Apple opens developer forums to Snow Leopard discussion

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Signaling an new open approach to its operating system development plans, Apple has announced new threads for discussing the forthcoming Mac OS X Snow Leopard operating system on the developer forums available to Apple Developer Connection Premier and Select members.



Availability of the new forums is a significant shift from its existing, highly restrictive policy that has in general prohibited all of its developers from talking about the features and technologies related to its unannounced operating system, even to other developers bound to the same Non-Disclosure Agreements.



Apple has recently relaxed its developer policy in connection with iPhone development, easing the paranoia that had kept book authors and teachers interested in sponsoring iPhone development classes on edge.



The new move to not just allow developers to share their ideas and experiences with each other, but to actually provide an official forum for discussing the features of the unreleased new operating system, comes as welcome news to companies who can both benefit from and contribute to the discussions about Apple's latest software.



The developer forums won't be available to the public, nor to student developers, but only to members of Apple's Premier and Select developer programs, who also have access to the developer seed releases. Apple describes the forums as being in beta, a curious concept given that the company has operated forums on other topics for many years.



In a mailing to its developer program members, Apple said the new developer forums will "provide a collaborative environment to post Mac OS X Snow Leopard development topics and questions for an open discussion with other Mac developers and Apple engineers."



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 80
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,298member
    "open"?





    Sure if you've got 500 dollars minimum. Microsoft is allowing people to download Beta and RC releases of Windows 7 to test it out. That's open.



    I would expect Select and Premier developers to be able to discuss an OS they're supposed to have their applications ready for.



    The secrecy thing is getting a bit old Apple.
  • Reply 2 of 80
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    So what are the repercussions against someone copying the discussions and 'leaking' them to the general public? Seems like Pandora's Box to me.



    Not that I support Apple's (in)famous secrecy either...
  • Reply 3 of 80
    addicted44addicted44 Posts: 822member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    "open"?

    Sure if you've got 500 dollars minimum. Microsoft is allowing people to download Beta and RC releases of Windows 7 to test it out. That's open.

    .



    This is less about secrecy (just because they are paying $500 does not make them less likely to release information) but more about reducing noise.



    What is the purpose of a Beta? Its to improve a product before it is actually released. Unlike MS, Apple does not have unlimited engineering resources (don't forget how little money Apple makes from OS X, the S/W as compared to MS) and so restricting these forums to the "serious few" still gives them enough usage to find most problems, but greatly limits worthless feedback (FTFF!).
  • Reply 4 of 80
    istinkistink Posts: 250member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post


    This is less about secrecy (just because they are paying $500 does not make them less likely to release information) but more about reducing noise.



    What is the purpose of a Beta? Its to improve a product before it is actually released. Unlike MS, Apple does not have unlimited engineering resources (don't forget how little money Apple makes from OS X, the S/W as compared to MS) and so restricting these forums to the "serious few" still gives them enough usage to find most problems, but greatly limits worthless feedback (FTFF!).



    Generally for something like this, the more testers there are, the better. If Apple can make money off it, they will do so, plain and simple.
  • Reply 5 of 80
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,298member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post


    This is less about secrecy (just because they are paying $500 does not make them less likely to release information) but more about reducing noise.



    What is the purpose of a Beta? Its to improve a product before it is actually released. Unlike MS, Apple does not have unlimited engineering resources (don't forget how little money Apple makes from OS X, the S/W as compared to MS) and so restricting these forums to the "serious few" still gives them enough usage to find most problems, but greatly limits worthless feedback (FTFF!).



    I wish this were the case. However, as good as Leopard is I believe it's pretty far from being a fantastic OS.



    1. Applications stall too much and beach ball.

    2. Contextual menus end up cluttered with stuff you don't want from 3rd parties

    3. The UI is a bit cobbled together.

    4. No decent notification system

    5. No uninstaller

    6. Niggling things like the OS forgetting finder window settings sometimes



    Consumers simply want a better OS. The wow factor for OS is pretty much at its zenith. Apple needs to get the message that the whole "shhhhhhhh we're working on something weally seekrit" is pretty much played out.



    Developers don't get to talk about the new OS so therefore consumers don't fully understand the changes and the ramifications of the new changes. Apple's milked this cow long enough.
  • Reply 6 of 80
    abster2coreabster2core Posts: 2,501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dlux View Post


    So what are the repercussions against someone copying the discussions and 'leaking' them to the general public? Seems like Pandora's Box to me.



    Not that I support Apple's (in)famous secrecy either...



    Loosing their privileges! And most possibly a law suit. In any event, I don't know of any developer that would put themselves in jeopardy by such illegal action.



    As Apple has made it quite clear?"Please note that unreleased software and features will remain under NDA until they are released."
  • Reply 7 of 80
    doughboydoughboy Posts: 47member
    I know that Apple does dabble in open-source projects, like WebKit, but do you think that Apple would consider open-sourcing a few of its apps and/or technologies, like maybe Preview/PDFKit? Maybe Apple could test the developer reaction to see if there is any benefit. Heck, what about open-sourcing Calculator? LOL
  • Reply 8 of 80
    abster2coreabster2core Posts: 2,501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    I wish this were the case. However, as good as Leopard is I believe it's pretty far from being a fantastic OS.



    1. Applications stall too much and beach ball.

    2. Contextual menus end up cluttered with stuff you don't want from 3rd parties

    3. The UI is a bit cobbled together.

    4. No decent notification system

    5. No uninstaller

    6. Niggling things like the OS forgetting finder window settings sometimes



    Consumers simply want a better OS. The wow factor for OS is pretty much at its zenith. Apple needs to get the message that the whole "shhhhhhhh we're working on something weally seekrit" is pretty much played out.



    Developers don't get to talk about the new OS so therefore consumers don't fully understand the changes and the ramifications of the new changes. Apple's milked this cow long enough.



    And you have come to your conclusions based on what?



    As a developer, we don't gab about what we are doing or what or for whom we are testing. In fact we are very tight lipped, seldom participate in open conferences and share very little if any.



    I would suggest that you know SFA about about what we or consumers really want.
  • Reply 9 of 80
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,298member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post


    I would suggest that you know SFA about about what we or consumers really want.



    Well then come to Seattle and kick my ass then man. If you can't do that then crawl back in your hole ...get to progamming and keep your suggestions to yourself. It's as simple as that.
  • Reply 10 of 80
    nace33nace33 Posts: 94member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Well then come to Seattle and kick my ass then man. If you can't do that then crawl back in your hole ...get to progamming and keep your suggestions to yourself. It's as simple as that.



    By reducing your arguments to threats, you have exposed your limit on brain activity.
  • Reply 11 of 80
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post


    I would suggest that you know SFA about about what we or consumers really want.



    Why are you a developer if your end-user is marginalized? If you're writing solely for yourself, then it really shouldn't matter what an end-user would want, but why go off on someone, probably one of the said consumers, for expressing his or her opinion on the status quo?
  • Reply 12 of 80
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post


    Loosing [sic] their privileges! And most possibly a law suit. In any event, I don't know of any developer that would put themselves in jeopardy by such illegal action.



    That much is a given. But copying discussion text (or even paraphrasing it) and then passing it through intermediary channels (often overseas) seems like it will be difficult to prevent, and the original leaker(s) may never get revealed. (Look how long 'Deep Throat' of Watergate fame kept his identity secret.)



    I'm not endorsing or condemning this, but it seems that this is going to occur a lot more frequently now that the discussions between developers has opened up a bit. I have to assume that Apple understands this, and may feel the tradeoff - in their mind - is worth it.
  • Reply 13 of 80
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,298member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nace33 View Post


    By reducing your arguments to threats, you have exposed your limit on brain activity.



    That's false.



    Fear is the best motivator ever created. The proverbial question is "is it better to be loved or feared?" and the answer is feared. It lasts longer.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by azcodemonkey


    Why are you a developer if your end-user is marginalized? If you're writing solely for yourself, then it really shouldn't matter what an end-user would want, but why go off on someone, probably one of the said consumers, for expressing his or her opinion on the status quo?



    He doesn't like me which is why he gave me the snarky response but you bring up a good point. The developer and end user always need to form a symbiotic relationship. Both are coming from different paradigms. Few are the people that can take what is essentially human unreadable code (for many), plug it into a IDE or application then send it to a compiler to spit out a working app and do it well. The mindset it must take to visualize and then complete even a fairly basic app is beyond many. However, the end user is golden for providing data about how they "expect" an app to work.



    How many times have we Mac users had to go through this.



    "ok to unmount that drive just drag it to the trash"



    "but I don't want to delete my files!"



    "oh no you won't it will just unmount the drive"



    "well then why am I dragging it to the trash?"



    As a Mac user we have learned the idiosyncrasies of our platform and we only relive them when we're teaching someone who has never used a computer before. You as developers have to work in a paradigm that is illogical from a human standpoint thus having a lot of contact with your end users is important for instilling that "human touch" back into your work.



    I believe Apple has good focus groups and generally they hit with a high usability factor for their apps but how many times have we had to blast them over taking out functionality and replacing it with an inferior method (like the initial Stacks which didn't support hierarchical navigation)
  • Reply 14 of 80
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,745member
    LOL at this thread.



    Ah well . . . anyway, this idea from Apple seems alright for the time being. I've always been a proponent of their "secrecy" approach - good for not giving away your hand and killing the hype too early. It's great for buildup and keeps the most of the "beta tester" population (the kiddie part) away from the OS and cuts down on the whining.



    But, having said that, this will be good for businesses and IT personnel who woud want to prepare the ground for some form of OS X deployment. At least, that's my assumption.
  • Reply 15 of 80
    parkyparky Posts: 383member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    That's false.



    Fear is the best motivator ever created. The proverbial question is "is it better to be loved or feared?" and the answer is feared. It lasts longer.



    What a very sad individual you must be.



    Fear is not the way forward.

    We live in the bad world we do because of attitudes of selfish people like you.
  • Reply 16 of 80
    parkyparky Posts: 383member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    "open"?





    Sure if you've got 500 dollars minimum. Microsoft is allowing people to download Beta and RC releases of Windows 7 to test it out. That's open.



    I would expect Select and Premier developers to be able to discuss an OS they're supposed to have their applications ready for.



    The secrecy thing is getting a bit old Apple.



    When you are running Apple you can do what you like, until then, leave it to the experts.
  • Reply 17 of 80
    benroethigbenroethig Posts: 2,782member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    "open"?





    Sure if you've got 500 dollars minimum. Microsoft is allowing people to download Beta and RC releases of Windows 7 to test it out. That's open.



    I would expect Select and Premier developers to be able to discuss an OS they're supposed to have their applications ready for.



    The secrecy thing is getting a bit old Apple.



    Apple has done the beta thing before. They really haven't had any reason lately. None of the OSX division have been radically different and they haven't screwed it up like Microsoft did with Vista. Microsoft has 7 out there as a beta as a way to redeem their image.
  • Reply 18 of 80
    _rick_v__rick_v_ Posts: 141member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    I wish this were the case. However, as good as Leopard is I believe it's pretty far from being a fantastic OS.



    1. Applications stall too much and beach ball.

    2. Contextual menus end up cluttered with stuff you don't want from 3rd parties

    3. The UI is a bit cobbled together.

    4. No decent notification system

    5. No uninstaller

    6. Niggling things like the OS forgetting finder window settings sometimes




    1. Apps stall: really?! I honestly never experience this, and I routinely use several Macs. Check out AppleJack, and run it in manual mode (not automatic, because in automatic mode it cannot clear caches in your user profile). I've recommended this to several friends after they've complained about similar problems, and all claim it turned their machine around.



    That said, I think the OS needs to strive to eliminate "user-maintenance" issues. Mac is much better than Windows, in that regard, but not yet perfect.



    2. Contextual Menus: Again, nothing here. Only "extra" contextual menu I have is what I intentionally installed. Makes me curious what you're installing that's also including this "extra".



    3. Cobbled together UI: I agree with you here. I've argued for a looong time that Apple needs to make their UI consistent. Drives me crazy. I'm hoping Snow Leopard fixes that.



    4. Notification: you mean like Growl? Having that built-in (so developers can count on it being there) would be cool.



    5. Uninstaller: I disagree with you here. I see all those uninstaller utilities and don't get the point. The most a majority of apps leave behind is a .plist file and maybe some cache. Who cares? A much ado about nothing. It doesn't slow your machine down, and uses next-to-no-space. Windows on the other hand...



    6. niggling things: Yeah agrre, there are always niggling things...
  • Reply 19 of 80
    rogue27rogue27 Posts: 607member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    That's false.



    Fear is the best motivator ever created. The proverbial question is "is it better to be loved or feared?" and the answer is feared. It lasts longer.



    I really shouldn't get into this conversation, but I have to point out the obvious...



    I don't think you actually scared anybody.







    On topic: It's nice that Apple is loosening their restrictions. How that compares to the way MS develops their software is irrelevant. I just hope the finished product is fast, solid, and free of irritating quirks. I doubt that a public beta would be a means to achieving that end.
  • Reply 20 of 80
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,298member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by parky View Post


    What a very sad individual you must be.



    Fear is not the way forward.

    We live in the bad world we do because of attitudes of selfish people like you.



    When you are running Apple you can do what you like, until then, leave it to the experts.




    Hey I only offered my opinon on the state of Apple's "open" attitude towards information about beta OS X versions. I think consumer opinion is a vital piece of information but they have their own views.



    Without straying too far off topic parky can you honestly say that you follow the law to the letter because you feel it's the right thing to do morally or are you afraid of the resultant punative damages you may face by getting cited for an infraction. I believe humans want to follow free will but there is no universal free will and thus laws must be made and punishments must be levied if the laws are broken. I've seen studies that show babies win an innate fear of height (you know the one where they put babies on glass covered cubes and the babies tend to follow the cubes and avoid the gaps). Just falling once is enough to generate fear that causes a change in behavior. Fascinating stuff really.
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