Dharma Project: Return of Cocoa for Windows?

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
An anonymous person claiming beeing "in the know" has posted the following on the French " target="_blank">MacGeneration forum (due to NDA restrictions related to US), but in English langage (2nd December):

Quote:

Dear Mr *********,



I know you don't do rumors anymore, but this one is huge. The Mac community is well aware that Apple going Intel is a two-sided sword.

The Mac platform has a lot to win from this audacious move, but a lot to lose, too. In fact, Steve Job's company know that they are about to face the dreaded 'OS/2 effect', which means, as you know it, that binary compatibility, which can be achieved through little or no effort thanks to the WINE framework. In its time, OS/2 was a technically superior OS to Windows 3, but IBM made the tactical mistake to let Microsoft (who were working with them at the time) add a Win16 compatibility layer to OS/2. As we all know today, OS/2 didn't succeed commercially and many attribute this failure to the fact that programmers didn't made the effort to port their application to OS/2's native API, but just relied on its ability to run unmodified Windows 16-bit binaries.



Jobs is well aware of the risk and, as soon as he decided to revive the dormant OS X-on-Intel 'Marklar' project, launched a parallel project (now known internally as 'Dharma') of reviving (here's the big thing)... The Yellow Box for Windows. As you probably know it, the Yellow Box for Windows was NeXT's project of porting Project Builder (known as Xcode today) and the complete NeXT API (known as Cocoa today) to Windows, allowing developers to create a Windows binary by simply ticking a check box. Rings a bell? Yes, it IS what they _always_ meant by 'Universal Binaries'. Truly universal.



Why bother? That's simple. By giving those powerful development tools for free, Apple and Jobs hope to give Windows developer a competing alternative to Microsoft's Visual Studio and thus 'contaminate' the Windows environment with Mac-compatible, objective-C applications, instead of letting WINE do just the reverse.



As an example of the power of the Dharma project, Apple has ported Safari to Windows and an internal build of Apple's browser (2.0.2, v.417.108 ) actually runs on Windows (XP required), complete with Quartz anti-aliasing. It is reported to be fairly stable, even if the Java and Flash plugins still aren't working, due to their dependency to third-party code. Apple plan to release the Windows version of its browser for free. In fact, this one was easy to do since they had to port WebKit in order for the Cocoa framework to be complete.



Now you can ask why I give you this information, and not to another website, and that's fair enough. The reason is quite simple, actually. Some of the information I give you in this mail are strictly confidential (and I mean strictly), and the DMCA would prevent a US-based site to reveal them. Freedom of speech is not what it used to be in the US (although I'm an Italian from Canada myself). I trust you enough that you won't try tracing me and anonymize my mail (you'll understand that I used a fake name for this). The other reason is that the team in charge of the development of the Dharma project is... French. In fact, Bertrand 'Mad Eye' Serlet, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering is the lead of this project and Apple France's engineers (of iCal and iSync fame) are in charge of it.



It is to be announced the very day when the first Intel Apple computer is commercially launched.



Sincerely,



John Locke, somewhere near Hawaii



Then this has been quoted into an article on MacRumors, 7th December.

All is said in his post. This could be an enormous strike toward Microsoft. With Cocoa for Windows made available for XP (and Vista), Cocoa "Universal Binaries" would become truly universal: You check another case in Xcode, and you have the same application package working on Mac OS X PPC, Mac OS X for Intel, and Windows XP/Vista.



The guy made obvious hints to the "Lost" TV series (John Locke, Hawaii, the Dharma Project). It could be because this rumor is total BS, or it could be some pun around a real Apple codename "Dharma".



About the project name. "Dharma" is Buddha's teachings as a whole. Dharma is also in Buddhism the balance of good and bad actions you make, which will act on the conditions of your future rebirth. This is normally an individual notion but it can be sometimes extrapolated to a whole people sharing a common Dharma, thus a common Destiny. Dharma is symbolized by a wheel (the dharmacakra, and Buddha's first sermon is often assimilated to the swinging of the Wheel of Law (dharmacakrapravartana).
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    I could believe it, but I'm not sure what impact it would really have. I don't really see many Windows developers saying "OK we're now going to do all our development on the Mac."
  • Reply 2 of 30
    screedscreed Posts: 1,077member
    That bit about Safari intrigues me. It would be a good proof of concept. It wouldn't run into driver issues that, say, iPhoto or iMovie might encounter.



    Would this imply there's a Cocoa version of iTunes in Cupertino?
  • Reply 3 of 30
    screedscreed Posts: 1,077member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BRussell

    I could believe it, but I'm not sure what impact it would really have. I don't really see many Windows developers saying "OK we're now going to do all our development on the Mac."



    "Flipping" developers would come last in the master plan. The primary goal is to flip consumers (the other 95%) to buy the hardware because that's where the real margins are. iPods/iTunes/iTMS have done a lot. The next phase would be to sell lots and lots of iLife for Windows boxes.
  • Reply 4 of 30
    Quote:

    Originally posted by sCreeD

    The next phase would be to sell lots and lots of iLife for Windows boxes.



    This is an interesting idea.



    If Apple can (and they can) get their application development "platform" running well on Windows, there is nothing to preclude them from providing Windows versions of all their apps.



    iLife

    iWork

    iCal

    Mail?



    Why not?



    Turn the table a bit.



    On the other hand, this could just be a "bet hedging" move much like OS X for Intel was. Smart business.
  • Reply 5 of 30
    fahlmanfahlman Posts: 726member
    Someone explain to my why a Windows compatibility layer would be bad for Apple and the Macintosh platform. Unless I'm not thinking clearly you would still have to 1) buy an Apple Macintosh, and 2) be running a version of OS X 10.4.X or greater. If anything it would increase the possibility of people purchasing a Mac because they can still run that one or two applications that locks them in to Windows but avoid all the pitfalls of Windows: Viruses, Adware, Spyware, security holes, greater instability. Someone explain Apple's gain buy supplying Yellow Box so they can give away free applications like Safari, iCal, iTunes, Mail, etc? Unless Apple greatly improves Pages and Keynote, adds a spreadsheet, I don't think they will replace Microsoft Office. People just won't make the change because they can. Heck, it's tough enough to get people to make the switch to a superior application let alone a equal application.
  • Reply 6 of 30
    Quote:

    Originally posted by fahlman

    Someone explain to my why a Windows compatibility layer would be bad for Apple and the Macintosh platform.



    The theory is that developers would have no reasons to develop native OS X applications if they could develop for Windows (95% of the market) and it can also run (unchanged) on OS X (via the compatibility layer). OS X dies a slow death. Often referred to as the "OS/2 effect" (see also: "Osbourne effect" as it relates to Apple's Intel transition.)



    Quote:

    Originally posted by fahlman

    Someone explain Apple's gain buy supplying Yellow Box so they can give away free applications like Safari, iCal, iTunes, Mail, etc? Unless Apple greatly improves Pages and Keynote, adds a spreadsheet, I don't think they will replace Microsoft Office.



    First we don't know if Apple would give anything away. They give away iTunes to try and sell iPods. But the others, who knows. They certainly sell iLife and could possibly be salivating at the possibility of selling 5M copies to Windows users vs. say 1M to Mac users. Regarding iWork, first it is much cheaper than Office. Second, it has a place/user/market/customer. It might not be the same as Office, but it meets the needs of some users. Plus, well, it is only like a 1.0 product.
  • Reply 7 of 30
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by fahlman

    Someone explain to my why a Windows compatibility layer would be bad for Apple and the Macintosh platform.



    Just to be clear about the topic of this thread, Cocoa for Windows is not the same as having Windows run on Macs. It's closer to the opposite: Getting your Mac apps to run on Windows.
  • Reply 8 of 30
    fahlmanfahlman Posts: 726member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Chris Cuilla

    The theory is that developers would have no reasons to develop native OS X applications if they could develop for Windows (95% of the market) and it can also run (unchanged) on OS X (via the compatibility layer). OS X dies a slow death. Often referred to as the "OS/2 effect" (see also: "Osbourne effect" as it relates to Apple's Intel transition.)



    The current situation is very different than the OS/2 situation. Apple already has an established OS with a lot of developer support, something OS/2 didn't have. And Apple has already convinced many people to purchase a more expensive computer (and more people every day) to use what many people believe is a superior OS. People didn't switch to OS/2 because it wasn't compelling enough. It ran on the old box Windows ran on and ran all the same applications Windows ran. The internet and security, stability, and it's appearance are a few of the reasons people are switching to Macintosh. Being able to run an Windows application without having to run Windows all the time is just another plus.
  • Reply 9 of 30
    screedscreed Posts: 1,077member
    Random bits because I can't bring them together cohesively.



    Re: Osbourne effect - OS X is its own selling point. What's a virus? What's spyware? Four years, nine months and counting...



    Apple's dependence (insistence? stance?) on OpenGL would have an interesting effect on a platform that's trying to push it off a cliff in exchange for DirectX.



    iMovie for Windows = resurgence of Firewire on Wintel boxes



    iPhoto for Windows = digital camera manufacturers, instead of writing/bundling horrendously bad photo apps in-house, essentially hand the keys over to Apple and bundle iPhoto (akin to iTunes::iPods)



    iWork - Wow, forgotten about that. A clear shot across the bow of the S.S. Redmond... assuming they can make a decent spreadsheet app for 2.0
  • Reply 10 of 30
    Quote:

    Originally posted by fahlman

    The current situation is very different than the OS/2 situation. Apple already has an established OS with a lot of developer support, something OS/2 didn't have. And Apple has already convinced many people to purchase a more expensive computer (and more people every day) to use what many people believe is a superior OS. People didn't switch to OS/2 because it wasn't compelling enough. It ran on the old box Windows ran on and ran all the same applications Windows ran. The internet and security, stability, and it's appearance are a few of the reasons people are switching to Macintosh. Being able to run an Windows application without having to run Windows all the time is just another plus.



    This is quite true. The circumstances are quite different (as with the "Osbourne effect" comparisons and the iPod to Mac comparisons). The players are different too. We have an older, wiser Steve now-a-days.
  • Reply 11 of 30
    fahlmanfahlman Posts: 726member
    The installed based of non-Mactels will force developers to write universal binary, native OS X applications for the next decade. Something else OS/2 didn't have. No concern here.
  • Reply 12 of 30
    Quote:

    Originally posted by fahlman

    The installed based of non-Mactels will force developers to write universal binary, native OS X applications for the next decade. Something else OS/2 didn't have. No concern here.



    I wouldn't say no concern (as with the "Osbourne effect") but I think it is largely mitigated by the things you've pointed out.
  • Reply 13 of 30
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,221member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by sCreeD

    Random bits because I can't bring them together cohesively.



    Re: Osbourne effect - OS X is its own selling point. What's a virus? What's spyware? Four years, nine months and counting...




    Apple sells MacOS X based on its own merits, not as a counterweight to Windows. If Apple releases Cocoa for Windows, I don't see this changing.

    Quote:

    Originally posted by sCreeD

    Apple's dependence (insistence? stance?) on OpenGL would have an interesting effect on a platform that's trying to push it off a cliff in exchange for DirectX.



    The choice of OpenGL vs. DirectX is made by the game developers, not the OS vendors. If a developer is not using OpenGL now, why would it change.

    Quote:

    Originally posted by sCreeD

    iMovie for Windows = resurgence of Firewire on Wintel boxes



    I think that you need to get over this obsession with the survival of FireWire. FireWire is an integral part of the HDTV landscape. HDTV equipment sales are going through the roof. With it, the number of available FireWire ports is skyrocketing.

    Quote:

    Originally posted by sCreeD

    iPhoto for Windows = digital camera manufacturers, instead of writing/bundling horrendously bad photo apps in-house, essentially hand the keys over to Apple and bundle iPhoto (akin to iTunes::iPods)



    Have you every connected an iPhoto-compatible camera to a Windows XP computer? If you had, you would know that you don't need the "horrendously bad photo apps" to get your photographs. Downloading your pictures is handled by a Windows utility. You need one of those bad apps only if you have a cheap-a$$ camera whose manufacturer refuses to support the USB automount feature. My experience with such cameras is that they use non-removeable storage so that card readers are useless with them.

    Quote:

    Originally posted by sCreeD

    [BiWork - Wow, forgotten about that. A clear shot across the bow of the S.S. Redmond... assuming they can make a decent spreadsheet app for 2.0 [/B]



    Now get this: iWork does not compete with anything that Microsoft offers for the Mac. Well, Keynote is a superior replacement for PowerPoint, but Apple makes nothing to compete with Word and nothing to compete with Excel. iWork is geared toward the home and school user whereas Office is geared toward users in the--well--office.
  • Reply 14 of 30
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Mr. Me

    Now get this: iWork does not compete with anything that Microsoft offers for the Mac. Well, Keynote is a superior replacement for PowerPoint, but Apple makes nothing to compete with Word and nothing to compete with Excel. iWork is geared toward the home and school user whereas Office is geared toward users in the--well--office.



    What you say is true but I would add the following:



    1. Keynote clearly signals Apple's intentions.



    2. These products are very early in their lifecycle and not that shabby for a first try.



    3. A spreadsheet ("Cells") is rumored for iWork 2 in January. We'll see of course.
  • Reply 15 of 30
    rtxrtx Posts: 23member
    Isn't it odd that this would come from the French group? I thought that team was small--iCal and iSync aren't anything close to this scale.



    Regardless, why NOT do this? The risk seems small, and it could be a boon to OS X developers.
  • Reply 16 of 30
    dave k.dave k. Posts: 1,306member
    I can't see Apple porting iLife, iWork, Safari, iCal, etc. to the Windows platform through a "Yellowbox" environment unless they want to exit the hardware business.



    Why would anyone want to buy a Mac when they can run great Apple software on their Wintel boxes?



    Just my two cents.



    Dave
  • Reply 17 of 30
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Dave K.

    I can't see Apple porting iLife, iWork, Safari, iCal, etc. to the Windows platform through a "Yellowbox" environment unless they want to exit the hardware business.



    Why would anyone want to buy a Mac when they can run great Apple software on their Wintel boxes?



    Just my two cents.



    Dave




    Well, I would say they would but it because of the vastly superior OS. When I made the switch it was completely based on the OS not the apple software. Once Wintel users see the simplicity and user-friendliness of Apple software they may be intrigued to at least give OS X a try, and I'll bet ya once they do they never turn back

  • Reply 18 of 30
    telomartelomar Posts: 1,804member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Dave K.

    I can't see Apple porting iLife, iWork, Safari, iCal, etc. to the Windows platform through a "Yellowbox" environment unless they want to exit the hardware business.



    Why would anyone want to buy a Mac when they can run great Apple software on their Wintel boxes?



    Just my two cents.



    Dave




    I doubt you'll see them port all their iApps. This would be aimed at helping developers. Steve Balmer was right when he jumped up on stage and started chanting developers. That's what it's all about. Having an environment that allows you to develop for the largest market and a secondary market in one hit can be very attractive, especially if it is a nice developing environment.
  • Reply 19 of 30
    toweltowel Posts: 1,479member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Telomar

    I doubt you'll see them port all their iApps. This would be aimed at helping developers. Steve Balmer was right when he jumped up on stage and started chanting developers. That's what it's all about. Having an environment that allows you to develop for the largest market and a secondary market in one hit can be very attractive, especially if it is a nice developing environment.



    Bingo. Especially developers in specialty and niche markets, like many Apple used to have a stranglehold on.



    For example, biology. Macintosh used to be the platform for molecular biologists, thanks to an array of innovative and easy-to-use graphical apps that first debuted on the Mac. But starting in the mid-90s the developers gradually drifted to Windows, and many users followed. With OSX, you're already seeing a handful drift back, and YellowBox for Windows will help bring many more over. Personally, I would love to be able to code my data analysis app on OSX, for OSX, and yet give myself a bigger market by letting users run my app on Windows.
  • Reply 20 of 30
    dave k.dave k. Posts: 1,306member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by brclark82

    Well, I would say they would but it because of the vastly superior OS. When I made the switch it was completely based on the OS not the apple software. Once Wintel users see the simplicity and user-friendliness of Apple software they may be intrigued to at least give OS X a try, and I'll bet ya once they do they never turn back





    Hasn't really worked in the past did it? Quicktime, AppleWorks, and iTunes didn't bring more to the Mac.
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