Apple’s open core

As happened last year with the Macworld conference, you might as well bag writing about anything else because this week will be Apple, Apple, Apple.

Two big stories — a newer, longer TiBook and Safari, Apple’s entry into the browsing market.

I liked some features of the new TiBook such as the backlit keyboard, which I think is one of the best ideas I’ve heard with a laptop; I know I wish I had this with my TiBook. However, I’m less impressed with the length of the TiBook — 17 inches. My 15 inch works nicely, I drag it about the house and everywhere I go with no effort. All that extra length with the new TiBook does is make it too long for most computer carry bags. Heck, it’s too long for most laps.

What Apple needs to do is incorporate all the other goodies into its 15 inch model. Including the airport, Bluetooth, the graphics card, and that nifty backlit feature. That would be a tasty morsel, and I’d be putting up a PayPal donation button to have you all buy it for me.

And the Titanium PowerBooks are still the sexiest computer on earth.

An even bigger story is Apple’s release of the new Safari browser, which I don’t think is a huge surprise, was it? The best place to get a re-cap on all of the excitement is over at Mark Pilgrim’s. He did a nice first review of CSS support within Safari, and links to others who also reviewed the browser. Better yet, everyone else interested has linked to him and they’re all showing up in his referrals. Sticky Strand technology hits again.

I tried Safari and didn’t have too many problems. My weblog is quarked, which makes sense — automatic resizing of table columns that don’t contain any data, such as my outer columns, almost always looks bad in beta browsers. I also tried the browser on my more markup savvy weblogging neighbors such as DorotheaJonathonAllan, and Mark and their weblogs look great. I guess there is somthing to be said for all that they’ve been trying to teach us this last year.

If you don’t have a Mac OS 10.2 equipped machine, holler and I’ll take screenshots of your weblog with the browser and email them to you so you can see for yourself how your pages look.

Despite of all the hooflah about the TiBook and Safari, I was more interested in seeing additional examples of Apple’s unique and successful blend of open source technology paired with commercial interests. Steve Jobs has an uncanny ability to mix the two and have it work. Timothy Appnel captured the essence of Safari and it’s impact on open source when he wrote:


Apple’s use of the Konqueror/KHTML rendering engine as opposed to Mozilla Gecko is a bit controversial (or more accurately intruiging), but in the long run will be beneficial to the space. Instead of one open source engine, developers will have more choice and the inheritent flexibility that two different efforts provide.

I agree — two open source engines are better than one. I know it’s going to be a hassle, and we have yet another browser we have to test against with our web pages. However, competition is good — do you want to be stuck only with IE?

The browser’s interesting, and the computer’s sexy, but the top story for me is Apple’s release of an X11 Windows system for Mac OS 10.2. It’s based on the XFree86 project, just like XDarwin, the most popular X11 for Mac OS X at this time. Again, an effective blend of open source and commercial use, and increased competition among vendors.

Apple may have added entries for both the browser and the X11 markets to their stable, but they left the barn door open and anyone with a keyboard and an inclination can trot in and hunker down at the same oat bin.

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