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.

 
AAPL
$111.78
Apple Inc.
-0.87
MSFT
$47.66
Microsoft Corpora
+0.14
GOOG
$516.35
Google Inc.
+5.25

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

NeoOffice 2014.6 - Mac-tailored, OpenOff...
NeoOffice is a complete office suite for OS X. With NeoOffice, users can view, edit, and save OpenOffice documents, PDF files, and most Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. NeoOffice 3.x... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.5.2 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
CleanApp 5.0.0 Beta 5 - Application dein...
CleanApp is an application deinstaller and archiver.... Your hard drive gets fuller day by day, but do you know why? CleanApp 5 provides you with insights how to reclaim disk space. There are... Read more
Monolingual 1.6.2 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least... Read more
NetShade 6.1 - Browse privately using an...
NetShade is an Internet security tool that conceals your IP address on the web. NetShade routes your Web connection through either a public anonymous proxy server, or one of NetShade's own dedicated... Read more
calibre 2.13 - Complete e-library manage...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
Mellel 3.3.7 - Powerful word processor w...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
ScreenFlow 5.0.1 - Create screen recordi...
Save 10% with the exclusive MacUpdate coupon code: AFMacUpdate10 Buy now! ScreenFlow is powerful, easy-to-use screencasting software for the Mac. With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your... Read more
Simon 4.0 - Monitor changes and crashes...
Simon monitors websites and alerts you of crashes and changes. Select pages to monitor, choose your alert options, and customize your settings. Simon does the rest. Keep a watchful eye on your... Read more
BBEdit 11.0.2 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Make your own Tribez Figures (and More)...
Make your own Tribez Figures (and More) with Toyze Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
So Many Holiday iOS Sales Oh My Goodness...
The holiday season is in full-swing, which means a whole lot of iOS apps and games are going on sale. A bunch already have, in fact. Naturally this means we’re putting together a hand-picked list of the best discounts and sales we can find in order... | Read more »
It’s Bird vs. Bird in the New PvP Mode f...
It’s Bird vs. Bird in the New PvP Mode for Angry Birds Epic Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Telltale Games and Mojang Announce Minec...
Telltale Games and Mojang Announce Minecraft: Story Mode – A Telltale Games Series Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
WarChest and Splash Damage Annouce Their...
WarChest and Splash Damage Annouce Their New Game: Tempo Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] WarChest Ltd and Splash Damage Ltd are teaming up again to work | Read more »
BulkyPix Celebrates its 6th Anniversary...
BulkyPix Celebrates its 6th Anniversary with a Bunch of Free Games Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] BulkyPix has | Read more »
Indulge in Japanese cuisine in Cooking F...
Indulge in Japanese cuisine in Cooking Fever’s new sushi-themed update Posted by Simon Reed on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Lithuanian developer Nordcurrent has yet again updated its restaurant simulat | Read more »
Badland Daydream Level Pack Arrives to C...
Badland Daydream Level Pack Arrives to Celebrate 20 Million Downloads Posted by Ellis Spice on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Desti...
Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Destiny, and Beyond – AppSpy Takes a Look at AAA Companion Apps Posted by Rob Rich on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] These day | Read more »
A Bunch of Halfbrick Games Are Going Fre...
A Bunch of Halfbrick Games Are Going Free for the Holidays Posted by Ellis Spice on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch 2.6GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
Best Buy has lowered their price on the 2014 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro to $1149.99 on their online store for a limited time. That’s $150 off MSRP and the lowest price available for this... Read more
Kodak Returns to CES With New Consumer Produ...
Former photography colossus Kodak is returning to CES for the first time in three years where the Kodak booth (#21818 South Hall 1) will showcase a wide range of innovative, imaging-related products... Read more
Invaluable Launches New Eponymously -Named A...
Invaluable, the world’s largest online live auction marketplace, hhas announced the official launch of the Invaluable app for iPad, now available for download in the iTunes App Store. Invaluable... Read more
IDC Reveals Worldwide Mobile Enterprise Appli...
International Data Corporation (IDC) last week hosted the IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Mobile Enterprise Applications and Solutions 2015 Predictions Web conference. The session provided organizations... Read more
Hello Vino Wine App Launches “Safe Ride Home”...
Hello Vino has announced addition of a new “Get a Safe Ride Home” feature in its Food & Drink app with a direct connection to Uber, the technology platform that connects users with rides. The... Read more
DEVON-technologies Releases DEVONthink To Go...
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho based DEVON-technologies, LLC has updated DEVONthink To Go, its mobile companion to DEVONthink, to version 1.5. The update includes an iOS 8 extension, compatibility with the... Read more
The Apple Store offering free next-day shippi...
The Apple Store is now offering free next-day shipping on all in stock items if ordered before 12/23/14 at 10:00am PT. Local store pickup is also available within an hour of ordering for any in stock... Read more
It’s 1992 Again At Sony Pictures, Except For...
Techcrunch’s John Biggs interviewed a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) employee, who quite understandably wished to remain anonymous, regarding post-hack conditions in SPE’s L.A office, explaining “... Read more
OtterBox Defender Series Case For iPad mini 3...
With their innovative Touch ID technology and ultrathin profile, the latest tranche of Apple iPads are more desirable than ever, and OtterBox has just announced the Defender Series custom-engineered... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: MacBook Pros for...
 B&H Photo has new MacBook Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP as part of their Holiday pricing. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1699... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Store Leader Program (US) - Apple, I...
…Summary Learn and grow as you explore the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll master our retail business inside and out through training, hands-on experience, Read more
Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and 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
*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
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.