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View Full Version : Is Leopard designed to kill Adobe & MS's stranglehold?



uncyherb
30th October 2007, 11:22 AM
So Leopard is out and about now, and everyone who cares is considering it one way or another.

Two companies that would be looking at Leopard and wondering about the consequences are Adobe & Microsoft.

Obviously the first implication for MS are the potential switchers... something Adobe doesn't have to worry about much. But my discussion point isn't about will Leopard take users from the Windows user base... but something a little bit more hidden.

In Apple's transition from a 32-bit to 64-bit OS some things have gone by the wayside. The most important of these is the deprecation of Carbon. Carbon will not be a 64-bit programming language. Cocoa is officially the way of the future.... to quote arstechnica:


And on and on. With Leopard, Mac OS X's API future is clearer than it's ever been. The future is Objective-C, Cocoa, 64-bit. Full stop, no waffling, everyone get on board the train.

I hear a few people saying "So What?" (Good hearing huh?!) The immediate implications of this possibly aren't obvious... unless you dig down to WHO is programming in Carbon. Obviously there are a few thousand home programmers who are now going to be faced with the age old choice of "learn or die"... but the pool of Carbon programmers isn't limited to semi-amatuers.

Both Adobe and Microsoft have an enormous amount of code written in Carbon... code that will be awfully difficult to re-write in Objective C Cocoa.

I suppose that realistically this means that a true 64-bit version of Photoshop is now at least 12 months away... if not more. And a 64-bit version of all MS Office applications? Who knows... maybe much more than 12 months?

Both companies would have greeted the death of Carbon with major distress I would think.

So why would Apple do this? There are lots of good reasons from Apple's perspective... but the least obvious one is the leg up it may give them in the realms of competing against the two biggest software companies out there: MS and Adobe.

Maybe this will give Apple 12-18 months to develop a photoshop killer (or just plain improve Aperture) and to get together even more components to iWork... all the time not having to deal with a new version of Photoshop or Office.

Cynical? Yes! But maybe this was the thing that tipped Apple from "We might port Carbon to 64-bit" over to "Cocoa is the only 64-bit API".

decryption
30th October 2007, 11:28 AM
I guess if you look at it on face value, Apple wants modern, easy to use API's and languages to write new, lightweight apps. If that means Adobe and Microsoft won't tag along, well, that's their own fault.

Reading between the lines, you could be correct - it's an attempt to perhaps push Adobe out. it would be a monumental effort to "port" CS3 over to a Cocoa build. But could you imagine a Mac OS X release that isnt' able to run Photoshop? Or a neutered Photoshop that is Mac only? I highly doubt it. Even if Apple made a Photoshop competitor, it's still not Photoshop. Then there's apps like Illustrator and InDesign, then other programs such as Flash and Dreamweaver. Adobe's video editing apps probably wouldn't be missed that much on OS X (AfterEffects might).

Microsoft however has been moving Office over to Cocoa, so I don't think there's anything to be concerned about there.

iSlayer
30th October 2007, 11:31 AM
Cocoa has been the way of the future for along time. This will just be the first time there has been a big gap between cocoa and carbon

marc
30th October 2007, 11:36 AM
I don't think it's a deliberate attempt to push either out... It's good for Apple to have Office working well on Macs. Apple would probably someone buys a Mac, OS X and Office, rather than not switch at all.

It's good news though. About time some of those old dinosaur apps got a rewrite.

Seon
30th October 2007, 11:37 AM
I'm not sure I agree re Adobe and MS..... consider that both companies have had access to Leopard development builds, and both companies have had clear notification from Apple that carbon was to be depreciated.

Software companies as big as MS and Adobe plan many many years ahead with their software strategies, so I don't think this will be news to either... and if they now have to re-code to remove their carbon legacy code because they ignored Apples future direction as it was stated over 2 years ago... hmm, that would make them pretty silly.

Apple would have to have very clear 3rd party development life-cycle agreements that would give their key software developers access to privy info to allow them to shape their own strategy.

uncyherb
30th October 2007, 11:46 AM
I guess if you look at it on face value, Apple wants modern, easy to use API's and languages to write new, lightweight apps. If that means Adobe and Microsoft won't tag along, well, that's their own fault.

Reading between the lines, you could be correct - it's an attempt to perhaps push Adobe out. it would be a monumental effort to "port" CS3 over to a Cocoa build. But could you imagine a Mac OS X release that isnt' able to run Photoshop? Or a neutered Photoshop that is Mac only? I highly doubt it. Even if Apple made a Photoshop competitor, it's still not Photoshop. Then there's apps like Illustrator and InDesign, then other programs such as Flash and Dreamweaver. Adobe's video editing apps probably wouldn't be missed that much on OS X (AfterEffects might).

Microsoft however has been moving Office over to Cocoa, so I don't think there's anything to be concerned about there.

I'm certainly not 'concerned' as such, because you are right in that PS will be a needed app for the Mac for the foreseeable future at least, and the same with Office for that matter....

But the question at Apple (and any other software maker competing in the same sphere as these two products) is "How can we change that situtation?"

Apple are now in an amazing position: they might have 12-18 months to work on a product without Adobe or MS placing a competing product out into the market.

Personally, I would be happy for ANYONE to launch a compelling competitor to Office... Photoshop is another story for myself... but maybe they don't really have to 'beat' Photoshop... just Elements? Or maybe the time is right for Apple to compete against Photoshop by launching two programs, one that is the equivalent of Elements, and one that is something like a cross between Photoshop and Shake.

SyncMan
30th October 2007, 11:49 AM
But boy hasn't Microsoft taken their time to bring out, or not, a new version of Office for the Mac, for Intel Macs in particular!

Last person to leave Microsoft please turn out the lights.

uncyherb
30th October 2007, 11:51 AM
I'm not sure I agree re Adobe and MS..... consider that both companies have had access to Leopard development builds, and both companies have had clear notification from Apple that carbon was to be depreciated.

Software companies as big as MS and Adobe plan many many years ahead with their software strategies, so I don't think this will be news to either... and if they now have to re-code to remove their carbon legacy code because they ignored Apples future direction as it was stated over 2 years ago... hmm, that would make them pretty silly.

Apple would have to have very clear 3rd party development life-cycle agreements that would give their key software developers access to privy info to allow them to shape their own strategy.

Actually, Apple held the decision to cut Carbon's lifeline very close to their chest until very recently (in software development terms). The most recent WWDC still had 64-bit ports of 32-bit Carbon code running around as seeds to the developers. Apple were still teaching Carbon developers how to insert sections of Cocoa into their code in the last developer conference... not a sign that Cocoa was the dev platform of choice, but neither was it a sign that Carbon was already a dead-end.

It does seem that Apple gave mixed signals on this for quite a long while, and only very recently cut the Carbon pathway. Arstechnica effectively said that the choice was a hard one for Apple and that the 'tough' decision was a recent move.

uncyherb
30th October 2007, 11:53 AM
But boy hasn't Microsoft taken their time to bring out, or not, a new version of Office for the Mac, for Intel Macs in particular!

Last person to leave Microsoft please turn out the lights.

And that's with them being allowed to try and re-code the new version using legacy code that was all Carbon... maybe the reason this has taken MS so long already is that they were building Office from the ground up in Cocoa? But I somehow doubt this!

mjankor
30th October 2007, 12:03 PM
Thank Christ. Now maybe Filemaker can rebuild their apps too rather that just the half hearted upgrade cycle we've seen since OS X came out.

step_andy
30th October 2007, 12:06 PM
But boy hasn't Microsoft taken their time to bring out, or not, a new version of Office for the Mac, for Intel Macs in particular!

Last person to leave Microsoft please turn out the lights.
Here is some interesting info on Mac mojo (http://blogs.msdn.com/macmojo/default.aspx)


With regard to Office 2008, we’re also in great shape. We’ve made some tremendous architectural changes to the product to take advantage of newer technologies in Mac OS X that have come out since Office 2004 was released to run on Mac OS X 10.2. Because of those changes, we’ve given seeds of Mac Office 2008 to Apple so that they can run their own tests against it. Since these early builds of Mac Office and Leopard contain pre-release code and may contain features that have not been made totally public yet, both we and Apple are very careful to keep access to these seeds confined to a small group of people. This mutual seeding arrangement provides a way for the developers at both of our companies to ensure the best user experience for our mutual customers. We’ve been able to use this seeding time to make sure that Mac Office 2008 looks great on Leopard (picking up the new Leopard UI theme), works with new Apple technologies like Time Machine, Spaces, WebKit 3, AppleScript (ok, AppleScript isn’t new itself, but Apple made some big changes under the hood), and cooperates with lots of other smaller changes in various parts of the OS.

marc
30th October 2007, 12:24 PM
It's quite possible that some apps will just remain carbon. There's going to be some speed advantages and being able to access more ram when using Cocoa, but maybe there's no hurry?

Photoshop and the CS3 suite is already pretty quick. Maybe Adobe will just take a very long term approach to this. Lightroom has most of it's GUi built in Lua:

http://daringfireball.net/2007/02/dynamic_scripting_languages

Maybe CS4 will be the same?

Quamen
30th October 2007, 02:02 PM
It's quite possible that some apps will just remain carbon. There's going to be some speed advantages and being able to access more ram when using Cocoa, but maybe there's no hurry?

The only difference is that the new frameworks and API's are going to be cocoa only, so the carbon crew will not be able to play along.

For someone like Adobe or MS it might not be that big a deal, they have the resources to code their own version of say..... Core Animation in house.

For smaller developers you'd be nuts not to use Cocoa as there is so much goodness available right out of the box and more coming every year.

forgie
30th October 2007, 02:29 PM
The only difference is that the new frameworks and API's are going to be cocoa only, so the carbon crew will not be able to play along.

For someone like Adobe or MS it might not be that big a deal, they have the resources to code their own version of say..... Core Animation in house.

For smaller developers you'd be nuts not to use Cocoa as there is so much goodness available right out of the box and more coming every year.
Office doesn't need to be 64 bit. It's not a performance critical app. Since they use a lot of cross-platform code (I assume?), porting to Cocoa will not be something they HAVE to do. There code presumably makes very little use of all the advanced APIs in OSX.

Adobe wouldn't care about advanced APIs either - they also need a cross-platform code-base for their software. The 64-bit thing IS significant for them, however, since in the future, the limitations of 32-bit code will become more and more apparent in the field of multimedia work.