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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I talked with Arlo Rose, the developer of Konfabulator, about Apple having copied Konfabulator to make the Dashboard in OS X 10.4 "Tiger". Among other things, he explains why he's annoyed it's Apple:

<blockquote>"If this were Macromedia, I'd have not been upset but it's the company that develops the operating system, and they're giving it away with every copy of the OS. It's as if Safeway decided to start giving away its groceries and charging a fee to enter the building."</blockquote>

http://www.geekpatrol.ca/archives/2004/06/28/specialpatrolarlo.php

Feel free to post comments there and here.
 

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i find this move by apple incredibly distasteful.

one can argue there were previously konfabulator-like programs - however this is clearly apple acting in bad faith. they saw konfabulator in action, thought it was neat, and copied everything about it - right down to the appearance (although i think apple's widgets are more garish - perhaps this was to avoid copyright problems?).

bad apple. :mad: and their six thousand dollar display isn't all that sh^t hot, either. i mean it would be, except that it's six thousand bucks.
 

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Apple's job is to make the OS better, so I don't think it was wrong for them to create a part of the OS that resembles Konfabulator, remember MS copies almost everything Apple does. I'm not saying that is an excuse for Apple I'm just saying that that is the way things go. Apple is in the Software and Hardware business the quality of the software helps them sell hardware, I didn't see anyone crying foul when iMovie came out I mean poor Adobe I'm sure sales of premiere suffered heavily on the mac(which they obviously did since there is no more premiere updates on the Mac).

I think the only solution for the guy who made Konfabulator is to make it better than Dashboard, its called competition and it is actually good for the software industry, quite frankly I hope Konfabulator becomes even better than Dashboard and hopefully pushes the software to be better and better. Competition is good! Let the race begin!

Just for the record I think Apple should have tried to buy Konfabulator or at least offered the guys who created it a job developing it, I think Dashboard has a lot of catching up to do before it becomes as good as Konfabulator.

So are you guys going to Boycott OS 10.4?
 

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I've said it before in another thread, but I'll reiterate here:

Konfabulator is not an original idea; It's been done before [WindowMaker and GKrellm] -- well before it was released. The fact that both Dashboard and Konfabulator both use Javascript is moot -- it's not proprietary. People are pissed that Apple has made some[thing] that "looks" like Konfabulator despite that the "glassy-style" graphics that their widgets typically (not always) follow are a direct influence from Apple's Aqua GUI and Icon styles.

Apple also has had a similar idea of "desktop" micro-applications, when OS X was being developed, called Docklets (or something to that effect) not to mention Apple's Clock and microphone applications are a general embodiment of what Konfabulator -- "floating application" that lived on the screen or desktop. You could say Konfabulator was born from those ideas... but people fail to see the connection.

Frankly, I've never really thought Konfabulator was (up until now) a truly usable application -- if only because it cluttered your screen. Now that they've added Konsposé, they've addressed an issue that I initially had problems with.

Anyway, there's a reason why Konfabulator won't sue Apple -- they can't. Why? Because there is nothing inherently original about their software or unique to call their own (or patent). What they did manage to do is create a very strong product that otherwise has lived in obscurity on other platforms and has created a brand awareness so strong that people will always associate Konfabulator as the "widget" application.

I'm looking forward to see what advances the Konfabulator team makes in the coming year.
 

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Props to MannyP.

I feel badly for the makers of Konfabulator but I don't think their idea was original. There are many examples of the same idea implemented in different OSes including Mac System 6. Despite arguments otherwise, these are similar ideas manifested within the functionality of the computers and OSes of their time. If Konfabulator was entirely novel, then I'd expect Apple to have made a deal with them, as a matter of good business practice with their developer community, BUT they would not have been obliged to.

The issue skirts closely to that of patenting software. It's a bad idea, it stifles innovation. So now Konfabulator has some competition and things are going to get tough. The developers may handle it well and come out with a better product wether it be integrated with Dashboard or provide "killer" functionality that Dashboard does not.

While few of us have had the chance to try out Dashboard as it is now, and nobody knows how it will turn out in a year when 10.4 is released, it sure looks like Konfabulator has Dashboard beat in functionality and implementation. Who knows, this could even be a good thing for the developers, Dashboard may act like and advertisement for Konfabulator, showing people how great the idea of these mini-apps is. Think of all those geeks that are going to tell their friends or msg board companions that if they like this or that aspect of Dashboard, well, you'll love Konfabulator. It's like Dashboard on steroids.

Most of Apple's software which seems to compete with 3rd party developers, while slick, often falls short on desirable features, in fact looking though your application folder you'll find many apps from Apple that have 3rd party antecedents which continue to exist based on providing some functionality that Apple doesn't implement. And that functionality is often "obvious" or "easy". They do it on purpose -- provide just enough useful and cool stuff out of the box to be better than "that other platform" and if the user wants more, well there is likely a similar 3rd party app that does it.
 

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Notice the "widgets" in the original Desk Accessories? Clock, puzzle game, stickies and calculator.

 

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Personally, I am disappointed in Apple, just like I was about the Watson - Sherlock thing a couple of years ago.

While the general ideas may not have been totally original, the way that Apple implimented them was as close to a blatant rip-off as you can get from the features to the look and feel.

I agree this sends a very bad message to their developers. Apple has no problem eating their young.

I guess I am naive to think that Apple has better principals and ideals than Microsoft.

In my opinion the developers of both Watson and Konfabulator should have been compensated for their hard work. What Apple did eats their lunch.

By the way Apple just seems to have ignored Sherlock. What a waste.

Didn't Apple buy that audio program (sorry don't recall the name) that they turned into iTunes. I believe the original developer was even given a job at Apple. That's the way it SHOULD work. The idea of MP3 music players was not original afterall, but Apple handled it right, they handled it with class.

It is so ironic when Steve talks about good karma.

B
 

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Personally, I am disappointed in Apple, just like I was about the Watson - Sherlock thing a couple of years ago.
You know, there was an application for Windows about 10 years ago called Copernic that originally started out a lot like Watson/Sherlock -- but was around prior to their release (image -- you can see they're GUI approach is very Windows-like). Again, another idea that has been visited and revisited by various people/companies but only expanded upon. The whole thing is nothing more than a glorified search engine that eliminates the middle-man (sorry -- middleperson ;) ). Yahoo has been allowing people to search the web for stock quotes, air fares, maps, offering definitions to words, etc. -- I don't see them chastizing karelia for stealing their idea.


I won't go into how certain companies are utilizing Apple's web look and feel. ;)

All of this negative reaction to new interpretations of Apple's software is getting ridiculous. Seriously, do you think Adobe was the first to ever create Photo software? How about Alias's Maya? Perhaps Avid should have leave the video editing market?

Come on folks... should we be really posting on a UBB, or perhaps the original version? :D

I'll get the thumbtacks.
 

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I'm surprised at Apple. What better way to piss off your developers? What would it have cost to have bought out Konfabulator, even if it was rewritten from the ground up? Some decisions you make are based on fanancials, other are based on doing the right thing. Konfabulator demonstrated a market and Apple coat-tailed it. Disappointing and very Microsoft-esque.
 

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I agree with used to be jwoodget. Well said.

Manny, I respect your opinion, but I couldn't disagree more.

The problem that I have with Apple is that the way it is implimented is pretty much IDENTICAL not just feature wise, but the whole feel and user experience. Not to mention it pounds a stake through the heart of one of their own developers.

As fas as Apple's developers using Apples look and feel, THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT APPLE WANTS. That is one of the things that has made the Mac such a great platform. It keeps you in familiar territory regardless of what application that you are using. At one time Apple were very strict ensuring their developers follow Apple's guidelines. A good move in my opinion.

Just as used to be jwoodget pointed out it would not have cost Apple much at all to just buy the stuff and then encorporate it into the OS. That would send a good message to their developers. Do you really think that the Watson, Konfabulator thing does not bother the small developers?

I simply think Apple could have handle these situations much better than they did.
 

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I can see how this would disturb Konfabulator proponents, but since I don't use it, I fail to see these widgits as anything more than more screen crap imposing itself in "my workspace"

Exposee is a minor feature that screws up application level f-key functions.

The last thing I need is more ways for the OS to interfere with my real work. Tiger better have a lot more to offer... I'm not impressed yet...

But I need to read more about it, I'll admit.

Stealing Ideas lookes bad enough, recreating them poorly looks stupid.
 

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The user feel and experience are part and parcel to the look of the graphics -- which owe a great deal to Apple's Aqua look which Konfabulator has borrowed a great deal from.

Dashboard upon first look, appears to be similar, however upon viewing Apple's QT movies, they actually work a great deal differently. In fact, the widgets they show are all previously existing programs -- Calendar, Calculator, Clock, etc.; they also move and interact differently -- things that can be attributed to the feel and experience.

These "features" you refer to all have existed in one form or another (in some cases Konfabulator themselves have "borrowed") -- now including Exposé. As I noted above, there were other older software applications that Konfabulator borrowed, heavily I might add, from.

People also seem to be fixated on Apple's use of "widget". Where were these people when the term "plug-in" was coined? Adobe uses it. So does Microsoft, Avid, Apple, Netscape/AOL, and a host of other companies.

P.S. An application that I've just recently come across, Desktop X, was released in 2001. Odd... don't ya think since Konfabulator was released in 2003 [development started July 30, 2002]? ;) And they have Widgets too!



[edit: fixed link; added date]

[ June 29, 2004, 12:27 PM: Message edited by: « MannyP Design » ]
 

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Well, I am grudgingly yet respectfully agreeing with Manny, here. Konfabulator didn't INVENT an app that facilitates the use of applications that are plugins, themselves. And, there's no rule that says that Apple has to buy Konfabulator -- who adapted previously existing technology -- in order for Apple to do the same. And YES, as much as this would alienate some developers (and that's NEVER a good thing), Apple's Dashboard does offer refinements superior to konfabulator. For example, accessing a widget's preferences is kinda clunky -- ESPECIALLY if you do so via the Konfabulator menu. Apple's flip-the-widget approach is MUCH better. So is the fact that you can hide the widgets, a la Exposé. So, someone at Apple thinks these things up, yet knows the existence of Konfabulator. What's Apple to do? Email suggestions to Arlo Rose?? I don't think so.

So, like "iLife", the iPod/iTMS and many more, Apple has "out-thought" the minds out there in the third party industry. Can you blame them for acting upon their ideas? Hardly. If some software developer make s kick-ass solution that kills Dashboard, I'll buy it. After all, I bought a Konfabulator license, thinking it was darned good for the most part. Dashboard takes it to a higher level of refinement -- and THAT's the value of Apple and using their platform.

As a matter of fact, Apple always tries to give developers the best SDKs in the industry. And now, they'll get Core Image and Core Video along with everything else in xCode. those guys have AWESOME tools to make the greatest applications on the planet, and Apple gave them those tools. So, may the most creative and masterful code jockey win!
 

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Hello,

Personally, I've never really like Konfabulator, but I would like to find out what the real differences are between the two programs. Plus, Dashboard hasn't been released yet, so everyone here is, more or less, speculating about its features based on the information Apple has provided at this time. Since Tigger won't be out for 6 to 9 months, we'll just have to wait and see.

James
 

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No one is claiming that Konfabulator INVENTED this stuff. I have no problem with Watson or Konfabulator competing with other companies who market utilities that do a similar thing. How do they compete when Apple decides to include a nearly identical feature in the operating system, essentially giving them away for free?

Apple have pretty much killed Watson. What have they done with Sherlock lately? Seems to me they've lost interest. We'd have been better off if they left Watson alone.

In the big scheme of things, Dashboard is a pretty insignificant feature when the entire operating system is taken into account. To Arlo Rose however it's his bread and butter, it's what he does.

While Manny gives some good examples and raises some good points however I still feel the same way about this. It bothers me because both Karelia and Rose are small Mac developers who were doing a really good job. They are the exact kind of developer that Apple needs to embrace not alienate. I don't happen to feel that Apple really needed to eat their young in this case. It's not like Apple's implimentation of Watson or Konfabulator is light years better, it's pretty much a wash. Although not to the little guys.

Just my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
FWIW, I don't use Konfabulator either, and in fact I'm more likely to use the Dashboard.

Lots of people keep bringing up Desk Accesories, but there is a fundamental difference between DAs and Konfab, Konfab is designed to let users design and implement their own widgets, DA was not. The Dashboard is though.

In other words, I do not believe that the overall idea that has been stolen, just the implementation. Apple could have implemented a new Desk Accessories that didn't use key concepts behind Konfabulator.

Here are two pertinent quotes from Arlo in the interview:

<blockquote> If this were Macromedia, I'd have not been upset but it's the company that develops the operating system, and they're giving it away with every copy of the OS. It's as if Safeway decided to start giving away its groceries and charging a fee to enter the building.
</blockquote>

and

<blockquote>People keep bringing up Desk Accessories. Desk Accessories were just mini applications accessed via the apple menu. The idea behind K is not so much about the basic Widgets as it is about empowering people to easily create their own and this is the key part that Dashboard duplicates.</blockquote>

Of course, it doesn't help that Apple is calling them widgets (though it does seem to be the accepted term), and that they are written in the same language as Konfab widgets.

Either way, the debate seems pretty intense, and there doesn't seem to be any middle ground.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Here is a quote from one of the comments on the interview that I agree with:

<blockquote>c) From an implementation/design point of view, Apple has clearly copied Konfabulator. However, from a strictly conceptual point of view, Konfabulator itself is not really new, nor is it unique.</blockquote>
 
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