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AddThis Social Bookmark Button Writers' Talk

Talking About Life With Mac OS X


by Derrick Story
04/27/2001

Quite honestly, Writers' Talk is an experiment.

The idea is the result of many hours of online messaging and numerous e-mails with O'Reilly authors about our ongoing projects. During these "discussions," I began to feel that valuable thoughts and precious top-of-mind comments were being tossed out the window never to been seen again.

I hate waste. And even more, I hate to waste a good idea.

So I thought, "What if I invite our writers to join me for an online chat on a specific topic, save the chat, then publish it for others to see?" At the time it sounded like a good idea.

So, I invited Alan Graham and Mike Beam to test this promising format with an informal discussion about our views on Mac OS X. What you'll read is pretty much what we said at the time. At the end of the article is our Talk Back feature. Tell us your thoughts, and in particular, if you think we should continue with this experiment.

Now, on to the discussion ...


You have just entered room "OS X."

OReillyMac: Welcome to our first installment of "Writers' Talk." Today we'll be chatting with two O'Reilly Network writers: Mike Beam, the author of "Programming With Cocoa," and Alan Graham, who has just debuted his series of articles exploring Aqua. Good to have you both here!

Screen shot -- click for full-size view.
A view of the AIM client in Mac OSX (click for full-size view).

alanosx: Thanks. Glad to be here.

beamOSX: Thanks Derrick, same here.

OReillyMac: So let's get started ...

OReillyMac: First topic: The tech media has pretty much taken the stance that Mac OS X shows potential, but that it's not ready for primetime -- especially for non-developer types. I'd like to start with you Alan. Do you share that view?

alanosx: Depends...

alanosx: If you need third party hardware support...

alanosx: it is obvious that OS X isn't ready.

alanosx: But the drivers will come...

alanosx: The real issue is whether or not Classic can run your apps.

OReillyMac: Well, can't Classic run all of the existing apps?

alanosx: I've been testing a variety of software in Classic and found it to be quite responsive and relatively stable.

alanosx: As stable as 9.1 anyway.

OReillyMac: So Classic is different than OS 9?

alanosx: It seems to be. For example, in my own use of Outlook Express...

alanosx: It has difficulty connecting to news servers. doesn't mean everyone will have the same trouble.

OReillyMac: That's interesting ...

alanosx: If you rely heavily on OS 9 applications...

alanosx: you could wait...but why?

alanosx: It probably won't cost you any more to buy OS X now than 6 months from now. Why not get your feet wet? The drivers will come.

OReillyMac: Mike, what have you seen in this area? with Classic?

beamOSX: For me Classic has been working great.

beamOSX: I find it to be much more stable than 9.1 alone

alanosx: I agree.

beamOSX: but that may be due to the fact that I never run IE in Classic, which of course i do in 9.1

OReillyMac: Do you know how it's different than 9?

beamOSX: Different from 9...

beamOSX: let's see...

beamOSX: From what I've read it's not that much different at all in the eyes of the user

beamOSX: you run your apps in Classic just like you know how to

beamOSX: Sure, there are still a few glitches here and there--a lot due to the different graphics systems at play between OS X (Quartz) and Classic (Quickdraw) -- but nothing major in my opinion

OReillyMac: OK, here's a question for both of you. How much time are you spending in Classic vs OS X right now?

beamOSX: I would say its about equal in my case...

OReillyMac: Alan?

alanosx: Almost none. With the exception of occasional work in Photoshop, LiveMotion and Dreamweaver...only about 10% of my total time.

beamOSX: I'm impressed

alanosx: I've forced myself to rely on it./..

alanosx: dig into it...

alanosx: live it.

OReillyMac: As a result, have you come up the curve faster, you think?

alanosx: Absolutely.

alanosx: I've been using it about five months now...

alanosx: and there was a stretch in the beginning where I went back to OS 9 for 3 weeks...

alanosx: but I forced myself to return...

beamOSX: That's the way Beta went for me as well

alanosx: and since then...I've actually become enamoured of it in a way... I actually hate OS 9 now.

alanosx: I feel like going from a Mercedes to a Yugo.

OReillyMac: Why did you go back?

alanosx: Well... I was working under beta... and I was frustrated in using Classic... it wasn't as stable as the current version...

alanosx: and I found certain applications like LiveMotion and Dreamweaver weren't reliable.

alanosx: I needed them.

alanosx: but then...

alanosx: I felt in order to become confortable with X... I had to do what I did when I bought my first Mac...

alanosx: and that was to dive in.

OReillyMac: And of course those apps will be available soon under OS X

alanosx: Hopefully soon... I'm so excited to use Photoshop with protective memory!

OReillyMac: Me too! Ok ... here's another ...

alanosx: three words for OS X...stability stability stability.

beamOSX: I completely agree with that

OReillyMac: That's a nice transition ... OK, next question: Both of you have spent plenty of time under the hood of Mac OS X -- I'm wondering ... do you have to be a Unix developer to make heads or tails of this OS?

OReillyMac: Mike?

beamOSX: I would say not

OReillyMac: Tell us ...

beamOSX: Apple has done an amazing job of keeping the the UNIX side of OS X well hidden from the average user's experience in X

beamOSX: it is an incredibly functional operating system...

beamOSX: Apple has made so many UNIX services available to the user in the System Prefs, which is amazing

beamOSX: Users really do benefit from what UNIX has to offer, packaged in the intuitive GUI of Mac OS X and Aqua

OReillyMac: Can you give me an example?

beamOSX: Turn on Apache with one click...

beamOSX: turn on ftp with one click...

beamOSX: although the average user only needs know them as web serving and file sharing...

OReillyMac: web server on your desktop?

beamOSX: That's right...

beamOSX: for the Mac user it looks just like Web Sharing in OS 9, except the engine under the hood is orders of magnitude more powerful and functional

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