What is it with Mac users and their tendency to think that everything was
invented on the Mac? I've been seeing this a lot over the past few weeks as
features of Longhorn have gotten leaked out. Compositing? MacOS X. XAML? There's
an equivalent on Mac too. Name something on Windows and you're told it showed up
on the Mac.
Which is a pretty tall attitude for people who only recently seemed to have
discovered preemptive multitasking or threads. Did Apple "rip off" the idea of
preemptive multitasking from Microsoft? Or IBM who had it on OS/2 back in OS/2
1.0 on the PC in the late 80s?
In reality, many, if not most features in an OS are derivative of something
that came before. Stardock takes a regular beating from Mac users who are
certain that everything in it was ripped off from the Mac. In some cases
features were inspired by some feature in the Mac. But in most cases, it's an
obvious idea that we actually did first.
Alpha blended shadows behind your windows? We actually did that first with
WindowFX. But did we "invent"? this idea? No. My Amiga back in 1984 had solid
shadows behind them. Often times, the hardware dictates what's possible. We were
able to do WindowFX because the hardware finally made it possible to do alpha
blending at a reasonable speed.
How about the much talked about zooming icons on the MacOS X "dock"?
Turns out, that showed up in DesktopX first. But odds are, someone else had
thought of the idea of having icons grow on mouse over before us too. It's an
obvious idea that many people can independently come up with.
Last week I pulled out more hair as a popular TV show made a claim that there
is no PC equivalent of Konfabulator.
This is despite the fact that DesktopX
preceded it by YEARS and has an immense user base. Each week it is one of the
top 100 most popular programs in terms of downloads. Last week it was the #1
desktop enhancement on Download.com with over 20,000 downloads in a single week
and received a 4 star review. Admittedly, we haven't pushed DesktopX as hard as
say WindowBlinds because we have to focus on what generates revenue. No doubt
though that you'll find someone claiming that DesktopX "ripped off"
That doesn't excuse those who blatantly steal from others. For example, we
could, with relatively little effort, run Konfabulator widgets as DesktopX
objects. But we don't. Why? Because that would be incredibly unethical. But make
no mistake, there are plenty of software developers who would make no bones
about doing that kind of thing and that's the kind of thing that Mac users
complain about -- with good reason.
There is a lot of innovation going on in the industry. Apple is an
innovator. There is no doubt about that. But its innovations tend to be about
taking an existing idea and taking it to the next level. Whether that be the
mouse, the GUI, MP3 players, or more recently on-line music purchasing.
And Mac software developers tend to be like that too. The average Konfabulator
"Widget" is far superior in polish than the typical DesktopX object for example.
But there are also 5X as many DesktopX objects (not even counting the themes) as
there are Konfabulator widgets. Which is kind of the whole PC vs. Mac story.
There's a lot more "Crap" on the PC than on the Mac. But that doesn't mean that
all PC stuff is crap or that the good PC stuff is just stolen from the Mac.