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Andy Hertzfeld Shares His Thoughts on 25 Years of the Mac

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the never-forget-your-first-mac dept.

Desktops (Apple) 142

blackbearnh writes "It may make you feel very, very old, but the Macintosh will be turning 25 in January. As we approach this momentous anniversary, O'Reilly News had a talk with Andy Hertzfeld, one of the original Macintosh designers, about the long and storied history of the Mac. Hertzfeld, who tells the story of the Mac in his book A Revolution in the Valley, shares his thoughts about how the Mac has aged over time, how life might have been different if Steve Jobs had stayed on at Apple, and the differences between working for Apple, and for Google (his current employer.)" Read on below for a bit of what Hertzfeld had to say.

"They're very similar in certain ways — essentially both Apple and Google want to rewrite the rulebook; they don't want to do things in conventional ways. They want to come up with a better way — for everything; that's not even just the technology but the work processes, the work environment, everything has to be unique and better, so they're very similar in that way. One of the ways that they're different has to do with essentially trust of employees. Apple is very secretive within the company; people working on Macs don't know anything about the new iPods, et cetera. Google is extremely open within the company; once you're a Google employee you have access to just about every piece of information there is."

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142 comments

What has he done lately? (2, Funny)

dfetter (2035) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770655)

I'm curious as to why people are still interviewing Mr. Hertzfeld, given that his most recent successful project was the Mac. Even more puzzling is that he continues to be able to raise funds, attract developers, etc., in view of his decades-long track record of failure.

Re:What has he done lately? (0, Flamebait)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770765)

Never used a mac, never want to. However you, Sir, should get a life. Nobody will reply to your post because of your low UID. So I will, and I say to you: "bollocks". Come back when you've achieved something comparable.

Re:What has he done lately? (4, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770797)

I'm curious as to why people are still interviewing Mr. Hertzfeld, given that his most recent successful project was the Mac. Even more puzzling is that he continues to be able to raise funds, attract developers, etc., in view of his decades-long track record of failure.

I don't know why people give him money, but as for an interview subject, he was a witness to history.

Re:What has he done lately? (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771021)

Well, we're all a witness to history...

Re:What has he done lately? (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771963)

It's all a mater of perspective. What history have you witnessed? And from what angle?

Re:What has he done lately? (2, Funny)

ryanw (131814) | more than 5 years ago | (#24773183)

It's all a mater of perspective. What history have you witnessed? And from what angle?

The daily history of breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Re:What has he done lately? (3, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#24775413)

It's all a mater of perspective. What history have you witnessed? And from what angle?

The daily history of breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Sounds positively epic. I think I may have to lie down.

Re:What has he done lately? (1)

archkittens (1272770) | more than 5 years ago | (#24773019)

and the politicians STILL get away with it...

Re:What has he done lately? (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 5 years ago | (#24775017)

Don't forget he was a co-founder of Eazel... one of the worst business ideas of the 90's dotcom bubble (and that's saying a lot!)

Re:What has he done lately? (2, Interesting)

Douglas Goodall (992917) | more than 5 years ago | (#24775317)

He is the one who cost me $35000 when he witheld the LISA Development system to keep me from porting a popular app. He is a creepy guy with an ego bigger than the universe. The last thing he did that I know of was working on copy protection for Apple ][ floppies.

Re:What has he done lately? (1, Flamebait)

mpapet (761907) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770833)

Look cowboy, YOU come up with one really great thing that becomes an iconic device/OS/whatever and you too can get interviewed 25 years from now.

You know, Linux has made it so much easier to do it too. Go ahead. I look forward to seeing it last 25 years.

Re:What has he done lately? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770915)

what are you talking about? The company he co-founded, General Magic, went on to create OnStar. I wouldn't call that a failure.
Most of his other ventures like Radius and all that weren't failures, but they weren't big-time hits either.

Re:What has he done lately? (5, Informative)

Chris Parrinello (1505) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771063)

Ummm... no. OnStar existed before General Magic added speech recognition services to it and Hertzfeld was gone before General Magic started getting into speech recognition applications.

Re:What has he done lately? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770929)

Well he works for Google for one thing.
And you know that whole Mac thing is a pretty big stuff.

Re:What has he done lately? (1)

mveloso (325617) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770935)

When you're associated with success, the press just calls you for things..just like sci-fi actors and actresses. Plus, he interviews well.

General Magic - Android (1, Funny)

wsanders (114993) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771005)

Android will crush you all, it won't have a kill switch. We underestimate the General Magic heritage. It was a pretty cool device, I knew a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy who had one.

Re:What has he done lately? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24771045)

It's hard to create a wildly successful product once, let alone twice.

Re:What has he done lately? (-1, Flamebait)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771103)

Maybe it's what he hasn't done lately. Apple keeps turning out crap like Leopard and the iPhone that are all flashy and hyped up to really get the showey douchebags excited and then the fail miserably and have unbelievble problems that make them not function at all. I don't think he'd let crap like that through if he worked on it directly.

Leopard... (1)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771339)

...is doing just fine, thanks a lot, on my MacBook.

Re:What has he done lately? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24772603)

Jeez, Firefox has a spell-check built in, you know!

Re:What has he done lately? (1)

Admiral Ag (829695) | more than 5 years ago | (#24773589)

A shame it doesn't have an extension to clean flecks of spit off of screens. :-(

Re:What has he done lately? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24774453)

The iPhone has been a massive success, idiot, technical problems in a small number of bad batches aside.

On the other hand, what is a miserable failure is your posting history. Of all the "newer" regular posters I see here, you have to be one of the most staggeringly stupid.

Re:What has he done lately? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24771117)

While working at General Magic, I talked to him a few times while he was still working at General Magic and my impression of him is that he is extremely confident and really good at selling himself and his role in the development of the Macintosh. He never struck me as a genius or anything like that. I think he was just the right person in the right place at the right time.

Unfortunately, he is starting to give off that high school football star 25 years later vibe....

Re:What has he done lately? (4, Insightful)

Bryan Ischo (893) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771381)

Perhaps so, but he does have interesting things to say and a very intelligent way to say them. That was one of the best interviews I have read in a while, because both the questions and answers were intelligent and interesting.

Re:What has he done lately? (1)

nitroamos (261075) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771663)

I'm curious as to why people are still interviewing Mr. Hertzfeld

As indicated as your curiosity, even you agree that he has name recognition.

David Fetter needs to be killed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24774929)

Reading his signature, which states:

'What part of "A well regulated militia" do you not understand?'

and looking at the 'rants' section of his website, I've come to the conclusion that David Fetter needs to be killed.

I've forwarded his home address to the appropriate people.

Re:What has he done lately? (1)

elysiuan (762931) | more than 5 years ago | (#24775251)

He worked at a little company called Eazel don't forget. That company created Nautilus the window manager which replaced sawfish in Gnome and is still used for every default gnome installation out there.

Re:What has he done lately? (2, Interesting)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 5 years ago | (#24776729)

Nautilus is the Gnome file manager and replaced nothing. You are thinking of Pennington's Metacity which replaced Sawfish. And I thought that Eazel's Nautilus was a tremendous failure, they allegedly burned through $15 million of venture capital and left behind a practically unusable file manager, which took the other contributors years to get into a good state. It's possible that Eazel lost funding too early and that they would have come up with a great tool if just given a year more time, but then I guess they should have used the 15 million better than they apparently did.

Re:What has he done lately? (2, Funny)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 5 years ago | (#24776771)

Nautilus is the Gnome file manager and replaced nothing.

Please quote here the appropriate law about errors in posts that correct errors.

Nautilus did replace something: Midnight Commander.

Mad props (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770669)

To the Mac fans who used Apple products back when Apple manufactured self-contained computing solutions; as opposed to the chatty, coffee-house faggotry of a self-absorbed shallow image cranking out slow-as-fuck UI's in prettly little Jap-gadgets.

Re:Mad props (2, Funny)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771749)

You might want to study this [wikipedia.org] before posting again. Familiarizing yourself with this [wikipedia.org] wouldn't hurt either.

Re:Mad props (1)

Admiral Ag (829695) | more than 5 years ago | (#24773667)

Judging by the number of posts like this on slashdot, Apple is so great that they even have their own brand of homophobia now.

It needs it's own name.

More Andy Hertzfeld (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770727)

He was the first interview of the very good NerdTV series of 2005.
http://www.pbs.org/cringely/nerdtv/shows/ [pbs.org]

Who's got other gems?

Re:More Andy Hertzfeld (4, Informative)

jeblucas (560748) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771423)

I had a story posted here [slashdot.org] years ago when the book came out.

It includes a link to the awesome notebook page [macdevcenter.com] and it's timeless classic, "Memory layout is a bitch."

Re:More Andy Hertzfeld (3, Informative)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771523)

Folklore.org [folklore.org] is full of great stuff.

Re:More Andy Hertzfeld (2, Interesting)

jhrizz (756221) | more than 5 years ago | (#24775281)

There is quite a lot of him in the documentary I am working on called Welcome to Macintosh - http://www.welcometomacintosh.com/ [welcometomacintosh.com] He spoke with us for a couple of hours about the personal computer revolution, his time at Apple, open source, all kinds of things my girlfriend finds much less interesting than I do. Luckily we are going to put most of his interview on the DVD as extras. Once you start listening to him tell a story it's hard to stop.

Re:More Andy Hertzfeld (1)

jhrizz (756221) | more than 5 years ago | (#24775819)

That should be Dyslexia... Wow. Screwed up my own sig.

mac, what do you think? (0, Flamebait)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770729)

*makes a-ok sign* It stinks!

Re:mac, what do you think? (3, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770755)

*makes a-ok sign* It stinks!

Now begins the moderation war between mac addicts and MST3K fans. *grins evilly, sips iced tea*

Re:mac, what do you think? (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770803)

*makes a-ok sign* It stinks!

Now begins the moderation war between mac addicts and MST3K fans. *grins evilly, sips iced tea*

I know! And the hardcore MST3K fans are going to mod him down for not saying: *puts on a white shirt with black font that reads "I'M A VIRGIN" across [youtube.com] the front of it*

Re:mac, what do you think? (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770851)

I know! And the hardcore MST3K fans are going to mod him down for not saying: *puts on a white shirt with black font that reads "I'M A VIRGIN" across the front of it*

Idiot control now, flying over trout! heh, so many great lines from that episode.
Huzzah!
Dark one, supreme being, chief? McLeod!
Trumpy, you do stupid things!
It looks just like a potato. What's this, winged potatoes.
Pod people got no reason to live.

Idiot control now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24771039)

Sack of monkeys in my pocket,
My sister's ready to go!

Idiot control now!

Re:mac, what do you think? (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771125)

Trumpy, you can do magic things!

whooooo (-1, Flamebait)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770751)

25 years of apple, and still no one makes software for it. Kudos to you apple!

Re:whooooo (5, Funny)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771801)

Yar! Twenty-freaking-five years later and I'm still trying to find some real choices in my virus scanning and spyware removal software. Damn you Apple!!!

Re:whooooo (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24777729)

Yar! Twenty-freaking-five years later and I'm still trying to find some real choices in my virus scanning and spyware removal software. Damn you Apple!!!

Not to mention games...

woohoo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770769)

Kathleen is out of town for the weekend, and you know what that means: coke for my nose, cock for my ass. If you're hung like a nigger, give me a call.

-- CmdrTaco

Who is this Hertzfeld guy? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770779)

I thought Jobs and Wozniak designed the Mac, or as we say today, iJobs and iWoz designed the iMac.

I'd look it up on iWikipedia myself, but my 3G is down right now.

moron sharing thoughts on corepirate nazi regimes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770789)

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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/29/world/29amnesty.html?hp
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http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/06/02/honore.preparedness/index.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/01/opinion/01dowd.html?em&ex=1212638400&en=744b7cebc86723e5&ei=5087%0A
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/05/senate.iraq/index.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/washington/17contractor.html?hp
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/03/world/middleeast/03kurdistan.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080708/cheney_climate.html
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20080805/pl_politico/12308;_ylt=A0wNcxTPdJhILAYAVQms0NUE

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the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

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& pretending that it isn't happening here;

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all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

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25 years of... (0, Troll)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770825)

...ripping of FOS software and giving nothing back except for the compulsory parts (thanks to GPL)?
...being backed by a 156 billion $ company behind it and still about the same marketshare as Linux?
...completely locking your users to that company, taking away all freedom?

Congratulations, I guess.

Re:25 years of... (1)

KeithJM (1024071) | more than 5 years ago | (#24770955)

being backed by a 156 billion $ company behind it and still about the same marketshare as Linux?

yeah, but how much money did Linus make off of his marketshare? (I know, I'm just kidding about that) Still, you seem to be implying that being a $156 billion dollar company makes them a failure if they don't also have a monopoly in their space. I would argue that shareholders care a lot more about their marketcap than their marketshare.

Re:25 years of... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771019)

Nevermind "monopoly". Being seen by grannies as a drop in replacement
for Windows and being able to withstand the usual Lemming FUD about
compatability would be a nice start.

Quite a bit of "common good" would come from that achievement.

Re:25 years of... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771059)

I would argue that shareholders care a lot more about their marketcap than their marketshare.

Yes, but you have to get investors from somewhere. Even though MS keeps making money, if I had invested in MS I would be selling my stocks. Why? Because MS's marketshare has went down sharply. If McDonalds had a monopoly on drive thrus and everyone wanted to go to a drive thru and so McDonalds prospered, but yet when Burger King had a drive thru and food that tasted better than McDonalds I'm sure that many people would take out their McDonalds shares and invest in Burger King.

Re:25 years of... (3, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771217)

You miss a couple important factors. While market share is important, also important is the forecast for the market, and the margins on the product sold in the market.

In terms of expected profits (and hence, expected share value or dividends), who cares if market share is dropping a couple percent a year if the market is growing, say, five percent a year? Or if the margin is increasing likewise?

Of course, you might be making a valid point, I haven't crunched the numbers on MSFT. But, AFAICT from a quick googling, long-term projections for MS are still very good.

Re:25 years of... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771409)

But these are investors. They have no loyalty, they just want to get a quick buck or be able to retire in 20 years rich. When someone tells you that your marketshare went down from 97% to 93%, a drop of 4%, some people will get scared and take out money. Likewise, if Apple can say that the Mac gained 3% in the last year, investors don't really care if it went from 3% or 6%.

Re:25 years of... (2, Informative)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771865)

If you had invested in MSFT you'd know that their stock has been essentially flat since 2000. Certainly if you were vested back then, selling off during the periodic spikes would help, but ultimately it has been a non-performer for nearly a decade now.

Re:25 years of... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24771159)

Hi AsperFarts

Apple is one of GCC's biggest contributors. Or maybe you're thinking of WebKit. It's such a significant improvement over khtml that Trolltech will be including it as part of QT and KDE will be using it as well. Too bad more people don't "rip off" FOS

OS X has a larger marketshare on the desktop (you know, their target audience). But speaking of market cap, VA Linux went from 22 billion to 44 million.

Your other point is just plain stupid.

Re:25 years of... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24771167)

doesn't it suck getting modded down for being honest? the faggots have a large share of mod points, i guess.

Re:25 years of... (1)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | more than 5 years ago | (#24775577)

Not really, I should have expected it with such a post.
I probably was a bit too harsh.But still, Troll is a tad too much.

Re:25 years of... (0, Troll)

abigor (540274) | more than 5 years ago | (#24774489)

Ah yes, yet another kid with absolutely no idea what he's talking about, but thinks he knows all about the collaboration between Apple, the KHTML team, GCC, etc., even though he's never written a line of code in his life.

Linux has NO desktop market share, by the way. Stop deluding yourself. And I say this as someone who's been using it on the desktop since 1997, probably around the time you stopped wearing diapers.

Re:25 years of... (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#24774639)

I know about the big argument that lasted for two years while the KHTML team was asking for the changes in WebKit, only to be given a pile of crap which they couldn't use. I guess Apple didn't know how to do a diff.

I know about that part of the "collaboration." Is there more?

But you're right about Linux having no market share in the U.S. Other countries, though....

Also using Linux on the desktop since 1997, BTW.

Re:25 years of... (1)

steeviant (677315) | more than 5 years ago | (#24775299)

Ooh ooh... can I join the using Linux since 1997 club too?!

Re:25 years of... (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#24775353)

It was a good year. :D

Re:25 years of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24776493)

But was it the Year of the Linux Desktop ?

Re:25 years of... (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#24776703)

And 1998, and 1999. 2000 sucked pretty badly, though, if I rememeber correctly.

Re:25 years of... (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#24775373)

Join here! [google.com]

Re:25 years of... (2, Insightful)

LKM (227954) | more than 5 years ago | (#24775631)

The issues between the KHTML and WebKit teams did not last two years, and have long since been resolved. If you have to dig that deep to find some dirt, I count that in Apple's favor.

Memory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770873)

It has come a long way since 64k was enough

I want a Big MAC with fires please (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24770877)

doG, I've just realised I'm dyslexic.

Very, very? (5, Funny)

ferd_farkle (208662) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771071)

"It may make you feel very, very old, but the Macintosh will be turning 25[...]"

Get the heck off my lawn. And take your fruit machine with you.

Re:Very, very? (1)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 5 years ago | (#24772049)

Man - the mods needs to grow a sense of humor. That was funny.

Re:Very, very? (2, Interesting)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#24774751)

I was just thinking about when my high school computer club went to see the introduction of the Mac and how cool I thought it was (I was mostly using Tandy Model I/III at the time).

Then I felt very, very old. I think the title is correct.

Quality control please (5, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771119)

Throw us a bone, will ya? Come on, god damn PC history every other day. Give us more of that Netherlands Neanderthal Cow magnet stuff. Those are good.

Apple versus google (3, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771123)

Apple, Inc is a mature company with products that generate constant profits. Google is new company that has benefited from the fact that few people have more money than they know what to do with, and just need to invest it anything that looks halfway honest, and needs breeds of financial instruments that help hide whether a company is profitable of not. That last statement may sound a bit harsh, but banks, expert in fraudulent financial instruments, were able to create the illusion of profit in what we now know was in fact was not the case.

We don't know if Google will work in the long run. And in the long run I am thinking AOL. Google's success depends on the advertising market tolerating secretive and random marketize techniques which appear to be abuse of the near monopoly that Google now has in advertising. The success is also dependent on the ability of cheap commodity severs to provide six nines service, externalizing the majority of the cost of content creation to third parties, and externalizing the majority of infrastructure costs to the taxpayer. I am not saying that at some point their house of cards will fall al a AOL, but I am not quite sure how they are going to make money off cloud computing, other than selling personal information collecting from the love letters of their users to third parties.

All Apple has to do is come up with the next cool thing that people will pay for. This is not a simple thing, but something that Apple has been doing with some success for quite a while. We now see a diversification outside of computers, so, when the Mac OS does become something that is not limited to any machine, and when, by the same rules, MS is not able to limit OEM versions to run only on the machine it was originally shipped with, Apple will be able to enter this brave new work of zero profit computer equipment with new consumer appliances.

Re:Apple versus google (2, Insightful)

againjj (1132651) | more than 5 years ago | (#24772075)

[Google's] success is also dependent on [...] externalizing the majority of infrastructure costs to the taxpayer.

Where did that come from? I can not think of anything here that fits. Clearly you are not talking about Google-owned infrastructure like their data centers et.al. Perhaps you mean internet infrastructure, since this was funded in the past by the government. But then, that is true about the electrical/sewer/telephone/etc. infrastructure. At this point, the initial investment has been paid, and none of these are funded by the government. All services are paid for. Google pays well for good Internet connectivity, and users pay for connectivity; each Internet provider pays its providers recursively, funding all through that money. Where are the charges getting externalized to the taxpayer? Roads?

G6 dreams (4, Interesting)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771151)

So, now that we've got the Cell CPU out the door, do you think we're going to see a G6 soon? The PowerPC line of CPUs has never been so prosperous!

I doubt that Apple's ditching Intel anytime soon, but since they already have a PPC compatible OS, might they dip their toe back into those waters again?

Re:G6 dreams (4, Interesting)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771579)

I don't think so, they have seen their users actually install/run Boot Camp to run Windows on Mac sometimes and believe me, there are lots and lots of people having "Untitled" on their Desktops now :) It is just like you hear how "awful" MS Office is but somehow it always make top Apple software at Amazon. It must be BillG ordering all those copies I guess? ;)

If Apple was on Cell organisation, you would expect something like Toshiba did. They keep on x86/Windows but they add a Cell processor as a co-processor to do insane things. Also keep in mind there is nothing stopping any company to put a Cell chip to PCI card, contribute to ffmpeg/vlc code and ship a multi platform media accelerator for PCs and Macs.

It is a sad fact today that x86 stays, at least for Desktop. I can't imagine IBM working with Apple again to provide them POWER6UL (rumoured ultra light). Apple in fact seriously hurt POWER image. They could just say "IBM and Motorola are concentrated on different markets" but they spoke about performance/watt, heat consumption etc. which are ONLY true for PPC line of that huge architecture. They couldn't say "They don't give a heck to our needs" of course :)

After all of this, it would be really hard to convince developers to re-code for POWER instruction set, Altivec etc. It is a radically different thing. I am speaking about consumer/desktop developers of course, POWER is kinda x86 on enterprise market.

Can you imagine IBM engineers going mad over "lower than expected fps" on a popular game? That is the issue. Intel and AMD has such people.

Re:G6 dreams (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#24772127)

OS X currently supports three instruction sets; x86, PowerPC and ARM. Most software can use any with a straight recompile (the decision to use UIKit instead of AppKit on their ARM-based platforms makes porting GUI apps slightly harder, but this is orthogonal to the question of the CPU). Very little code directly depends on things like AltiVec or SSE. Code that does, often uses libraries for common algorithms (FFT, and so on) which just uses the correct code for the current platform. Other code uses generic vector support in GCC and LLVM, which is compiled to whatever instructions the host architecture supports.

I wouldn't be surprised if PowerPC surfaces again at some point in the future. Freescale, in particular, make some very cheap parts that would make sense in successors to the AppleTV.

Re:G6 dreams (1)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 5 years ago | (#24772139)

You make good points, however one of them really isn't valid (assuming developers are using the tools provided to them by Apple).

After all of this, it would be really hard to convince developers to re-code for POWER instruction set, Altivec etc. It is a radically different thing

The reason being that 1) most devs using Cocoa are shipping Universal Binary (ies) already (that's anecdotal based upon what I've seen - I don't have an actual reference for that), and 2) CoreImage and its ilk abstract the GPU and SIMD pipelines away from the application layer.

Re:G6 dreams (3, Interesting)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 5 years ago | (#24774989)

most devs using Cocoa are shipping Universal Binary (ies) already (that's anecdotal based upon what I've seen - I don't have an actual reference for that)

In contrast, it seems game developers have been using Cider [transgaming.com] quite a bit lately. This makes porting from Windows much easier, but the games will be Intel-only.

Re:G6 dreams (1)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 5 years ago | (#24775895)

Oh, you got that right. Unfortunately, EVE absolutely blows under Cider. I boot into XP for it - it's more stable that way (well, you get the pretty graphics too).

How Microsoft and Intel won the West (3, Funny)

burnitdown (1076427) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771161)

It was probably the decision to openly license it. The Mac--when the Mac came out and for two years thereafter it was at least four or five years ahead of Windows and possibly could have taken the place of Windows if it was openly licensed, but because the Macintosh was restricted to a single member, Apple, it never could become an industry rather than a single platform.

Highly insightful. The Mac was like the old order, where one company made hardware, OS and software. The PC is part of the new order.

Maybe this order will change soon with "cloud computing" (sounds like trying to find the diameter of a fart) but I doubt it.

Re:How Microsoft and Intel won the West (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24771537)

Highly insightful. The Mac was like the old order, where one company made hardware, OS and software. The PC is part of the new order.

Hard to say -- the difference is the Mac competed directly and enthusiastically with the openly licensed ecology. That's a real difference with any "old order" you might be referring to. Also, had they open-licensed they would have probably failed to retain the same polish, and become a pretty footnote like Amiga and Atari.

And of course this "old order" is what's having a 25th anniversary here, and doing just fine. Probably best not to use terms like that.

Re:How Microsoft and Intel won the West (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#24777343)

The Mac of 25 years ago is just as much a footnote as the Amiga - the difference is that the Mac trademark is now used to refer to a new different OS X based platform.

Given that the Amiga and Atari were based on a similar closed "one company makes all" strategy, it's not clear why Apple opening their platform would have made them more like the Amiga and Atari - rather, it would've made them closer to the PC.

And of course this "old order" is what's having a 25th anniversary here, and doing just fine.

Although, the old order isn't quite the same as it was - although Apple still try to control the platform, the hardware is now based on the same standard PC parts as any other computer. Given that Apple had to switch from their custom hardware, to Intel and other standard hardware, I think that shows how the open strategy allowed it to become dominant, while the old closed Mac hardware is nowhere to be seen today.

Re:How Microsoft and Intel won the West (4, Insightful)

RetiredMidn (441788) | more than 5 years ago | (#24772099)

It was probably the decision to openly license it. The Mac--when the Mac came out and for two years thereafter it was at least four or five years ahead of Windows and possibly could have taken the place of Windows if it was openly licensed, but because the Macintosh was restricted to a single member, Apple, it never could become an industry rather than a single platform.

Highly insightful. The Mac was like the old order, where one company made hardware, OS and software. The PC is part of the new order.

I disagree with Andy's assessment. The Mac may have been years ahead of Windows, but it's real problem, IMHO, is MS-DOS was already pretty entrenched, and the Mac didn't offer a migration path. I was working for Lotus at the time (working sometimes on the Mac, sometimes on DOS), and we had a pretty large community of 1-2-3 users who would not leave behind their accumulated DOS spreadsheets and what-not for the Mac even if they wanted to.

Anybody else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24771223)

...misread the subject line as Andy Herzog [wikipedia.org] and wonder why on earth an old Austrian soccer player's opinions about Macs are of interest to anyone?

Re:Anybody else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24771817)

Um, no. It would seem you're the only one.

Today's celebrity voice: (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 5 years ago | (#24771905)

Jeff Goldblum!

Man, had to stop reading that interview. Kept hearing Jeff Goldblum answer all the questions, what with the stops and starts.

The Genius of Hertzfeld, Et Al (5, Interesting)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 5 years ago | (#24772103)

The original Mac team was filed with absolute sheer geniuses. You may not appreciate that fact unless you've read folklore.org or the book form, Revolution in the Valley, since there is the tendency in the popular media not to focus on the technical side of the Mac's creation. The incredible work they did, especially given the paucity of computing resources at their disposal at the time, is truly awe inspiring. And one piece of knowledge you gain through these stories is the fact that the Mac's engineers viewed themselves as far lower in ability as compared to the Woz. If you haven't read these stories yet, you only know a small part of the story of the Mac's creation. This interview should whet your appetite for the rest of the story.

A few nice words about Andy Herzfeld... (4, Insightful)

InterruptDescriptorT (531083) | more than 5 years ago | (#24773277)

I just wanted to take a few bytes of badwidth to say that Andy Herzfeld is one of my personal heroes and should be to any creative, true old-school hacker-type programmers/engineers out there. Among other things, he is the father of the desk accessory in the original Mac OS.

The original Mac had 128K of memory, some 27K of which was used for the screen buffer alone, and although much of the OS was in ROM, it used a significant amount of the available RAM for itself. And this isn't even to mention any currently running application. A Desk Accessory, then, and the ability to invoke it while an application was running (many people forget that the original Mac OS was not multitasking at all), required some pretty incredible feats of programming to make it fit in the tiny amount of memory left. And he found a way to make it work.

People often speak in awe of how the 512K Amiga did multitasking on its tiny memory budget, and while I also admire that effort (especially having been a Commodore kid from VIC 20 to C64 to Amiga), I still think the original Mac OS represents one of the most incredible feats of software engineering of the early microcomputer era. I get slightly down every so often when I think about how modern developers, including myself, have gigabytes of memory and ultra-fast processors to work with and don't often have to think about the resource consumption of their algorithms/designs. Must have been so cool to work that kind of stuff back there...

Fawning mode off now...

Re:A few nice words about Andy Herzfeld... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24776819)

The original Amiga 1000 computer had only 256K. I firmly believe that the hardest part of engineering, is to make things on budget. Amiga succeded only one year after than Apple to release a greater technical feat for half a Mac price. Multitasking, video hardware acceleration, quality sound, ...
  No doubt Apple did a good job, but i think its easily shadowed by Amiga one. And well, the only reason Amiga wasnt released in 1984 was budget problems.

Re:A few nice words about Andy Herzfeld... (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 5 years ago | (#24777233)

Quite the nitpicker, heh? Then you shouldn't mind: one and a half years, not one year. Didn't come with a monitor either, which helps to bring the price down.

Re:A few nice words about Andy Herzfeld... (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#24778039)

Didn't come with a monitor either

Indeed, and was capable of using a regular television as a monitor, which really helped "bring the price down" for people. I think it was a smart decision overall.

Re:A few nice words about Andy Herzfeld... (1)

Weedlekin (836313) | more than 5 years ago | (#24776929)

"People often speak in awe of how the 512K Amiga did multitasking on its tiny memory budget"

The original Amiga (the 1000) shipped with 256K.

25 years of the Mac (3, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#24773513)

"The Mac at 25" makes me think back to when I bought my first mac in 1984. These days I'm on linux. My wife has an aging "iLamp" G4 on her desk, which we're probably going to get rid of soon and switch her to a linux box. But anyway I've continuously had a mac in the house for 24 years now.

Looking back, I see that time as dividing into three periods:

  1. Early on, it was a revolutionary machine, way ahead of its time. The mouse, the GUI, and desktop publishing were all new. The price was high in 2008 dollars, but so was the price of an MS-DOS machine. It was a fairly open environment; you could buy the manual that described all the APIs ("Inside Mac") very cheaply, in a phone-book format. This was roughly the period of the 68000 cpu.
  2. Then there was a period where it sucked more and more. By the time it got to MacOS 9, I was just finding it to be a completely untenable platform. Cooperative multitasking was a disaster, because it meant that anything that crashed was likely to crash your whole machine -- and the increasing complexity of the system and app software guaranteed that you'd have lots of crashes. There were tons of those little whatchamacallums -- were they called "extensions?" -- the little icons that showed up when you booted the box. The problem was that extensions would conflict or cause crashes. E.g., Adobe PageMaker would crash, and I'd call Adobe and ask if there was any way to avoid the crashes, etc., and they'd blame it on extension conflicts. So then I'd turn off every extension except for the Adobe extensions that were required to run PageMaker, and it would still crash. This was pretty much the PowerPC period. During this time, people would complain that macs were overpriced compared to PCs. That was kind of right and kind of wrong. It was wrong because it was an apples-to-oranges comparison. Macs came with lots of free hardware goodies, like sound I/O, that cheap PCs didn't. On the other hand, it was right, because if you didn't have the money for a Mac, you just didn't have a choice -- you were going to get a low-end PC, which was cheaper.
  3. The third era is MacOS X. The big issue now is that low-end PCs can do everything I need, and low-end PCs are insanely cheap, so why buy a mac? E.g., if you price out a Dell PC with linux preinstalled, and omit the monitor, it's $249 for a dual-core 2 GHz, 2 Gb RAM, 250 Gb hd. The stereotype that was bogus in period #2 -- that macs were for people with too much money on their hands -- is really true now. It also really rankles me, as an early adopted of OS X, to think of how many of those $130 dot-upgrades I paid for, for several machines. One of the reasons we're dumping our last mac is that we stopped paying for the OS upgrades, which means the system is getting too old to get security updates, and new software (e.g., ff3) doesn't run.

Re:25 years of the Mac (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 5 years ago | (#24775133)

if you price out a Dell PC with linux preinstalled, and omit the monitor, it's $249 for a dual-core 2 GHz, 2 Gb RAM, 250 Gb hd. The stereotype that was bogus in period #2 -- that macs were for people with too much money on their hands -- is really true now.

I don't know what you were looking at, but this is the cheapest I could find on dell.com. I think a dual core 2GHz proc is $150 to $200 by itself. :P Also, both have a bunch of USB ports, I just looked for differences,
Nothing's changed, it's still apples to oranges. Just as you might not have needed built in sound then, you may not need FW, BT, dig audio, wireless net, IR remote, stack of dvds form factor now.

The third era is MacOS X. The big issue now is that low-end PCs can do everything I need

If you look at the growth rate of the PC over the last 20 years, this was/is true for the majority of computer users.
Nothing at all wrong with your decision. I think PCs are like muscle cars (but many are more like Corolla's ;), cheap and powerful where it counts. Macs are a little more well rounded, like mid range four door sedans. You'll always find people scoffing at the heated seats, leather interior, dual climate control, quiet interior, convertible top, etc, and you just can't find many mid range sedans with a 4LV6, 6LV8, or forced induction. Frankly, we need both, and I'm glad PC's are here to fill this role, but it's not what I or many others are looking for in a computer.

Dell Inspiron 530s - $279
Intel® Celeron ® Processor 440 (2.00GHz, 800 FSB, 512KB L2 cache, single core)
1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz- 2DIMMs
250GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache(TM)
16X DVD+/-RW Drive
Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100 [wikipedia.org] next gen, but slower than 950/3000
VGA video output
DVI video output (probably same specs as Mac mini)
Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
Integrated 10/100 Ethernet (AFAIK, no gig on this model, googling for inspiron 530s returns wildly different machines, $279 - $2000)
keyboard & mouse included
1Yr Ltd Hardware Warranty, InHome Service after Remote Diagnosis

Mac mini - $599
1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (1.83GHz, 667 FSB, 2MB L2 cache, dual core)
1GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM - 2x512MB
80GB Serial ATA drive (5400 RPM)
Intel GMA 950 graphics processor [wikipedia.org] with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory
DVI video output to support digital resolutions up to 1920 by 1200 pixels
VGA video output analog resolutions up to 1920 by 1080 pixels
S-video and composite video output
Built-in speaker
Combined optical digital audio input/audio line in (minijack)
Combined optical digital audio output/headphone out (minijack)
Slot-loading Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW): reads DVDs at up to 8x speed
Built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet
Built-in 54-Mbps AirPort Extreme wireless networking
Built-in Bluetooth 2.0 + Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) up to 3 Mbps
Apple Remote
One FireWire 400 port
NO keyboard or mouse
Your Mac mini comes with 90 days of free telephone support and a one-year limited warranty.

Re:25 years of the Mac (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#24777989)

Nothing's changed, it's still apples to oranges. Just as you might not have needed built in sound then, you may not need FW, BT, dig audio, wireless net, IR remote, stack of dvds form factor now.

I find Macs more expensive, hell, just look at my current laptop:

My HP DV6000 widescreen laptop which came with 2GB RAM, built in webcam, nvidia graphics card with 512MB dedicated RAM with all the essentials including wireless, bluetooth. Has HDMI, a built in SD card reader, remote control. It came with Vista, but I installed Kubuntu [kubuntu.org] on it (which worked out of the box with it).

I bought this from comet for £399, and guess what... That is the cheapest price I can pay for a Mac, and a Mac Mini costs £399.

The only 'advantage' the Mac Mini has over this laptop is that it's 1.83GHz, while this laptop has a 1.66GHz processor. But - this machine has been the best gaming and work machine I've ever had, I doubt the Mac mini would live up to that with just a tiny bit faster processor, it doesn't even have a decent graphic card with dedicated RAM.

Macs are certainly affordable now, but you seriously cannot tell me Macs are cheaper.

Re:25 years of the Mac (3, Funny)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#24777867)

Early on, it was a revolutionary machine, way ahead of its time. The mouse, the GUI, and desktop publishing were all new. The price was high in 2008 dollars, but so was the price of an MS-DOS machine. It was a fairly open environment; you could buy the manual that described all the APIs ("Inside Mac") very cheaply, in a phone-book format. This was roughly the period of the 68000 cpu.

Honestly, you compare a Amiga to the Apple systems and Apple really cannot be compared with Amiga systems, at all. I don't think the Apple was way ahead of it's time, the GUI, publishing, while it was all new, it was all done far better by the Amiga.

I still remember when Apple switched to the Power PC platform and the Amigas were still outdoing the machines in 3d graphics etc. with it's old m68k processor and custom chips.

I have not been impressed by Apple over the years.

25 years later... (1)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 5 years ago | (#24774501)

...and the best use I could find for my ocho-core mac pro was to put Vista on it! ;)

What about General Magic? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24775609)

I appreciate that building the Mac was a big thing in Hertzfeld's life. To not mention it in an interview would be like interviewing Churchill and not mentioning the war. But what about the pioneering and extraordinary work at General Magic? Those guys saw the future and tried to create technology to bring it to the public, but somehow they got it completely and entirely wrong. I find it astonishing that most of what General Magic came up with died on the spot, and hasn't trickled through to modern devices, yet the world they envisioned is here right now.

And then there's Eazel. Hertzfeld was one of those who invented Nautilus. It's changed beyond all recognition since then. How does Hertzfeld feel about it? He obviously had faith in open source. Why?

These are the things I want to hear the great man talking about!

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