A LETTER FROM CHIEF TECHNICAL OFFICER ELLEN HANCOCK ON APPLE’S OS
STRATEGY AND THE “HARMONY” RELEASE
October 21, 1996
As you know, my team and I have been working on redefining Apple’s OS
roadmap to better meet our customers’ and developers’ needs. While we
have not yet finalized these plans, I wanted to give you an update as to
where we stand.
As previously announced, we have moved from a monolithic OS release
strategy to one that delivers releases on a regular schedule. We believe
that this more frequent release strategy provides Mac OS customers and
developers with the power and flexibility they’re demanding. We feel it
is important to deliver improved products and emerging technologies to
developers and customers on a timely basis.
The first of these scheduled releases, code-named “Harmony,” is expected
to be made available in January. The Harmony release will include
features such as OpenDoc and Cyberdog in the OS, along with a new
Extension Manager, an updated LaserWriter driver, and an installer front
end. Going forward, we will continue to provide features that improve
the reliability and performance of the system.
Much of the work done under the code name of “Copland” will be brought
into future versions of System 7.x as well as Mac OS 8. The enhancements
that you have asked for, such as the delivery of a new kernel, I/O
system, and file system, remain active projects. At this point it’s not
possible to make statements about delivery schedules of these specific
Let me briefly touch on the issue of compatibility between System 7 and
future OS releases from Apple. It is difficult to provide full backward
compatibility without sacrificing new capabilities, performance, or
system stability. We feel that our number one goal should be to deliver
a robust OS. Our intention has always been to deliver cutting-edge
technology that makes our developers and customers successful. That
said, we recognize the investments that you and your customers have made
in the Mac OS, and we want to preserve those investments as much as
possible. Compatibility will continue to be an important priority for
Apple’s Mac OS plans–and we intend to address the transition issues
faced by Apple’s developers and customers.
To reflect the changes in our Mac OS strategy and give you a place to
find the most current information we have, we’re reconstructing our Mac
OS information on the Web. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive site
that serves as the repository for all significant information concerning
the Mac OS as we move forward. If you try to access the Mac OS 8 website
directly, you will instead see a transition page that announces the
restructuring of our Mac OS websites. You’ll also see links to other
Apple pages including the Mac OS release strategy, Apple Developer
World, the main Apple page, the Mac OS site, the Apple Software Update
ftp site, and the Mac OS Software & Hardware Guide.
I know you’re all eager to hear more information regarding Apple’s
agenda for the Mac OS. We appreciate your patience as we resolve the
remaining decisions and rest assured that we will continue to keep you
informed of any information as soon as possible. Until then, thank you
for your understanding and continued support.
Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer
Apple Computer, Inc.