Apple Ignoring Game Developers


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When Valve called Apple out for not taking games and game developers seriously, nobody really paid much attention. Despite Valve’s offerings in terms of games, they never really did anything for the Mac and so these were seen as outside comments. Between this and the later news about the large amount of money asked by the company for a Mac port of Half-Life 2, the arguments just weren’t that convincing. Now, longtime Mac developer id software is singing the same song.

John Carmack has criticized Apple for its game related decisions, concluding that the company simply does not get this market. Despite joining Jobs on stage at WWDC, to renew his studio’s commitment to the platform, the legendary game developer is not very
optimistic about gaming on the Mac.
To further dive his point, Carmack points towards Apple’s handling of games on both the iPod and iPhone.

The two mobile devices may not be Macs, but they are a product that can support games and that requires special attention from Apple in order to ensure that game developers can actually develop.
Instead of making sure that these developers can flourish, Apple has done the exact opposite, locking the two devices and giving only the most rudimentary access. In the case of the iPod, when development was finally allowed, developers had to work with an emulator. With the iPhone and iPod touch, the company refuses to allow any development until the native software development kit is released in February next year.
Both of these decisions make developing games for these platforms highly impractical.
"The honest truth right now is that Apple's not exactly hugely supportive of [games for the iPhone]," Carmack says. "When they finally allowed games to be put on the iPod... in many ways it's one of the worst environments to develop games for. You have to work on an emulator... just all these horrible decisions."

This is not too different from what valve was saying and does indicate that the company as a whole simply disregards the entire game market. While this seems to be the case, Apple isn’t exactly being hounded by their stance.
"[Apple's] strategy seems to be working just fine from a business standpoint, so I'm not going to second guess them and tell them they're being fools or idiots for not focusing on this," the developer admits.
While all of Apple’s products are doing well even despite the lack of commitment to games, this market remains an important one for many users and it could be very beneficial to the company if only it could be bothered to do anything about it.

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What Will Windows 7 Bring to the Table After Windows Vista?


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With Windows Vista far from being the last mammoth release of the Windows operating system as we know it, Microsoft is increasingly focusing on Windows 7. Stripped down of its Vienna codename, following the development strategy implemented by Steven Sinofsky, Senior Vice President, Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, debuted with the introduction of product numbers, Windows 7 is currently set for 2010, in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors. At the same time, there are generally only scarce details related to Windows 7 available, most of which do not benefit from any official confirmation from Microsoft.

But one aspect of the operating system, that the Redmond company will evolve, concerns the ecosystem of programs and applications built on top of the platform. In this context, Windows 7 could be synonymous with an overhaul of how the Windows client handles the deployment, configuration and management of third-party software products integrated into its fabric in an effort to improve installation, stability, performance etc.

Well, according to the Windows Survey on Deploying and Configuring Applications, Microsoft is quite interested in the impact of the User Account Control on the development, installation and configuring of applications. While it is highly unlikely that the company is considering dropping UAC, the security mitigation could be tweaked as a consequence of the feedback received. But at the same time, Microsoft is pointing to a simpler installation experience that does not by any means require elevation of privileges.

Microsoft is also questioning developers in relation to the diagnostics and troubleshooting process of application failures, as well as extensive repair options, complete uninstall and a separation of the program from Windows in order to avoid conflicts and errors impacting the operating system. Still, by the repetition of the topic involving the lack of administrative privileges for future applications for Windows 7 it appears that the UAC is here to stay.

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Illegal Downloads To Be Banned In France


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The French authorities seem to be prepared to launch a campaign against the illegal downloaders in the country as they want to stop the distribution of pirated music and videos. According to Financial Times, President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to create a special government body which will be responsible for blocking these illegal downloads. But what's more interesting is that the authorities want to remove the access to the Internet for the ones discovered as illegal downloaders. Although some of you might believe this move is way too harsh, it can be pretty efficient as the pirates will be unable to download additional illegal files after they are first detected.

In case you're wondering how they will get the information about the users who download pirated content, it's quite easy to obtain it since the ISPs are able to monitor the entire activity. This way, every time a consumer accesses an application flagged as illegal, the authorities could start an investigation. The targeted applications are obviously the peer-to-peer and file sharing solutions. The copyright holders and the Internet service providers will probably become partners for the government as this move can reduce the pirated content distributed inside the country.

"In exchange for the clampdown on illegal downloading, the music industry has agreed to make individual downloads of archive French material available on all types of players by dropping digital rights management protection," Financial Times added. "The French film industry has agreed to release DVDs more quickly after a film’s first cinema screening, reducing the delay from 7½ months to 6 months."

As far as I can see, this seems to be the most important move made by the French authorities to reduce software piracy and encourage users to download only genuine software, music or movies. However, there are way too many more steps to do until this huge phenomenon stops so let's hope some of the pirates will get scared and will stop distributing pirated content.

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Linux Foundation's Desktop Linux Survey Results


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"While the Linux Foundation's third annual desktop Linux survey doesn't officially end until November 30th, the number of daily respondents have shrunk to a trickle and the Foundation is working on analyzing the results. They now have up an early look at the raw data. For starters, almost 20,000 self-selected users filled out this year's survey compared to fewer than 10,000 in 2006's survey. Not surprisingly, the Ubuntu family of Linuxes is the most popular among organizations, at 54.1 percent. This was followed by the Red Hat family — RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux/Fedora/CentOS) — with 50.2 percent. The Novell SUSE group — SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) and openSUSE — came in third, with 35.2 percent."

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An Open Letter to the Community: A Proposed Solution


UPDATE, 11/14/07: A motion was informally submitted to the OGB for discussion and endorsement of this proposal. Today that proposal was placed on the meeting agenda however no member of the board was willing to even submit it for discussion or debate. This proposal is therefore, for the time being, dead and this author is saddened by the continued lack of action on the part of the OGB to even advance the discussion. This only further enforces the reality that change will come from within Sun, not from the OpenSolaris Community or its Board.

The following is an open letter to the OpenSolaris Community, of which Sun Microsystems is a member, as a response to the great naming debacle.

We stand at a crossroads. Two paths before us: success and failure. Two parties opposed: Sun Microsystems and "the community". One simple problem: will Project Indiana take on the name "OpenSolaris'.

Does that sentence seem overly dramatic? Yes. Is it untrue? No. The situation we find ourselves in is nothing short of madness, utter confusion and chaos. With the success of Project Indiana's maiden voyage we should be more unified and excited than ever, but alas we are not. We stand more divided than ever... over a name.

Ian Murdock came to Sun as a savior. He did not invent something great, rather he brought together greatness in a unified force. Project Indiana was its name. When Solaris was without direction, when our future was clear but path unknown, he brought together the projects and persons together necessary to chart that path. In the course of that work he sought to solve a simple yet important problem: "Where do I download OpenSolaris? How do I run it?" This is a branding problem, a naming problem, with powerful implications and a hurtle to success. The answer lies in the question... the distribution must be called OpenSolaris.

But OpenSolaris carries a variety of meanings now. Most importantly, it carries two:

  1. OpenSolaris is currently synonymous with "Nevada", the Open Source (CDDL) code base. This may be used by a Distribution such as Nexenta ("Based on OpenSolaris"; "Based on OpenSolaris Technology", in this cased meaning the source), by a provider such as Joyent ("Built On OpenSolaris"; in this case meaning Solaris Express), etc.
  2. OpenSolaris refers to the community around the code, in a wide variety of projects and efforts. This may be used by a Users Group ("Silicon Valley OpenSolaris Users Group"), a project or effort ("OpenSolaris Desktop Project"), etc. None of these things use the term to mean any one product in specific but rather the whole.

Hence our dilemma. To name the distribution OpenSolaris is to confuse the term by making something fairly generic mean something very specific... yet, to name the product/distribution something other than OpenSolaris is to create yet a different type of confusion. Is there no solution? Is this a perpetual stalemate?

I believe there is a solution and that everyone can win. Whats more, I believe that the only true solution is a win-win solution. I believe that Ian Murdock is a worthy leader and I also believe that the community has legitimate concerns.

I therefore humbly submit that OpenSolaris's reference distribution, Project Indiana, name become: OpenSolaris RD

This name provides a variety of advantages:

For the community, OpenSolaris RD is clearly delineated, drawing on the OpenSolaris brand but being distinct at the same time.

For Sun, this provides a clear, hip, conventionally accepted naming scheme that is extensible over time. Taking up the name "OpenSolaris" alone is short sited. Because of the nature of the distribution a fully supported version will need to be created for ISV Qualification, etc, down the road. This qualified version will be a customized version of OpenSolaris RD and perhaps named OpenSolaris GS ("Genric Server") or OpenSolaris DS ("Data Server"). Furthermore, specific pre-canned varieties can extend yet futher without confusion: OpenSolaris HPC, OpenSolaris HA, etc. Given that there are several plans for appliances in the next year, this naming scheme can bring them into the mix as well, and later provides a simplified naming convention for picking the binary distribution thats right for you.

I believe that my proposed naming provides advantages to both the OpenSolaris Community and to Sun Microsystems, where we can both share the brand, monitize the brand, and minimize confusion both now and down the road.

The current actions of both Sun and the OpenSolaris Governing Board are gear toward a stalemate at this time. The OGB is deciding on a official position statement regarding the issue, yet allowed a review of that statement by Bill Franklin (representing Sun Microsystems) prior to declaring it an official position; this simply defeats the purpose of making such a statement given that the purpose of such a statement is to send a clear message to Sun on where it stands. The motions currently pending seek not to resolve the problem but rather to post-pone any steps toward a real resolution. I believe that my proposed naming offers a long term solution to end the current line of motions and put it firmly behind us, and back on a unified path of glory.

It is with great humility that I request the serious consideration of this proposal by Sun Microsystems (represented by Bill Franklin), Project Indiana Founder and Chief OS Strategist Ian Murdock, and the OpenSolaris Governing Board.

In closing, I believe in light of recent frustrations that a word be devoted to Mr Ian Murdock. I have had the pleasure of meeting with him several times since coming to Sun and getting to know his mind. I believe with ever core of my being that he is one of the most open minded and receptive technologists that I've ever met. I am personally offended by the various accusations that he is closed minded or inflexible. I humbly ask the community to consider that there are many persons at Sun who have various agenda's which are in several cases being unfairly placed on him. He has tried to be open and honest with the community and repaid with mockery and condescending remarks. It is, in my opinion, of the utmost importance that we quickly resolved this naming controversy, re-group, organize ourselves, and work together with Ian Murdock toward a brighter future for OpenSolaris and Sun Microsystems. Our best hope for the future of all parties is his continued leadership; we tried it without him for 2 years and got no where, now, because of his leadership, regardless of your personal opinion of him, his decisions, or his execution, we have come further than we previously could have seen ourselves in 2-5 years. I applaud Ian Murdocks leadership, his honesty, and his commitment to this process.

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