there no search feature on our corporate network that works like Spotlight on my kid's computer? Why is it so difficult for our marketing department to create a podcast, when my nephew can do it on his laptop in 15 minutes? Why do my wife's e-mails look better than the ones from my office? Why can't I get that spreadsheet back like I can on my computer at home? I can't video conference?! My kids do it all damn night on their computers!

    Apple is trying to reach out and grab the teenage and college demographic, because no matter how smart an adult thinks they are, they never want to look stupid or "old" to their kids. If Apple can pull it off, it will be the beginning of the post-Windows era, when Microsoft's marketshare falls below 75%, the competition heats up, and software companies begin to deliver programs that actually save time and money for everyday office work.
    • If Apple can pull it off, it will be the beginning of the post-Windows era, when Microsoft's marketshare falls below 75%, the competition heats up, and software companies begin to deliver programs that actually save time and money for everyday office work.


      Apple will get out of the hardware business and make an OEM OSX for Dell and HP long before Apple ever gets 25% of the market.
    • You are right. Might I add that even CEO were college kids at one point. Now THAT is long term planning ;)
  • ...who did it first or who copied who. Didn't we just have this same thread a couple of days ago at Slashdot (seems like everyday now, we have to rehash this debate -- the original post should be marked troll). All I care about is who does it better. Apple wins. Period.
  • by DECS (891519) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @12:09AM (#15893115) Homepage Journal
    Rather than trying to establish who came up with an idea, I'd like to see more attention given to new, innovative ideas. I'd like to see Microsoft, Apple, and open source groups copy each other's good ideas as much as possible. Good ideas deserved to be copied!

    RoughlyDrafted Magazine has articles on what's really new in Time Machine in The Time Machine Rip-off Myth [roughlydrafted.com],

    explained what new stuff Thurrott overlooked in WWDC Secrets Paul Thurrott Hopes You Miss [roughlydrafted.com],

    and gave Three Reasons Why Microsoft Can't Ship (and Apple can) [roughlydrafted.com].

    The RDM Paul Thurrott story was dugg 1300+ times today!

  • The one app that I thougth they really parrotted was MSFT's OneNote. Their new "Notes" in Mail is very similar, but of course more refined in that Apple way.

    You could make an argument that OneNote certainly had it's predecessors as well, but certainly not in the rich graphical way that made OneNote so neat when it came out.
  • I'm shocked at the barrage of attacks on Apple over the last few days. Seems like the keynote struck a nerve with the PC world and Slashdot has taken the side of the attackers. I've used Microsoft products almost exclusively since the late 80s but in the last two months started the migration to Mac and I couldn't be happier. I don't care about statistics I care about real world use and Mac programs rarely crash. Windows apps constantly crash. For me case closed. For the first two months I rarely used the OS
  • Apple's "Core Animation" looks like a scheme for developing apps with a Flash-based GUI. Video games have been doing that for years; in many games, the user interface is authored in Flash, but displayed with a third-party Flash player built into the game. For that matter, developers have been able to put Flash-based GUIs into Photon applications for QNX since about 2001. So this isn't exactly a new idea.

    Did Apple provide any useful guidance for developers on what a GUI developed this way should look l

  • by LKM (227954) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @02:26AM (#15893431) Homepage

    First of all, copying is good. We would still be trying to make fire by randomly hitting stones against other stones if we weren't allowed to copy other people's innovations (which, by the way, is why I think Patents hinder progress rather than helping it). It's good that Apple's copying virtual desktops from Unixes. It's good that Microsoft is copying the trash can from Apple. It's good because:

    1. It makes software more consistent with each other, helping users adjust (e.g. if only Adobe didn't had those stupid tab patents, palettes would wore more consistent throughout applications)
    2. It means that no single company can have one huge idea, not let anyone copy it and then rest on its laurels, letting their system stagnate - there's permanent pressure from their competition because they can take this huge idea and maybe even improve on it
    3. It means that in a Darwinism of Ideas, good ideas will spread while bad ideas tend to die, which improves the ecosystem as a whole

    So in general, there's nothing wrong with copying because it makes the ecosystem as a whole better.

    Yet, all this being said, it is good to keep track of who is mostly innovating and who is mostly copying, and reward the innovators with your money. That way, you put the money where it will be used for further innovation. You reward the innovator. You accelerate the improvements already happening.

  • Useless Argument (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BrainRam (939611)

    Even CoreAnimation is not beyond the "copying" argument. Microsoft shipped DirectAnimation years ago. Here's a link to the press release. [microsoft.com]

    But this entire argument is completely useless. There are a number of skills at play when it comes to building and shipping any techology. First, a company needs to see an opportunity. Then, they need to design the right product for the market. Then they need to implement the product so that it can be easily used and make sure it's flexible enough that users can mould it

  • Well, duh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wootest (694923) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @05:05AM (#15893662)

    Personally, I think that everyone with their head on straight knows at this point that copying is something that everyone does on this level. You may be one of the holdouts to think that this is bad, but if it was bad and nobody would do it, where would we be today? Just taking the Mother of All Demos [wikipedia.org], nobody except the by Engelbart designated innovators would be given access to the stuff presented there: the mouse ("Bug"), video conferencing, email, hypertext... When people are bitching about "copying" or "stealing", I don't think they consider the alternative and how much more crappy it is.

    There's also a thing as overdoing it and not inventing enough on your own, but I don't think any major vendor (Microsoft, Apple, Sun, Red Hat, Ubuntu, and so on) are doing that as of today. Apple's poking fun at Vista to rally the troops (it's a developer conference!) and to twiddle Microsoft's nose once more while they have the chance - it's marketing, not the universal truth.

    I also think that 10.5 is misunderstood at this level. Take Time Machine: even if we discount the smoke-and-mirrors display of the thing or the fact that the OS helps you backup efficiently with a non-boot volume and four UI controls in its preference pane, the big innovation here is really that you can restore not only one file but that there are *built-in hooks* for "here's this old file and here's this new file" which means that you can cherry-pick old items from old database files. This is something very neat and very useful that in 99 cases of 100 couldn't be done before without resorting to poking and prodding the database files themselves; and now that it's built-in to some of Apple's apps, it's not only going to be tremendously useful there but there's going to be an onus on third-party developers to provide support for this, which means a better user experience for everyone.

    As a developer, I'm very excited about 10.5. There's all sorts of new APIs, the old APIs have been extended in better ways, and the developer tools have reportedly gotten the biggest facelift since, well, *ever*. Xcode 3.0 may even trump the step from OS X's Project Builder to Xcode 1.0, and the Interface Builder has finally received some much-needed love. Gruber's right [daringfireball.net]: "Complaining that the announcements at WWDC only appealed to 'the geeks' is like going to a rock concert and complaining that all they did was play loud music."

Prof: So the American government went to IBM to come up with a data encryption standard and they came up with ... Student: EBCDIC!"

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