Linked by snydeq on Mon 12th Oct 2009 15:24 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces InfoWorld's John Rizzo chronicles the 20 most significant ideas and features Microsoft and Apple have stolen from each other in the lead up to Windows 7 and Mac OS X Snow Leopard. 'Some features were stolen so long ago that they've become part of the computing landscape, and it's difficult to remember who invented what.' Windows 7's Task Bar and Aero Peek come to mind as clear appropriations of Mac OS X's Dock and Expose. Apple's cloning of the Windows address bar in 2007's Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard as the path bar is another obvious 'inspiration.' But the borrowing goes deeper, Rizzo writes, providing a screenshot tour of Microsoft's biggest grabs from Mac OS X and Apple's most significant appropriations of Windows OS ideas and functionality.
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Yes, innovation and breakthroughs in conceptual development are hard and those who do it deserve credit. But actual implementation, even if it is re-implementation, is work that is just as hard and also deserves credit.

I agree with your general belief as stated elsewhere in your post that innovation is a cumulative process. However, I have to take issue with the part of your statement that I bolded.

Reimplementation is NEVER as hard as working with original inspiration. That original programmer had to, first of all, be inspired, and inspiration doesn't happen on command. I can spend weeks fighting a problem and a night banging it out in code.

How much effort did Microsoft, for instance, put into creating Windows keyboard shortcuts? (A big one the article missed). Virtually all Windows' basic keyboard shortcuts were lifted from the Mac: ctrl+c, ctrl+v, ctrl+x, ctrl+a, ctrl+z.... Woohoo, they changed from Command key to Control Key. Sure it had to be programmed from scratch on a different platform, but they didn't have to do any legwork.

Think about everything that had to go into that. Some Apple designer had to think "maybe kb shortcuts would speed up this GUI thing." Then he had to sell the idea to his fellow devs, then to management, probably make a mockup all his own, maybe he had to fight for it against GUI purists, maybe go over his boss' head and alienate coworkers thereby jeopardizing his job, then program basic functionality, then code it, test it, fine tune it over years as others throw their ideas in and new shortcuts are added... Think about how much work went into deciding which common actions needed KB shortcuts and which keys to assign to each action.

Then you have MS. Probably farmed the work out to drones in Ireland or India with a spec sheet that said "augment GUI functionality with KB shortcuts. Key assignments should conform with existing industry usage." Wink, Wink.

Reimplementing is in no way shape/ fashion/ form as hard or heartbreaking as making new functionality. Reimplementing is hanging your hat on ideas that have already withstood the real world. Outside the legal aspect, there isn't any risk.

Edited 2009-10-13 16:27 UTC

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ichi Member since:

Think about everything that had to go into that. Some Apple designer had to think "maybe kb shortcuts would speed up this GUI thing."

There were keyboard shortcuts back in the command line days.
Sure they were (are) different, but it's the same concept translated to the GUI.

Reply Parent Score: 2