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Disgusted by Apple ripping off Konfabulator!  

post #1 of 91
Thread Starter 
I am surprised that noone in here is talking about the ripoff that Dashboard is, or if anyone else has said anything about it I missed it. I am an unabashed Apple zealot, and I am quick to point out when someone rips off Apple. But it makes my skin crawl the way Apple has screwed Arlo Rose. The guy makes a seemingly innovative piece of software and Apple has completely ganked it. I thought briefly that Apple must have licensed the technology or bought the company, but according to this article they just stole it.

http://www.macminute.com/2004/06/28/copycat

I gave Apple a break with the Watson thing but that was a great piece of software that they killed and an innovative developer that they pushed from the platform. If you haven't read about it Karelia was sold today probably to Sun. Just had to get that off of my chest.
I too, have the ability to kill a yak at 200 yards... with mind bullets!
I too, have the ability to kill a yak at 200 yards... with mind bullets!
post #2 of 91
Arlo Rose is a grown man. He can fight his own battles.
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- SolipsismX
post #3 of 91
Yeah they suck. They sucked when they did it to Karelia and they suck for doing it again.
post #4 of 91
Hate to say it, but if konfabulator did sue, they would have a hell of a case, a suit could pudh back release by months unless apple strips it and holds it back till 10.5, when any legal trouble can be cleared up.

But apple probabley already called the konfabulator guy and gave him a big fat sum of cash to let apple go ahead and make sure his yap stayed shut till after the conferance today.
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You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
post #5 of 91
Konfabulator (and therefore Dashboard) was the logic enhancement to Expose that everyone could expect.
Charging Apple for having "copied" Konfabulator would have been like charging them for having "copied" Aaron or Kaleidoscope...
Well that's my opinion anyway!
Basically everything goes round. We're 80% dinosaur.
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Basically everything goes round. We're 80% dinosaur.
-- Alex James
post #6 of 91
Yes, it is a ripoff of Konfabulator and poor form on Apple's part not to even discuss this with them. But keep in mind that Konfab is esssentially just a ripoff of DesktopX's Objects and Widgets.

Just my 2 bits,

C.
post #7 of 91
Re-implementing a non-patented system is not stealing. Seriously.

Different code that was written by Apple engineers without seeing the actual code by Arlo is reverse-engineered, and not violating copyright law.

Since the idea was not patented by Arlo, anyone else (and I mean *anyone* else) is free to do the same with their own implementation. And they did.

a_greer, Arlo has no legal stance here, period, sad enough for him.

(And, one could easily argue that Konfabulator is the natural progression of Desk Accessories, and Dashboard is the natural progression of Konfabulator. *shrug*)

Sucks to be Arlo, and my sympathies are with him, but yes, he can fight his own battles... I'm just not sure how he'd go about doing so with this one when he left himself wide open in a legal sense.
My brain is hung like a HORSE!
My brain is hung like a HORSE!
post #8 of 91
Apple obviously believes the ends justify the means. If it helps them gain marketshare and make Tiger the best operating system, they will do it.
post #9 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Re-implementing a non-patented system is not stealing. Seriously.

Different code that was written by Apple engineers without seeing the actual code by Arlo is reverse-engineered, and not violating copyright law.

Since the idea was not patented by Arlo, anyone else (and I mean *anyone* else) is free to do the same with their own implementation. And they did.

a_greer, Arlo has no legal stance here, period, sad enough for him.

(And, one could easily argue that Konfabulator is the natural progression of Desk Accessories, and Dashboard is the natural progression of Konfabulator. *shrug*)

Sucks to be Arlo, and my sympathies are with him, but yes, he can fight his own battles... I'm just not sure how he'd go about doing so with this one when he left himself wide open in a legal sense.

Exactly!!! Widgets have been around on Apples as well as other OS's for eons. Hell, my Linux PC uses Enlightenment as a window manager and I have all kinds of widgets running to tell me things like disk activity, and CPU usage. Konfabulator was/is a cool plugin but its prior art and as such free to be implemented by others.

My 2 cents.
"[Saddam's] a bad guy. He's a terrible guy and he should go. But I don't think it's worth 800 troops dead, 4500 wounded -- some of them terribly -- $200 billion of our treasury and counting, and...
"[Saddam's] a bad guy. He's a terrible guy and he should go. But I don't think it's worth 800 troops dead, 4500 wounded -- some of them terribly -- $200 billion of our treasury and counting, and...
post #10 of 91
i'm trying to see this whole situation in a slightly more positive light. i mean, arlo et al. are about to get a LOT of articles written about them in macworld and macaddict. they're product is cheap and now really mature. also, apple has told them what they will be releasing potentially a YEAR in advance. if arlo just drops the price a bit for a summer sale to increase registrants, he'll have a huge mac user base (well, um, huger than it is now if he markets it well enough). and i'm sure they're not just going to sit on their hands and let konfab rot. plus, what are apple's widgets written in? one of konfab's biggest advatages is that it's javascript, right? what is apple's? applescript? or do you have to use their developer tools/xcode?

i mean, i think arlo et al. can really see this as having been given a running head start. we'll see what they can do with it.
When you're lovers in a dangerous time,
You're made to feel as if your love's a crime.
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

-...
When you're lovers in a dangerous time,
You're made to feel as if your love's a crime.
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

-...
post #11 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by Existence
Apple obviously believes the ends justify the means. If it helps them gain marketshare and make Tiger the best operating system, they will do it.

If you mean legally write their own implementation of a non-protected idea that's been around for almost two decades as prior art, in various forms, then yes, they will.

Like I said, sucks to be Arlo right now, but from a *legal* standpoint, Apple did zero wrong.

From an *ethical* standpoint... well, let's just say this is why I have two patents in the pipeline right now.
My brain is hung like a HORSE!
My brain is hung like a HORSE!
post #12 of 91
Legally, developing Dashboard is completely within Apple's rights... ethically, well, it's much grayer area.

But the biggest trouble, as I see it, is political. It's one thing for Apple to continue the development of the OS where they see fit; it's another to so blatantly copy an fairly polished, innovative shareware program down to the details in functionality, general look *and* mechanism, and then, in the same breath, request developers to go and develop new innovative apps for the platform.

It borders on insulting -- I can't imagine that many, if not all, developers didn't feel something of a chill go down their spine when they saw Dashboard.
post #13 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by rok
one of konfab's biggest advatages is that it's javascript, right? what is apple's? applescript? or do you have to use their developer tools/xcode?

i mean, i think arlo et al. can really see this as having been given a running head start. we'll see what they can do with it.


Dashboard widgets are written in Javascript. Sound familiar?

Arlo was going to have to face this issue sooner or later.... but the deep similarity of Dashboard to Konfab across all areas (even look and feel), without a sliver of notice, must make it particularly galling. Considering he worked for Apple once before, I wonder if there was some bad blood between himself and higher-ups at Apple, or even Steve himself.
post #14 of 91
What bothers me most about the Konfab mess is Arlo Rose saying they would have to switch to another platform. People like Adobe and the like moaning about competition from Apple and dropping their products don't think MS is going to do it and worse?

Competition, my dear fellow. Make Konfab better. Bringing the widgets in from off the screen with a function key is a great idea. (I think that's Apple's idea. If not, I stand corrected.)

Make your products better than Apple's and you'll have my business. Sit back and moan and you get no pity from me.
rentedmule

Go to bread.
rentedmule

Go to bread.
post #15 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by rentedmule
What bothers me most about the Konfab mess is Arlo Rose saying they would have to switch to another platform. People like Adobe and the like moaning about competition from Apple and dropping their products don't think MS is going to do it and worse?

Competition, my dear fellow. Make Konfab better. Bringing the widgets in from off the screen with a function key is a great idea. (I think that's Apple's idea. If not, I stand corrected.)

There's some confusion about that... See, Konfabulator 1.7 with Konspose (naw, no 'homage' there with the name... ) allows you to do the hide-and-show that Dashboard does.

And it was released three days ago.

Hmm.

Considering that Arlo had advance notice about Dashboard... who did what first? *shrug*

Quote:
Make your products better than Apple's and you'll have my business. Sit back and moan and you get no pity from me.

Well, I'm willing to give him a period of mourning, but then, yeah, I agree.
My brain is hung like a HORSE!
My brain is hung like a HORSE!
post #16 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by rentedmule
Competition, my dear fellow. Make Konfab better. Bringing the widgets in from off the screen with a function key is a great idea. (I think that's Apple's idea. If not, I stand corrected.)

He just released that last Friday, called it "Konsposé". Small world. Hmm.

I can't imagine Konfabulator would fare all that well against Object Desktop, DesktopX, and Longhorn's Sidebar, so... And on the plus side, he'll have access to the CoreImage and CoreVideo APIs to use the same effects Apple is using to make their Dashboard widget nifty. OTOH, being a two-person developer team against a huge company like Apple, who can bundle your months and months of labor into the OS with a snap of the fingers... sounds far from easy. If I were them, I'd move on to something else entirely.

But who knows. I'm not a Konfab customer, so I can only speculate what the Konfab audience wants.
post #17 of 91
I think it stinks. I don't really care about legal parsing. There are a lot of things that are legal that stink. This stinks! It was not a natural progression of anything. It was the same way with Watson. Apple had just acknowledged that software as innovative before they ripped off the idea for themselves. It is as if they are sitting back and looking for good ideas from developers and picking off the ones that are vulnerable to attack. Don't talk about competition. A little guy with a good idea and good implementation vs. an exact copy built into the OS. It is not as if two third parties are competing for the same space. They have taken the idea and the implementation and bundled it with the OS. They did not already have a similar product that they decided to bundle to force out the competition. Think IE and the browser wars.

THIS STINKS!!!

I really liked the new search features. But even as I saw them for the first time, I said to myself that Launchbar was going to be next on the chopping block. You heard it here first.

Sorry, I meant LaunchBar, not QuickKeys
Apple has no competition. Every commercial product which competes directly with an Apple product gives the distinct impression that, Where it is original, it is not good, and where it is good, it...
Apple has no competition. Every commercial product which competes directly with an Apple product gives the distinct impression that, Where it is original, it is not good, and where it is good, it...
post #18 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by Mac Voyer:
I really liked the new search features. But even as I saw them for the first time, I said to myself that QuickKeys was going to be next on the chopping block. You heard it here first.

When I first saw Tiger's search features I thought, wow, that's nice. I also thought they were nice when I saw them on all those Longhorn demos.

C.
post #19 of 91
I don't really understand what people are upset about.

It was legal, a natural progression, and i'm sure majority of mac users have no clue what konfabulator is.

It is seamless integration, and that is what apple is about.

doesn't bother me in the slightest
A good brain ain't diddly if you don't have the facts
A good brain ain't diddly if you don't have the facts
post #20 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by Mac Voyer
It was not a natural progression of anything.

Even without the legal side, to me it really does look like a natural progression of Classic MacOS style Desk Accessories blended with Exposé. I have no problem with the idea itself. What is a little unsettling is the similarity of the implementation to Konfabulator. It certainly looks like Konfabulator and with Javascript being used for widgets, it is even more similar. If the widgets complied more with Apple's usual UI standards and it had used Applescript for creating them (Assuming this is feasible), I couldn't see even the slightest problem here. In fact, the UI ugliness bothers me a lot more than anything.
post #21 of 91
I think apple should have talked with the guy, maybe offer some money to buy out the idea first. Adding this feature without telling him is kinda like a stab in the back. What would you think/feel if this happened to you?

You spend countless hours making something great, and some big corporation just steals you ideas without giving you anything. I would be pretty angry myself. Most people do not think in others' shoes, they just mindlessly say "screw him" or "who cares." obviously that person cares about it.
The bored one.
The bored one.
post #22 of 91
I see two problems with this kind of behavior. First, why is Apple wasting time developing something that someone else has already developed? Why aren't they spending their limited resources making something new, or copying something from the Windows world that doesn't already exist on Macs? Second, what is the motivation for me (or any programmer) to develop a utility if Apple has a track record of stealing people's ideas?
post #23 of 91
Hehe...

http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger/dashboard.html

Look at the stock prices chart. Notice the value and movement of AAPL and PIXR and the movement of MSFT.
post #24 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by Existence
Hehe...

http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger/dashboard.html

Look at the stock prices chart. Notice the value and movement of AAPL and the movement of MSFT.

Sweet!
Basically everything goes round. We're 80% dinosaur.
-- Alex James
Basically everything goes round. We're 80% dinosaur.
-- Alex James
post #25 of 91
Maybe I'm confused here. I fail to see how Apple ripped off Konfabulator at all. Konfab was not (to my understanding) a platform for building widgets (Java) nor was it responsible for the look/feel of those widgets (designers), all it did was provide a 'home' for all of these individually developed widgets to rest.

Apple has done the same thing with Dashboard, but with a cleaner (IMO) implementation. Again, they didn't write/design the widgets (for the most part), they just built the framework for them to sit.

Much like tools in a toolshed. People are screaming at Apple as though they STOLE Konfabulator's idea for a TOOL, when really all they did was build a different kind of shed. The tools are provided by the thousands of people who write these little widgets. Either it's me, or everyone is confused and thinks Apple stole this idea simply because they've seen 'widgets' before. Widgets AREN'T Konfabulor, Konfabulator is just the organizational platform...Am I wrong?
post #26 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by Sport73
Widgets AREN'T Konfabulor, Konfabulator is just the organizational platform...Am I wrong?

Yep. Widgets are the code that runs on the Konfabulator engine. They were invented for Konfabulator, and didn't exist before Konfabulator.
post #27 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by Mac Voyer
They have taken the idea and the implementation and bundled it with the OS. They did not already have a similar product that they decided to bundle to force out the competition. Think IE and the browser wars.

Agree 100%.

Hell, Microsoft got sued, and now we have here a full bunch of apologists willing to take it under their tails just cuz it's Steve's...

We're talking about developers here people, and this was a developer's conference. Arlo got screwed for being a developer! I would not, will not, develop for an Apple platform. Ever. Not after this.

And sadly, developers make the platform. I never thought I'd have found myself thinking this, but I fondly remember a tall, fat and sweaty guy coming on stage all dancing and jumping, all the time screaming "developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers..."

I paid for Konfabulator. I use it all the time, and liked it so much that I decided to pay. It's like the second or third time I do it (first one was Transit, back in the Good Old Days). But I did it to support the developer, who in my opinion, really deserved it. Now it's like Apple made Arlo's work meaningless, and my support for Konfabulator as well.

Thanks Steve, but after this you lost me (after 14 years).

ZoSo
post #28 of 91
This all raises a good point. What can an independent developer do to protect their developments?

Point 1: Don't waste time developing things in the public domain except for fun.

Point 2: Learning about legalisms is as important as learning about software engineering.

If you want to charge for something then somehow you need to protect it. You could use copyright to protect the look and feel. Someone could make the same function but somehow it would have to look different. Maybe different enough to let you keep your business alive. You could use software patents to protect some limited aspects of the product.

This is not fun but it seems that this is the world we live in.
Unofficial AppleScript Studio Lobbyist
Unofficial AppleScript Studio Lobbyist
post #29 of 91
Quote:
Thanks Steve, but after this you lost me (after 14 years)

Bravo!!! Such Drama...my heart is touched by your emotional plea.

I swear, some of you people really freak me out with all this emotion. Arlo is just facing a bit of competiton, he'll be fine. Hell I get pissed off at Apple but it's business never personal.
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
post #30 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by hmurchison
Bravo!!!

Grazie.

Quote:
Such Drama...my heart is touched by your emotional plea.

I swear, some of you people really freak me out with all this emotion. Arlo is just facing a bit of competiton, he'll be fine. Hell I get pissed off at Apple but it's business never personal.

Here we go. Apologist number one (and top-scorer under-the-tail taker only-if-it's-Steve's also).

Emotion? Competition?

It's principles, you freak. Ever heard of'em?

And it's not business: it's DEVELOPERS!

ZoSo
post #31 of 91
If it weren't Apple, but another 3rd party ISV, I would seriously expect at least some credits. In case of a company, be it Apple, M$, Adobe or Quark, we should take it for granted. Unless they violate other people's copyrights.
Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand. Putts Law
Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand. Putts Law
post #32 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by costique
If it weren't Apple, but another 3rd party ISV, I would seriously expect at least some credits. In case of a company, be it Apple, M$, Adobe or Quark, we should take it for granted. Unless they violate other people's copyrights.

Alright, law by the book. But if they really want to convince more people to develop for OS Decimus (sorry, sooner or later I had to say it, numbers in latin are adjectives) they should come out with something better than this.

It's like: "develop cool products for our platform! But wait, if your product is too cool and you're a small independent developer we might just screw you, rip-off your work, put you almost out of business and call it innovation".

Am I the only one seeing something wrong in this approach?

ZoSo
post #33 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by neutrino23
This all raises a good point. What can an independent developer do to protect their developments?

Point 1: Don't waste time developing things in the public domain except for fun.

Point 2: Learning about legalisms is as important as learning about software engineering.

If you want to charge for something then somehow you need to protect it. You could use copyright to protect the look and feel. Someone could make the same function but somehow it would have to look different. Maybe different enough to let you keep your business alive. You could use software patents to protect some limited aspects of the product.

This is not fun but it seems that this is the world we live in.

Point 3: Don't bitch about others stealing your idea if your idea was stolen from someone else (DesktopX et al).
JLL

95% percent of the boat is owned by Microsoft, but the 5% Apple controls happens to be the rudder!
JLL

95% percent of the boat is owned by Microsoft, but the 5% Apple controls happens to be the rudder!
post #34 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by hmurchison
Bravo!!! Such Drama...my heart is touched by your emotional plea.

I swear, some of you people really freak me out with all this emotion. Arlo is just facing a bit of competiton, he'll be fine. Hell I get pissed off at Apple but it's business never personal.

you're fan boy thing is in overdrive.

I just watched the keynote. Dashboard looks very nice. And its something that I have been waiting for every time I have needed to use the calculator in OS X or address book. I tried Konfabulator a while ago, thought it was nifty, but overall hated it. Seemed to just be cluttered and inefficient and didnt really solve the problems I wanted solved. Dashboard does. I'm all for dashboard..... I just think that Apple needs to wise up with this ripping off of developers without recognition/support. Hell, Watson won a frickin apple design award and then they go and make it their own. That's just low. Konfabulator, since I first used it, seems to have improved greatly, and is a very popular app in the mac community. Apple is hurting the wrong people with moves like these.

In a couple months this will all be forgotten, no one will care, people will be drooling over the latest preview of Dashboard, so whatever, I just think Apple needs to go about this stuff in a more professional/ethical/community way
post #35 of 91
The effect of Dashboards will be pretty small. They really don't do much. Arlo should be able to stay more than competitive after all he's charging $25 for the technology of which users freely share their design work.

That's an ethical quandry of its own. Just like Gracenote took the benevolent work of thousands of people and privatized it Konfabulator is counting on free labor to profit.

I will still consider buying Konfab and I will eyeball Sun's Karelia based product. However in the end it's a sad fact but technology added to the OS is better for the future. With housholds moving to multiple computers paying site licenses for shareware is even an expensive proposition. Apple might compete with some developers but remember there are thousands that Apple doesn't compete with.
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
post #36 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by JLL
Point 3: Don't bitch about others stealing your idea if your idea was stolen from someone else (DesktopX et al).

Point 4: bitch with a vengeance when an OS company wants you to develop for their platform and when your work is flourishing and ripe they rip-off what you've done.

ZoSo
post #37 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by hmurchison
However in the end it's a sad fact but technology added to the OS is better for the future.

We need coherence here: if you think it is right then stick with it. Otherwise, if it's wrong for one (picture yourselves Bill Gates saying that) is wrong also for everybody else. That's the fundamental principle of legality.

Unless some think this is really war (anyone need to get a life for a change? ), but then also bombs and missiles get into the equation. And things start to get messy... Stock-price of your competitor rises, you bomb their HQ? Funny in a book, not in RL.

ZoSo
post #38 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by ZoSo
Alright, law by the book. But if they really want to convince more people to develop for OS Decimus (sorry, sooner or later I had to say it, numbers in latin are adjectives) they should come out with something better than this.

It's like: "develop cool products for our platform! But wait, if your product is too cool and you're a small independent developer we might just screw you, rip-off your work, put you almost out of business and call it innovation".

Am I the only one seeing something wrong in this approach?

You're not the only one. That's why we have 2 sets of laws: formal/civil and informal/moral ones. Some people even have a 3rd set for laws of logic. My opinion is that Apple is right from a pure legal point of view, damn wrong from a moral point of view, and somewhat illogical as you say. If you just don't give a damn about this complicated stuff, then it's perfectly alright because new features enrich the platform, especially if you don't have to pay for them separately.
Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand. Putts Law
Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand. Putts Law
post #39 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by Borborygmi
Yep. Widgets are the code that runs on the Konfabulator engine. They were invented for Konfabulator, and didn't exist before Konfabulator.

Certainly the idea of little mini utilities was not original, Desk Accessories in Classic MacOS had this with the calculator, puzzles, etc and most other operating systems have had similar things.

The idea of using simpler scripting languages running in an engine to simplify development was not original, and Javascript existed long before Konfabulator.

I don't believe even the idea of combining a user interface with a script system was original, after all this is what Hypercard, Mozilla's XUL, Real BASIC and many other things did long before Konfabulator.

What they did do was to come up with a very elegantly implemented way to develop desk accessories, lightweight utilities, etc by tying these ideas together but even this was done before by DesktopX on Windows.

Seems to me the idea behind Konfabulator (including it's widgets) can't be considered original at all.
post #40 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by costique
You're not the only one. That's why we have 2 sets of laws: formal/civil and informal/moral ones. Some people even have a 3rd set for laws of logic. My opinion is that Apple is right from a pure legal point of view, damn wrong from a moral point of view, and somewhat illogical as you say. If you just don't give a damn about this complicated stuff, then it's perfectly alright because new features enrich the platform, especially if you don't have to pay for them separately.

Thanks for clarifying.

Yes, it seems illogical to me, especially because Apple has always had a very strong aura of being the computer-maker for the rest of us. What if one of those "us" decides to develop something cool/innovative/better? Being a developer shouldn't make you more one of those "us", rather than less?

Yes, definitely illogical. And I might add counter-productive in the long run...

ZoSo
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