TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Report on the 1st O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference

Volume Number: 18 (2002)
Issue Number: 11
Column Tag: Mac OS X Con 2002

Report on the 1st O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference

by Vicki Brown

Imagine...

Imagine the introductory session of a technical conference. Approximately seven hundred developers and users watch and listen as the speaker welcomes them to four days of interesting talks given by experts in the field. The room is softly lit by the screens of hundreds of laptop computers, about one for every two attendees. The majority of the laptops are white iBooks and Titanium Powerbooks, with a sprinkling of older Powerbooks and iBooks here and there. Every screen you see is running Mac OS X.

The session rooms and the break area are provided with open wireless connectivity, both between systems at the conference and to the Internet. Every session room is outfitted with Macintosh hardware and a Cinema display, but most of the speakers bring their own Powerbooks. Connecting the Powerbooks to the projection facilities is easily done; the tech crew all understand Macintosh.

Attendees scan the program. Sessions this week include keynote sessions by David Pogue (NY Times Technology Columnist and Mac Author/Publisher), James Gosling (V.P. and Fellow at Sun, co-inventor of Java, etc.), Dan Gillmor (San Jose Mercury News Technology Columnist, Jordan Hubbard (Manager of BSD Technologies, Apple Computer), Wilfredo Sanchez Vega (Darwin Developer) and Mark Fruenfelder (writer and illustrator).

Technical sessions cover Cocoa programming, Aqua, Quartz, QuickTime, Open Source and Darwin, Java, WebObjects, Mac OS X Server, iPhoto, Rendezvous, Apple Help, and AppleScript. Less technical sessions discuss end-user troubleshooting, what's new in Jaguar, an overview of Mac OS X for Mac OS 9 users, and a Mac OS X "report card" (presented by Adam Engst, editor of TidBITs).

This isn't Apple's World Wide Developer Conference, but it is definitely a developer-oriented conference. Nor is it MacHack; there is hackery, to be sure, but it mostly happens during the daylight hours. And, of course, this isn't MacWorld; the tiny exhibit space and strong technical focus both emphasize that fact.

In short, this is the first annual Mac OS X Conference, held by O'Reilly & Associates from Sept. 30 - Oct. 3, 2002 in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly & Associates, a well-known publisher of books on Unix and open source topics such as Perl, Python, Linux, Apache, and many others, has also become known as a presenter of excellent technical conferences. Notable O'Reilly offerings have included several Open Source conventions, the Emerging Technologies conference, as well as conferences on Bioinformatics, Java, and Peer-to-Peer services.

Although Tim O'Reilly (founder and president of O'Reilly & Associates) is not a developer himself, he is an avid follower of technology and technologists. In fact, he claims that much of his business model is based on following the activities of "Alpha Geeks", the techies who always seem to "get there first" on any new and interesting technology.

Originally focusing on Unix-specific topics, O'Reilly & Associates has published a number of books on cross-platform technologies (such as Bioinformatics, Java and XML) as well as publications on the Windows and Macintosh platforms. Mac OS X brings many of O'Reilly's areas of interest together; the first Mac OS X conference was an opportunity for O'Reilly to bring practitioners of those interest areas together to share knowledge and expertise.

Introduction

The conference program provided this introduction:

    Welcome to our first conference focusing on Mac OS X, one of the most visionary yet practical things happening in the industry today. ... Just as programming tools and applications now share common ground in Mac OS X, this conference brings Mac, Unix/open source, Java, and other practitioners into the same space... It's an event designed to speed your transition or introduction to the 21st century operating system.

Tim O'Reilly is also quoted (on the program cover) as saying:

    Mac OS X is the first true 21st century platform. The BSD Unix underpinnings bring stability and a rich open source heritage; the Aqua interface brings Apple's longstanding expertise in user experience. The iApps, 802.11 wireless support, and peer-to-peer features like Rendezvous show that Apple hasn't lost its touch when it comes to putting the future of computing into a 'sleek, insanely great' package.

Any developer who isn't tracking Mac OS X ought to have his head examined.

The Sessions

O'Reilly called this a conference for developers, power users, hackers and network administrators, and it definitely was. There was something for each of these groups, and several other categories besides.

Mac OS X In the Large

For users new to Mac OS X, there were several talks to choose from, including David Pogue's "Welcome to Mac OS X", based on his book "Mac OS X: The Missing Manual" (published by O'Reilly). This session was part of a track entitled "Mac OS X in the Large".

Other sessions in this track included Adam Engst's "Mac OS X Report Card", a session entitled "End-user Troubleshooting for Fun and Profit" (based on the book, "Mac OS X Disaster Relief" by Ted Landau and Dan Frakes), and the "Cult of the Mac", presented by Leander Kahney (journalist for Wired News and former senior writer for MacWeek). Two well-attended tips and tricks talks: "Tricked-out X: How do Alpha MacGeeks Arrange Their OS X Workspace" and "Mac OS X Hacks" proved popular both with audience members and multiple panelists showing off their favorite tricks.

User Interface; Programming

Developers could attend their choice of two dozen sessions on user interface design or Mac OS X programming, as well as six different programming tutorial choices on Monday. Tutorials covered AppleScript, Objective-C, Java, Perl, and Programming Cocoa (in Objective-C or Perl).

Conference sessions included "Adopting the Mac OS X User Experience in your Application", a 45-minute run-through of the Aqua Human Interface Guidelines presented by John Geleynse, Apple's user experience evangelist in Worldwide Developer Relations. This was immediately followed by a related talk, "Mac User Interface Design for New Developers" presented by Brook Conner, author of the forthcoming book "Programming Quartz: Advanced 2D Graphics on the Macintosh".

Other sessions covered Java Media, RealBasic, Objective-C, Quartz, and using AppleScript (or Perl) to automate workflow. Cocoa was presented in several sessions, ranging from "An Introduction to the Cocoa Document Architecture" to "API Techniques" to "Getting Data Onscreen with Cocoa".

Servers and Networking; Multimedia

Two complementary tracks included over a dozen presentations, including sessions on Open Directory/LDAP, NetInfo, Rendezvous, and the Open Source databases available for Mac OS X. Several sessions addressed the creation of web sites. Derrick Story and Rael Dornfest's session, "Building a Mac-Based Web Site", discussed secrets for QuickTime video, online iPhoto slide shows, and the best ways to make large files available to others without FTP access. This was followed by Dori Smith's "Serving Your Site from a Mac", which discussed the use of Apache and numerous additional free tools attendees could use to build a web site on Mac OS X.

Several sessions were available for users of WebObjects, including a half-day tutorial introduction to WebObjects Tools and Techniques, a 45-minute WebObjects technical overview, and a discussion of Rapid Application Development using WebObjects. Finally, for those who wanted a bit more fun, Damien Stolarz presented "How to Put up your Own TV Station on the Internet with Mac OS X".

Hardware

Several playful sessions focused on hardware. Dori Smith discussed how to build a Mac clone that will run Mac OS X for "a fraction of both the price and the looks" of Apple hardware; the session was appropriately entitled "Building a Cheap, Ugly Mac". Ted Stevko provided two ways to create robots using a Macintosh in "Frankentosh: Creating Robots on the Mac".

Kent Salas shared his heavily modified G4 (with an LCD light-show panel, blue interior lights, and firewire/USB ports on the front panel; http://www.kentsalas.com/blueiceg4) in "Mac Mechanical Mayhem, or How to Completely Void Your Mac's Warranty". The talk was well attended and quite a few attendees stayed into the break to talk about mods with Kent.

UNIX

Perhaps unusual for a Mac OS conference (but less unusual for either O'Reilly or Mac OS X), one track was simply called Unix. Sessions in this track ranged from "Mac OS X for the Common Unix Folk" to "Migrating from Linux to Mac OS X" to "Mac OS X is Just Another Unix: Writing Portable Applications". The session entitled "From Unix to Aqua: Porting Large Unix Applications to Mac OS X" could just as easily have listed in the User Interface track as this one.

The Unix track addressed one of the newest (but steadily growing) groups of users adopting Mac OS X - the traditional Unix (Sun, Linux, BSD, etc.) users. Tim O'Reilly has commented that "Apple's 'Switch' ad campaign focuses on people making the switch from Windows, but it may be the case that there's an even larger wave of switchers from Linux and other Unix platforms." While it is the case that many UNIX users have used the Mac in the past, they have previously needed to keep two computers on their desks in order to work with both Mac OS and Unix. With Mac OS X, this is no longer the case; long-time UNIX users are trying out Mac OS X and discovering that they like it.

The panel session, "Introducing the Mac User Community to Unix Developers" (part of the "In the Large" track) was meant to bring Unix developers together with traditional Mac OS developers. The session focused on what Mac OS X developers coming from Unix backgrounds need to know about the philosophy of the Mac and the orientation of the Mac community. Panelists discussed similarities and differences between the Unix and Mac OS user communities and talked about what each group can do for the other.

Closing Thoughts

I enjoyed this conference. I've been to many technical conferences, but this was the first where everyone was like me, in that everyone used a Mac and everyone, even the presenters, used Mac OS X. I admit that WWDC is certainly Mac-oriented in its presentations, but those sessions are given by Apple. This conference was by and for developers and power users, again, people like me.

The only drawback I can mention is that I often couldn't decide which session to attend! Multiple tracks can cause that sort of difficulty. But as the week drew to a close, I was already wondering what interesting talks, tutorials, presentations, and panels will be in store next year. I'll be there. You should be sure to attend too.

References

Tim O'Reilly's "Mac OS X Switcher Stories" article is available online at: http://www.macdevcenter.com/pub/a/mac/2002/08/21/switch.html.

Information on past and future O'Reilly conferences is available at: http://conferences.oreilly.com.

Information on O'Reilly's products and news for the Macintosh platform can be found at: http://mac.oreilly.com.


Vicki Brown has been using Unix systems since 1983 and Mac OS since 1986. She is delighted that Mac OS X gives her the opportunity to use both at the same time.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Firefox 37.0 - Fast, safe Web browser. (...
Firefox offers a fast, safe Web browsing experience. Browse quickly, securely, and effortlessly. With its industry-leading features, Firefox is the choice of Web development professionals and casual... Read more
Arq 4.11 - Online backup to Google Drive...
Arq is super-easy online backup for the Mac. Back up to your own Google Drive storage (15GB free storage), your own Amazon Glacier ($.01/GB per month storage) or S3, or any SFTP server. Arq backs up... Read more
MacFamilyTree 7.3.4 - Create and explore...
MacFamilyTree gives genealogy a facelift: it's modern, interactive, incredibly fast, and easy to use. We're convinced that generations of chroniclers would have loved to trade in their genealogy... Read more
Yummy FTP 1.10.2 - FTP/SFTP/FTPS client...
Yummy FTP is an FTP + SFTP + FTPS file transfer client which focuses on speed, reliability and productivity. Whether you need to transfer a few files or a few thousand, schedule automatic backups, or... Read more
VueScan 9.5.08 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Iridient Developer 3.0.1 - Powerful imag...
Iridient Developer (was RAW Developer) is a powerful image conversion application designed specifically for OS X. Iridient Developer gives advanced photographers total control over every aspect of... Read more
Air Video Server HD 2.1.0 - Stream video...
Air Video Server HD streams videos instantly from your computer on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple TV. No need to worry about converting or transferring files. We took everything that was... Read more
Duplicate Annihilator 5.7.5 - Find and d...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator... Read more
BusyContacts 1.0.2 - Fast, efficient con...
BusyContacts is a contact manager for OS X that makes creating, finding, and managing contacts faster and more efficient. It brings to contact management the same power, flexibility, and sharing... Read more
Capture One Pro 8.2.0.82 - RAW workflow...
Capture One Pro 8 is a professional RAW converter offering you ultimate image quality with accurate colors and incredible detail from more than 300 high-end cameras -- straight out of the box. It... Read more

2K Announces WWE 2K, Mobile's First...
It seems like this month has been pretty big for wrestling. First Wrestlemania, then 2K has announces that they're releasing  WWE 2K for iOS. It's a simulation-based WWE game where you'll get to play with several WWE superstars such as John Cena, ... | Read more »
How the Apple Watch Could Change the Fac...
The Apple Watch is still a ways out, but my previous musings on the wearable’s various features got me thinking: what might it be like a year after launch? Two years? Five years? What if it becomes a symbiotic part of the iOS framework to the point... | Read more »
Pie In The Sky: A Pizza Odyssey (Games)
Pie In The Sky: A Pizza Odyssey 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A game about delivering pizza. In space. | Read more »
Chosen Gives Hopeful Singers, Songwriter...
If YouTube videos and reality TV shows like The Voice have taught us one thing, it’s that there are a lot of people out there who are anxious to show the world their talents. And if they’ve taught us a second thing, it’s that there’s an almost... | Read more »
Android's Popular OfficeSuite Now A...
Once only available for Android devices, OfficeSuite has finally landed on the app store. The Mobile Systems app lets you view, edit, create, and share Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents as well as convert them to/from PDFs. It's touted as being... | Read more »
Warhammer: Arcane Magic is Coming Soon,...
Turbo Tape Games has announced that they're joining forces with Games Workshop to bring the turn-based strategy board game, Warhammer: Arcane Magic, to life on the iOS. | Read more »
Fast & Furious: Legacy's Creati...
| Read more »
N-Fusion and 505's Ember is Totally...
| Read more »
These are All the Apple Watch Apps and G...
The Apple Watch is less than a month from hitting store shelves, and once you get your hands on it you're probably going to want some apps and games to install. Fear not! We've compiled a list of all the Apple Watch apps and games we've been able to... | Read more »
Appy to Have Known You - Lee Hamlet Look...
Being at 148Apps these past 2 years has been an awesome experience that has taught me a great deal, and working with such a great team has been a privilege. Thank you to Rob Rich, and to both Rob LeFebvre and Jeff Scott before him, for helping me... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch 2.4GHz Retina MacBook Pro available f...
MacMall has the 2013 13″ 2.4GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro available for $949.99 for a limited time. Shipping is free. Their price is $350 off original MSRP, and it’s the only sub-$1000 new Retina... Read more
Adobe Brings Powerful Layout-Design Capabilit...
Adobe today announced the availability of Adobe Comp CC, a free iPad app that enables rapid creation of layout concepts for mobile, Web and print projects. With Comp CC, designers can rough out and... Read more
13-inch 2.6GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pro avail...
Best Buy has clearance 2014 13″ 2.6GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pros available for $1199.99 including free shipping. Their price is $300 off original MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model.... Read more
Updated Mac Price Trackers
We’ve updated our Mac Price Trackers with the latest information on prices, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers: - 15″ MacBook Pros - 13″ MacBook... Read more
21-inch 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $999, save $1...
Best Buy has the 21″ 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $999.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free local store pick up. Price is for online orders only, in-store prices may vary. Their price is... Read more
2.6GHz Mac mini on sale for $649, save $50
Amazon has the 2.6GHz Mac mini on sale for $649.99 including free shipping. Their price is $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model. Read more
Textkraft Professional 3.2 Powerful iPad Text...
Finally it’s springtime, at least theoretically in my neck of the woods, where we’re still navigating canyons between towering snowbanks with temperatures well below freezing in winter weather that... Read more
Apple offering refurbished 27-inch 5K iMacs f...
The Apple Store is offering Apple Certified Refurbished 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMacs for $2119 including free shipping. Their price is $380 off the price of new models, and it’s the lowest price available for... Read more
16GB iPad mini on sale for $199, save $50
Walmart has 16GB iPad minis (1st generation) available for $199.99 on their online store, including free shipping. Their price is $50 off MSRP. Online orders only. Read more
New 128GB MacBook Airs on sale for $50 off MS...
 B&H Photo has 128GB 11″ and 13″ 2015 MacBook Airs on sale today for $50 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 11″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (Model #MJVM2LL/A): $849 $50 off... Read more

Jobs Board

DevOps Software Engineer - *Apple* Pay, iOS...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Sr. Technical Services Consultant, *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple Professional Services (APS) has an opening for a senior technical position that contributes to Apple 's efforts for strategic and transactional Read more
Lead *Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail...
**Job Summary** Job Summary The Lead ASC is an Apple employee who serves as the Apple business manager and influencer in a hyper-business critical Reseller's store Read more
*Apple* Pay - Site Reliability Engineer - Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.