Linked by David Adams on Thu 28th Apr 2005 07:05 UTC
Mac OS X OSNews reviews Apple's latest OS upgrade. Is it an overpriced, glorified point release or a truly worthy upgrade with major new functionality? Is it a Longhorn killer or just more of the same? We'll take a look, and try to see what's on the surface as well as what's under the hood.
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About the "rip offs"
by David Adams on Thu 28th Apr 2005 16:49 UTC

Man, people really get their panties in a bunch when you level some complaints about their favorite OS. In my article, I 100% support Apple's right to look to popular shareware for inspiration, and I suppose I should have mentioned that one of the reasons that I think it's okay is that it's a two way street. It's true that Watson was inspired by Sherlock because Sherlock was a great idea but Apple's version was never that great. And Konfabulator was certainly inspired a little bit by Desk accessories, but drawing too tight of a correlation smacks of revisionist history. And you can't deny that Spotlight took Launchar's key combo and screen position, and that it does acts the same way, though does a lot more, and is much more hooked into the OS.

Everybody wants to get credit for their ideas, but the way that the state of the art is advanced is that someone has an idea, someone else builds on it, and so on and so on. Rigid intellectual property laws that grant monopoly status on ideas is a relatively new development. For a few hundred years you've been able to patent an actual physical design, and that's been good to keep inventors from immediately having their devices ripped off by larger competitors, and copyright law protect software authors from having their code appropriated by competitors, but the notion that an idea belongs to you, and can't be built-upon by others without paying royalties is a relatively new thing, and I fear that by turning ideas into property we're going to end up shooting ourselves in the foot. What if the guy who thought up the steam engine had been allowed a fifty year monopoly on the idea? It would have set the industrial revolution back by decades, perhaps even centuries.

Sure, everyone just wants a little recognition for thinking up the idea, but with intellectual property laws the way they are and trigger-happy litigation, your best bet is to just clam up and pretend you invented it yourself instead of crediting and thanking those who gave you inspiration.

If you read the article, I'd actually advocate that Apple appropriate some other ideas from the shareware space, and some commenters have expanded that. Backup, a simple paint app, graphical FTP, and Ui customization are just a few.