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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Woz - Return to Apple. Good? Bad? Why?

Woz - Return to Apple. Good? Bad? Why? (Page 2)
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Eug
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Oct 12, 2011, 05:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Downscaling a desktop OS is hard, though. There is this little company in Redmond that has been trying to do that for the last decade or so, to limited success. I was quite impressed when Apple did it - especially as OS X was never particularly lightweight.
Windows was never built with that in mind. The other problem with Windows is that the software engineers seemed to have no concept of what would make a decent mobile user interface. I remember the first version of Windows Mobile just looked like somebody had squished the Windows 95 interface onto a tiny screen. Made no sense whatever. However, did Apple really downscale a full desktop OS? Or did they have some of this in mind a decade ago?

As much as people call Steve Jobs a vision guy and a marketer, he began life partially as a tech guy too. He had the foresight to develop an x86 version and PowerPC version in parallel, with the same for the simpler Apple apps too, so I wonder if he and his VPs instructed their software architects to build OS X in such a fashion so it could be stripped down in this fashion as necessary.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 12, 2011, 05:18 PM
 
How similar is the iOS kernel to OS X? Is scaling it down much more involved than stripping out drivers, extensions and libraries?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 13, 2011, 05:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
That's why I added Kawasaki.
Who also doesn't make sense to me. He's been out of the business for years and also with him, I don't see that Kawasaki is adding what is now missing with Jobs.

Kawasaki and Woz are left-overs from Apple 1.0 while Forestall (who joined NeXT in 1996), Cook (who joined Apple in 1998), etc. are people from the Apple 2.0 era. They are much better suited to continue Job's work in my opinion.
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Oct 13, 2011, 05:41 AM
 
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Big Mac
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Oct 13, 2011, 06:23 AM
 
Excellenet article, War. Must read for anyone interested in the topic of Apple's future leadership.

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Oct 13, 2011, 08:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Windows was never built with that in mind.
And NeXTSTEP was? Windows CE/Pocket PC was based, ultimately, on DOS, which certainly had a lower minimum spec.

Originally Posted by Eug View Post
The other problem with Windows is that the software engineers seemed to have no concept of what would make a decent mobile user interface. I remember the first version of Windows Mobile just looked like somebody had squished the Windows 95 interface onto a tiny screen. Made no sense whatever.
Fair enough, the interface was a big part of why it failed, but still...

Originally Posted by Eug View Post
However, did Apple really downscale a full desktop OS? Or did they have some of this in mind a decade ago?

As much as people call Steve Jobs a vision guy and a marketer, he began life partially as a tech guy too. He had the foresight to develop an x86 version and PowerPC version in parallel, with the same for the simpler Apple apps too, so I wonder if he and his VPs instructed their software architects to build OS X in such a fashion so it could be stripped down in this fashion as necessary.
The x86 version existed first - all Apple did was make sure that the code still compiled on x86. The advantage to the OS X design was that had the source code to every single part of it (except Flash), and most of the code came from different sources. This meant that the interfaces had to be clear, not the spaghetti code that is the current Windows kernel. I imagine that this helped when they had to pull stuff out, but I doubt that that was the original intention.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Oct 13, 2011, 08:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
How similar is the iOS kernel to OS X? Is scaling it down much more involved than stripping out drivers, extensions and libraries?
The kernel is the smallest part of the problem - just pull some extensions, write a few new ones and recompile. The hard part is getting Cocoa and everything it relies on to work.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Oct 13, 2011, 10:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Kawasaki and Woz are left-overs from Apple 1.0
1) So was Steve.

2) I'm beginning to think a WWSD plan will never work. They need someone who's as opinionated as Steve was, which means that person is going to have vastly different opinions.
     
Millennium
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Oct 13, 2011, 10:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
The kernel is the smallest part of the problem - just pull some extensions, write a few new ones and recompile. The hard part is getting Cocoa and everything it relies on to work.
As you pointed out, though, both Apple and NeXT have a lot of experience working across processor architectures and even across operating systems. NeXTStep itself -the technological precursor to OSX- ran on 68K-family and Intel chips, and there were libraries allowing the applications to run on Windows and Solaris. Star Trek, the OSX/X86 project, was just an extension of code that already existed when Apple bought NeXT.

But in terms of bigger problems versus smaller ones, I think you have it backwards. The kernel is the biggest problem, not the smallest, because that's the one part of the operating system where you can't do things the way you say. The part that interfaces directly with the hardware is the part that has to be rewritten; it's the things above that which can, in theory, be recompiled. They still have to be tested, of course, but the big coding work will be in the kernel.

The Darwin kernel (and its predecessor Mach) have never been known for being light on system resources, which could theoretically have made things more challenging. On the other hand, Mach was made to run on much more resource-constrained systems than we use today: the NeXTcube used to write the first Web software was a 25-MHz 68040 processor with 16 MB of RAM. The original iPhone was considerably more powerful than that. The question is, were they able to get Darwin back to something approaching that state?
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Oct 13, 2011, 10:49 AM
 
Crap, I just made a thread on that. Oh well.
     
ort888
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Oct 13, 2011, 11:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
1) So was Steve.

2) I'm beginning to think a WWSD plan will never work. They need someone who's as opinionated as Steve was, which means that person is going to have vastly different opinions.
It's been said that there can't be another Steve Jobs at Apple, because Steve jobs would never have worked for Steve Jobs.

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Oct 13, 2011, 11:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
1) So was Steve.
Steve continued to work in the computer industry, he founded NeXT (and Pixar). While he was there, he laid the groundwork for OS X and learnt how not to sell computers (sell computers that almost nobody can afford). Many in the management team are with Apple since 1998 or even earlier. I think Forestall, for instance, is a much, much more likely candidate to replace Jobs in the roll of tech visionary than Kawasaki or Woz will ever be.

Kawasaki has shifted his focus to writing and venture capitalism in the last 20 years. Woz has been Chief Scientist Something of a few companies and a member of their boards, but as far as I can tell, he hasn't really put his stamp on anything. Both, Kawasaki and Woz haven't pushed the envelope of technologies for at least two decades. Steve and the people he brought over from NeXT (e. g. Forestall) have.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
2) I'm beginning to think a WWSD plan will never work. They need someone who's as opinionated as Steve was, which means that person is going to have vastly different opinions.
What does WWSD stand for? What would Steve do? Sure, the »successor to Steve« would have different opinions, but I think it's the philosophy on how to lead a company that's important and not to think about what Steve would do all the time.
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Oct 13, 2011, 11:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by Millennium View Post
As you pointed out, though, both Apple and NeXT have a lot of experience working across processor architectures and even across operating systems. NeXTStep itself -the technological precursor to OSX- ran on 68K-family and Intel chips, and there were libraries allowing the applications to run on Windows and Solaris. Star Trek, the OSX/X86 project, was just an extension of code that already existed when Apple bought NeXT.
Codename nitpick: Star Trek was an x86 version of the old Classic Mac OS sometime back in the System 7 era. When the rumors were going around that there was an x86 version of OS X, some wag with a good memory for old Mac codenames called it Star Trek: TNG, but I don't think that Apple called it that. Apple only has boring codenames like Q87 these days.

Originally Posted by Millennium View Post
But in terms of bigger problems versus smaller ones, I think you have it backwards. The kernel is the biggest problem, not the smallest, because that's the one part of the operating system where you can't do things the way you say. The part that interfaces directly with the hardware is the part that has to be rewritten; it's the things above that which can, in theory, be recompiled. They still have to be tested, of course, but the big coding work will be in the kernel.
Right - but that can be done with kernel extensions. Apple uses kernel extensions together with EFI for hardware support on the Mac - I believe they do the same thing on iOS.

Originally Posted by Millennium View Post
The Darwin kernel (and its predecessor Mach) have never been known for being light on system resources, which could theoretically have made things more challenging. On the other hand, Mach was made to run on much more resource-constrained systems than we use today: the NeXTcube used to write the first Web software was a 25-MHz 68040 processor with 16 MB of RAM. The original iPhone was considerably more powerful than that. The question is, were they able to get Darwin back to something approaching that state?
Mach was a project to develop a microkernel, ie a very tiny kernel that relies on external daemons for almost everything. The Mac OS X kernel (xnu - Darwin is xnu + the UNIX userspace, and I promise that that was the last codename nitpicking I will do today) is not a microkernel, but it has the structure to be one. I think that that helps when you're trying to slim it down - you can cut non-essential services without worrying about the scheduler and VM system - but if I had been Apple and making that decision, I would be more worried about things like Quartz. Cocoa is based on Quartz working a specific way, and Quartz is not lightweight. If you want to run Cocoa on iOS, you either have to slim down Quartz (hard) or replace it with something else that does the same thing. That second thing is usually hard as well, but maybe it was easier because of the old Yellow box on Windows/Mac OS projects.

It worked out, and with 20/20 hindsight, there are good reasons it did, but making that decision back in the early 2000 must have been a bet-the-company decision.

(BTW, that article Waragainstsleep linked confirms that it was Forstall Rubinstein had an argument with).

EDIT: That article also has some on this and the Linux alternative I spoke about earlier. HIGHLY recommended
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Eug
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Oct 13, 2011, 11:24 AM
 
The other thing is Woz has said several times that he does not want such a management role. The type of role he would consider is a engineering type position, but you guys are talking overall product design and marketing as well, which he freely admits he's terrible with.

Plus, he says he's way too busy as it is. He would actually prefer to decrease his business-oriented time. He could very well do that of course, since he's filthy rich. If anything the stuff he's been involved with recently seem like hobbies in some ways, but those hobbies are already taking up more time than he's happy with.
     
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Oct 13, 2011, 11:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
When the rumors were going around that there was an x86 version of OS X, some wag with a good memory for old Mac codenames called it Star Trek: TNG, but I don't think that Apple called it that.
To my knowledge it was called Project Marklar. Its purpose was not necessarily to keep an x86 port of OS X ready, but more generally, to keep the whole OS portable to completely different CPU architectures.
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Oct 13, 2011, 11:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
It's been said that there can't be another Steve Jobs at Apple, because Steve jobs would never have worked for Steve Jobs.
Would Steve have worked for anyone else after the age of ~20?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Oct 13, 2011, 12:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Both, Kawasaki and Woz haven't pushed the envelope of technologies for at least two decades.


Apple doesn't push the envelope. They let other people do that and then make it accessible.

Edit: "pushing the envelope" and "it just works" are natural enemies.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
What does WWSD stand for? What would Steve do? Sure, the »successor to Steve« would have different opinions, but I think it's the philosophy on how to lead a company that's important and not to think about what Steve would do all the time.
I think the only philosophy they need to retain is "please the customer". That philosophy is still three laps ahead of every other consumer electronics company with the possible exception of TiVo.
     
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Oct 14, 2011, 12:19 PM
 
Woz is a good "man of the people" geek leader, willing to wait in line:

Steve Wozniak First in Line for the iPhone 4S

Also judging from his twitter feed, he travels a ton and really likes foursquare.
     
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Oct 14, 2011, 12:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I think the only philosophy they need to retain is "please the customer". That philosophy is still three laps ahead of every other consumer electronics company with the possible exception of TiVo.

Except that TiVo hasn't done anything worth mentioning since about 2002.

I still love my TiVo's, but talk about a stagnant company. every feature they've added since the debut has been terrible or useless.

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Oct 14, 2011, 12:58 PM
 
Yeah. It's sad. They can't stop hemorrhaging moolah.
     
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Oct 16, 2011, 03:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
He could fill the "beloved figurehead" role well, and that would be cool, but he's no ceo/business guru.
Use him for in place of Tim for the Events. That's about it for me.
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