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DTP: We Feel Your Pain

by Derrick Story
04/12/2002

Dear Mac Reader,

I had a great conversation this week that I thought might interest you.

The O'Reilly/Macworld team reconvened to talk about new projects. At one point, we spun-off on a tangent that was both interesting and troubling: Mac OS X and desktop publishing.

We discussed the pain that the print community is feeling right now because Mac OS X just isn't ready for them yet. At the same time, they're in danger of losing the support they need for their existing OS 9 publishing system.

Large-scale printing is a complicated business. Every link in the production chain must work perfectly to achieve success. You can't just rip-out QuarkXPress and substitute InDesign. Over time you can make these sorts of transitions, but it takes careful planning and lots of testing.

As I thought about this conversation afterward, a couple things came to mind that I'd like to share with Apple and the print publishing community.

First to Apple: Please give this core customer base as much love as you have to offer. Publishing has stood by you in the darkest of days. Now it's time for you to stand by them, by helping them make a gentle transition to Mac OS X.

In large part this means that you should continue to refine and support OS 9 for at least two more years. Publishing needs a long enough transition period so they can migrate to OS X as the tools become available and as their bottom line allows.

As for the publishing world: Hang on, the pieces are coming together. Adobe is producing amazing products that run wonderfully well on Mac OS X. Quark has devoted an entire page on their Web site detailing their commitment to Apple's new OS.

As soon as all the "big guys" release their OS X apps, the additional tools that you need will arrive soon after. In the end, Mac OS X will be a more robust, reliable publishing platform than anything Apple has produced before.

Change is so hard. I just hope we keep talking to one another through this transition so when we come out on the other side, our community will be intact and more vibrant than ever.

Until next time,

Derrick Story
O'Reilly Network Managing Editor
derrick@oreilly.com


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