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
$99.76
Apple Inc.
+2.09
MSFT
$44.08
Microsoft Corpora
+0.45
GOOG
$520.84
Google Inc.
+9.67

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

TechTool Pro 7.0.5 - Hard drive and syst...
TechTool Pro is now 7, and this is the most advanced version of the acclaimed Macintosh troubleshooting utility created in its 20-year history. Micromat has redeveloped TechTool Pro 7 to be fully 64... Read more
PDFKey Pro 4.0.2 - Edit and print passwo...
PDFKey Pro can unlock PDF documents protected for printing and copying when you've forgotten your password. It can now also protect your PDF files with a password to prevent unauthorized access and/... Read more
Yasu 2.9.1 - System maintenance app; per...
Yasu was originally created with System Administrators who service large groups of workstations in mind, Yasu (Yet Another System Utility) was made to do a specific group of maintenance tasks... Read more
Hazel 3.3 - Create rules for organizing...
Hazel is your personal housekeeper, organizing and cleaning folders based on rules you define. Hazel can also manage your trash and uninstall your applications. Organize your files using a... Read more
Autopano Giga 3.7 - Stitch multiple imag...
Autopano Giga allows you to stitch 2, 20, or 2,000 images. Version 3.0 integrates impressive new features that will definitely make you adopt Autopano Pro or Autopano Giga: Choose between 9... Read more
MenuMeters 1.8 - CPU, memory, disk, and...
MenuMeters is a set of CPU, memory, disk, and network monitoring tools for Mac OS X. Although there are numerous other programs which do the same thing, none had quite the feature set I was looking... Read more
Coda 2.5 - One-window Web development su...
Coda is a powerful Web editor that puts everything in one place. An editor. Terminal. CSS. Files. With Coda 2, we went beyond expectations. With loads of new, much-requested features, a few... Read more
Arq 4.6.1 - Online backup to Google Driv...
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
Airfoil 4.8.10 - Send audio from any app...
Airfoil allows you to send any audio to AirPort Express units, Apple TVs, and even other Macs and PCs, all in sync! It's your audio - everywhere. With Airfoil you can take audio from any... Read more
Apple iMovie 10.0.6 - Edit personal vide...
With an all-new design, Apple iMovie lets you enjoy your videos like never before. Browse your clips more easily, instantly share your favorite moments, and create beautiful HD movies and Hollywood-... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

This Week at 148Apps: October 13-17, 201...
Expert App Reviewers   So little time and so very many apps. What’s a poor iPhone/iPad lover to do? Fortunately, 148Apps is here to give you the rundown on the latest and greatest releases. And we even have a tremendous back catalog of reviews; just... | Read more »
Angry Birds Transformers Review
Angry Birds Transformers Review By Jennifer Allen on October 20th, 2014 Our Rating: :: TRANSFORMED BIRDSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Transformed in a way you wouldn’t expect, Angry Birds Transformers is a quite... | Read more »
GAMEVIL Announces the Upcoming Launch of...
GAMEVIL Announces the Upcoming Launch of Mark of the Dragon Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 20th, 2014 [ permalink ] Mark of the Dragon, by GAMEVIL, put | Read more »
Interview With the Angry Birds Transform...
Angry Birds Transformers recently transformed and rolled out worldwide. This run-and-gun title is a hit with young Transformers fans, but the ample references to classic Transformers fandom has also earned it a place in the hearts of long-time... | Read more »
Find Free Food on Campus with Ypay
Find Free Food on Campus with Ypay Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 20th, 2014 [ permalink ] iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad | Read more »
Strung Along Review
Strung Along Review By Jordan Minor on October 20th, 2014 Our Rating: :: GOT NO STRINGSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A cool gimmick and a great art style keep Strung Along from completely falling apart.   | Read more »
P2P file transferring app Send Anywhere...
File sharing services like Dropbox have security issues. Email attachments can be problematic when it comes to sharing large files. USB dongles don’t fit into your phone. Send Anywhere, a peer-to-peer file transferring application, solves all of... | Read more »
Zero Age Review
Zero Age Review By Jordan Minor on October 20th, 2014 Our Rating: :: MORE THAN ZEROiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad With its mind-bending puzzles and spellbinding visuals, Zero Age has it all.   | Read more »
Hay Ewe Review
Hay Ewe Review By Campbell Bird on October 20th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SAVE YOUR SHEEPLEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Pave the way for your flock in this line drawing puzzle game from the creators of Worms.   | Read more »
My Very Hungry Caterpillar (Education)
My Very Hungry Caterpillar 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Care for your very own Very Hungry Caterpillar! My Very Hungry Caterpillar will captivate you as he crawls... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

2013 15-inch 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pro availa...
B&H Photo has leftover previous-generation 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pros now available for $1599 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $400 off original MSRP. B&H... Read more
Updated iPad Prices
We’ve updated our iPad Air Price Tracker and our iPad mini Price Tracker with the latest information on prices and availability from Apple and other resellers, including the new iPad Air 2 and the... Read more
Apple Pay Available to Millions of Visa Cardh...
Visa Inc. brings secure, convenient payments to iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3as well as iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Starting October 20th, eligible Visa cardholders in the U.S. will be able to use Apple Pay,... Read more
Textkraft Pocket – the missing TextEdit for i...
infovole GmbH has announced the release and immediate availability of Textkraft Pocket 1.0, a professional text editor and note taking app for Apple’s iPhone. In March 2014 rumors were all about... Read more
C Spire to offer iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3,...
C Spire on Friday announced that it will offer iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, both with Wi-Fi + Cellular, on its 4G+ LTE network in the coming weeks. C Spire will offer the new iPads with a range of... Read more
Belkin Announces Full Line of Keyboards and C...
Belkin International has unveiled a new lineup of keyboard cases and accessories for Apple’s newest iPads, featuring three QODE keyboards and a collection of thin, lightweight folios for both the... Read more
Verizon offers new iPad Air 2 preorders for $...
Verizon Wireless is accepting preorders for the new iPad Air 2, cellular models, for $100 off MSRP with a 2-year service agreement: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi + Cellular: $529.99 - 64GB iPad Air 2 WiFi... Read more
Price drops on refurbished Mac minis, now ava...
The Apple Store has dropped prices on Apple Certified Refurbished previous-generation Mac minis, with models now available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available for up to $180 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
Refurbished 2013 MacBook Pros available for u...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros available starting at $929. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros (4GB RAM/... Read more

Jobs Board

*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
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…customers purchase our products, you're the one who helps them get more out of their new Apple technology. Your day in the Apple Store is filled with a range of Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** At the Apple Store, you connect business professionals and entrepreneurs with the tools they need in order to put Apple solutions to work in their Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** The Apple Store is a retail environment like no other - uniquely focused on delivering amazing customer experiences. As an Expert, you introduce people Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** As businesses discover the power of Apple computers and mobile devices, it's your job - as a Solutions Engineer - to show them how to introduce these Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.