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Mary Jo Foley Thinks Leopard is a Photocopy of Vista - Film at 11

OK. Bottom line here is I'm dissapointed. I've considered Mary Jo's articles to be unbiased and relatively objective in the past

Kevin Hoffman's Blog

Let's take a look at Mary's points one by one, shall we?

  1. New desktop. I'm not sure why she thinks this looks like Aero... Vista's sidebar doesn't do nearly the amount of stuff that Leopard's dock does. The sidebar is not a place for maintaining current tasks and open documents... in short, Vista's sidebar has NOTHING to do with Leopard's dock - they serve two different purposes.

  2. Coverflow looks identical to Flip3d. Obviously Mary Jo Foley doesn't spend too much time looking at user interfaces. With Flip 3D, I can see one item clearly, and all the rest are obscured. With Cover Flow, I can see one item clearly, and many nearby items clearly, with a hint at what is on the outskirts. One is a really painful UI paradigm (Flip 3d) and one is a really enabling UI paradigm (Cover Flow).

  3. Thumbnail preview capability in Vista is NOT interactive. With Quicklook, you can interact with the preview, including turning on and off media, flipping through pages of PDFs, scrolling through web pages, and much more. A really common thing for people to do is look at the surface, make a snap judgement, and then become closed-minded. Obviously Mary Jo didn't do her homework on these features, otherwise she would have noticed that Quicklook is insanely more powerful. Quicklook is also an enabling feature in iChat theater, which does not exist in Vista in any shape or form.

  4. 64-bitness. She totally missed the boat here. The point here is that with Leopard there is a single version for all hardware. This means that a single version of Leopard will work on 32-bit machines and 64-bit machines and run 32-bit apps and 64-bit apps. This is not how Vista works, and the 64-bit experience on Vista has been notoriously bad, everything from unexplainable bugs to lack of driver support.

  5. Core Animation. She thought the developers in attendance didn't seem all that impressed. She's wrong. What Mary Jo might not realize is that 99.99% of the attendees are ADC members, which means they've all been eating, living, and breathing Leopard (including Core Animation) since before January 2007. They all know how powerful it is. Granted, people were looking for more "new" stuff, but like one person said: at least there was enough new stuff to not have to cancel WWDC :) (dig at MS for cancelling PDC)

  6. Boot camp - I'll certainly grant her this point. I'm running Visual Studio 2005 Orcas in my Vista partition on my Mac. Why? Because the Mac monitor actually makes Vista look better than any Dell or IBM laptop I've used.

  7. Spaces. Again, lack of apparent awe from the audience comes from this being not all that new to the attendees. They've all known about it for a long time.

  8. Dashboard widgets are not anything like Vista gadgets. You show me a Vista gadget that has FULL access to the entire power of the OS, and then I'll say this is a valid comparison. Until then, I wave the BS flag.

  9. Vista's meeting space working like iChat theater?? You've GOT to be kidding me. Mary Jo herself claims not to be a Mac user, but I'm beginning to think she's not a Vista user either. I've used Meeting Space multiple times, including several times with cameras, and I've never had the experience of iChat theater. This is another one (like searching) that looks like a photocopy feature but actually provides more value than Vista's equivalent. The keynote could have made it more clear, but the real power behind iChat theater isn't the gee whiz effects (though they do look fun)... the power is in the ability for application programmers to use iChat theater as an enabling technology to broadcast content to buddies, basically its "nearly free collaboration" add-on capability for every Cocoa developer. Meeting Space isn't programmable. Trust me - I can quote lines of the OCS and UC SDK from Microsoft, and there ain't jack about Meeting Space programming.

  10. Time machine - granted. This is a valid point, Vista can automatically back-up, and if you want some really powerful stuff there's the "Windows Home Server" stuff coming out that'll not only do your back-up stuff but it'll work as a central media storehouse as well, and integrates with Xbox 360, etc.

OK. Bottom line here is I'm dissapointed. I've considered Mary Jo's articles to be unbiased and relatively objective in the past. What I'm looking at in her article is basically a piece of imflammatory nonsense. If she had taken the time to do some more digging, she would have found the depth that would have made many of her arguments appear as weak as they truly are. She took the lack of response of the audience to mean that they were unimpressed. I, however, went and talked to a couple people at random and asked them, and they all confirmed my suspicions - they'd seen it all before. It was still just as impressive as last time, but people didn't feel the need to hoot and holler about it. They were waiting for the iPhone announcement (which was arguably dissapointing for many developers... though I'll bet good money that less than a year from the iPhone's release we'll see a real SDK for it). She also compared a couple of features at a really cursory level without doing the homework to figure out how the features work.

Sure, I'll grant you that on the surface a lot of what Steve showed at the keynote might appear like a "me too" set of features. But, as I mentioned in my previous blog, Apple doesn't simply catch up, they do what the competitor is doing, and they try and do it better. For example, in addition to the improved finder providing search for all computers on a local network, it also incorporates dynamic DNS features and allows you to search office PCs, remote PCs, other PCs on the internet - something that you need third party software on Vista to accomplish and even then it won't be integrated with search (at least I have yet to see this in any packages).

I have no problem with the notion that Leopard is adding features that Vista has - I can think of a couple of features that really do look like "catch up" features. There's nothing wrong with Leopard catching up to Vista in some regards. The more competition there is between the Operating Systems, the better. If Leopard can be point-for-point competetive with Vista, then perhaps Vista will improve as a result and Leopard will then improve and so on - that's how free commerce is supposed to work.

There's nothing wrong with pointing that out in a clear, concise, objective manner. But when you use cursory, if nonexistant, research and myopic viewpoints to back up your arguments, you're spin-doctoring, not debating with fact.

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More Stories By Kevin Hoffman

Kevin Hoffman, editor-in-chief of SYS-CON's iPhone Developer's Journal, has been programming since he was 10 and has written everything from DOS shareware to n-tier, enterprise web applications in VB, C++, Delphi, and C. Hoffman is coauthor of Professional .NET Framework (Wrox Press) and co-author with Robert Foster of Microsoft SharePoint 2007 Development Unleashed. He authors The .NET Addict's Blog at .NET Developer's Journal.

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