Sebastopol, CA--Just a stone's throw from Apple's Cupertino campus, over 500 developers, power users, and programmers inaugurated O'Reilly & Associates' first Mac OS X Conference in Santa Clara, CA. Participants took stock of past forces that converged to create Mac OS X, explored why the operating system is creating such a surge of interest across a variety of technologies, and speculated on what changes and enhancements might be in store for the platform.
Hailed by Adam Engst, a respected fixture in the Mac community, as "the first major new Macintosh conference in years," the four-day event brought together members of the Mac, Unix, and Java camps. "We realize that a new community is being forged out of the fusion of the 'old' Mac community, and many 'switchers' (whether from Windows or other versions of Unix) who weren't previously part of the Mac community," observes Tim O'Reilly, president and founder of O'Reilly & Associates.
After a full day of in-depth tutorials (Sal Soghoian's two-part AppleScript workshop was a runaway hit), three busy days of conference sessions and events followed. Highlights include:
David Pogue, a "New York Times" columnist and bestselling author of "Mac OS X: The Missing Manual" gave a hilarious yet cogitative keynote on the history and future of the Mac OS. His crystal ball revealed that Mac OS XX will have enormous memory, Bluetooth, a 55" screen, and unresolved battery issues.
Dan Gillmor of the "San Jose Mercury News" moderated one of the most thought-provoking sessions, "Mac OS X, a Digital Rights Management Operating System."
Panelists Cory Doctorow of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, J.D. Lasica of Online Journalism Review, El Gato Software's Victor Nemechek, and Tim O'Reilly debated DRM issues, and how Mac OS X illustrates Apple's support of fair use.
In his "Mac OS X: Unix Moves Out" keynote, Apple's Jordan Hubbard concluded that "Mac OS X can win the war that Unix lost and get Unix to the desktop. Twenty-five million users is a compelling argument."
The conference provided an opportunity for a number of Mac User Group leaders from around the nation to meet face to face.
David Mash of the Berklee College of Music took attendees on an audio tour of Mac OS X's musical prowess.
Several sessions attracted overflow crowds, including "Zero Configuration Networking with Rendezvous" with Stuart Cheshire and Chris Bourdon; Paul Hoffman's "Jaguar, VPNs, and Ipsec," "Serving Your Site From a Mac" with Dori Smith; "End-user Troubleshooting for Fun and Profit" by Ted Landau and Dan Frakes; Cory Doctorow's "Tricked-out X: How Do Alpha Mac Geeks Arrange Their Mac OS X Workspace?," and "Mac OS X Security," with Leon Towns-von Stauber.
One of Pogue's predictions--that wireless will have an increasingly important role in future Mac operating systems--was already playing out at the conference. The sleek terminal room Apple stocked with "drool-worthy" hardware was nearly devoid of visitors. Attendees preferred to use the wireless capabilities already built into their Apple laptops, turning the session rooms and break areas into informal connectivity rooms.
O'Reilly Network Editor and professional photographer Derrick Story describes another side of Mac OS X: "As I was sitting in the audience at the conference watching David Mash create beautiful music with his talent and a TiBook running Mac OS X applications, it seemed like a good time to dispel one of the lingering myths for this platform: 'Mac OS X is just for Unix geeks'...It's true, Mac OS X is great for geeks. Guilty as charged. But as a photographer, amateur movie maker, and former (bad) musician, I can also tell you that this is a great platform for creativity."
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O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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