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Oct 94 Dialog Box
Volume Number:10
Issue Number:10
Column Tag:Dialog Box

Dialog Box

By Scott T Boyd, Editor

Unbiased? Or Propaganda?

I suffer from a fundamental worry that by appearing to be neutral in the OLE/COM vs. OpenDoc/SOM war, you as an editor, are doing the Mac community a great disservice.

Clearly, this is a war to determine whether Apple or Microsoft will control the central standards used to create a document-centric environment on the Mac. After a couple of years of seeing Microsoft upgrade Mac products six months to a year after the corresponding Windows product and reflecting for a moment on where Microsoft’s future lies, I find it hard to believe that the principal Mac developer magazine wouldn’t come out four square behind Apple. Independent of which approach is better (more to follow), Apple needs your help and you should be there for them.

I have read the docs from both Apple and Microsoft (and the SOM manual that is flamed in your “unbiased” comparison piece). SOM is good stuff and it exists right now. Sure, OpenDoc is in Alpha, but if you read the documentation and talk to some of the people in the Alpha program, you’d see that the Apple/IBM/WordPerfect approach is better grounded than the Microsoft approach. Microsoft was first with OLE 1.O and that’s part of their problem. To be backward compatible with OLE 1.0 they’re getting the same hash that resulted from basing Windows on DOS. But they’ll improve...that’s for sure.

But I will say that their July diatribes were marketing FUD... a lot of crap written with a lawyer on the team. If I were IBM, I’d be fuming.

In your editorial capacity, I realize that you must allow freedom of expression by your contributing authors, but you also have a responsibility to not take a Pontius Pilot attitude at a time when your opinion might make a difference. If you really think that Microsoft has Apple’s or the industry’s best interests at heart, you don’t deserve to be occupying the chair that you currently enjoy. If Microsoft controls the Mac document architecture, then it’s all over for the Mac and a poor time for the industry ( and incidentally for your magazine...which up to now I have admired enormously and would greatly miss).

The “unbiased” article your magazine printed to compare OLE/COM and OpenDoc/SOM appeared to me to be very little more than a crude rehash of the Microsoft propaganda with a C++ bigot’s flame on a somewhat C++ hostile SOM.

I don’t have all the information to make a completely informed decision yet based solely on bits and bytes. I can, however, tell you what a strategically bad position Apple will be in if Microsoft has the power to dictate that OLE/COM be the linking mechanism of choice on the Mac ... and you know it too!

So vote with your support. The Apple approach has merit and deserves support. Without friends, Microsoft will whomp on Apple and the rest of the industry using their installed Windows base as a club. If you think that Microsoft would not abuse their power if they had no competitor in this area, please think again. Microsoft’s record proves otherwise. OLE/COM won’t go away. I need an alternative.

That’s why my company will support OpenDoc/SOM and applications that use this standard.

Think. - Stephen Johnson, Menlo Park, CA

We’re not done yet with our coverage of OpenDoc and OLE. We will bring you hard information on the SOMissue in particular. As I’ve been talking with those who have been using it, it sounds like SOM is quite cool, and not the burden that Jeff warned it might be. We’ve been working on getting some Apple OpenDoc experts writing articles for us, but they’re so busy working on OpenDoc itself that it’s tough to get them to take on any additional responsibilities. So, if you’re reading this, and you’ve written an OpenDoc part, write us a real-life-story article about it. Write us at - Ed stb

Something has to be done

Apple insisted at WWDC that they would do everything they could to get system 7.5 in the hands of as many users as possible. If the pricing in MacWeek is correct, I believe that they have changed their minds.

MacWeek says that a single user version of 7.5 will cost $135. I realize that the street price will be lower, but it won’t be low enough. There are a great many users who are still using system 7.0.1 because the $79 upgrade cost was too high. Given this, how can Apple expect end users to pay $135 for system 7.5.

I think something must be done. I think the price of system 7.5 has got to be lower.

We are working on two products which require PowerTalk. We made this decision because Apple took the position that they would price system 7.5 to get it into the hands of as many users as possible. If the user base doesn’t upgrade, they won’t have PowerTalk. If they don’t have PowerTalk, they won’t buy our products. It’s quite possible that we will have to spend months rewriting our software to work without PowerTalk. This is not a prospect that I find exciting.

Why the change in direction? Why isn’t system 7.5 priced lower than system 7.1 so that as many users as possible upgrade to the new system?

- Howard Shere, President

Green Dragon Creations, Inc., Water Valley, MS


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