June 28, 2004 2:28 PM PDT

Developer calls Apple's Tiger a copycat

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Apple Computer is predicting that rivals will mimic Mac OS X Tiger, but one developer says it's the new Mac operating system that is doing the copying.

Arlo Rose is outraged at the similarity of Apple's Dashboard, previewed earlier Monday by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, to his Konfabulator, a $25 Macintosh program. Both programs allow easy access to small programs called Widgets, which can perform a number of useful little tasks.

"It's insulting, is what it is," Rose said in a telephone interview. "They could have at least offered to work with us or to buy it."

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Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple Computer
Apple, for its part, maintains that Dashboard is the company's own creation, noting that Widgets have long been a part of Mac OS X and the NextStep OS.

"The goal isn't to be like anything else," Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller said in an interview. "It's not his stuff. What we've done is ours."

Rose and co-creator Perry Clarke released Konfabulator in February 2003. "There really wasn't anything like it when we came out." Now, Rose said, a number of copycat programs are on the market.

By treading closely on outside developers, Rose said, Apple risks killing the incentive to write Mac software. "Why should developers want to work on their platform?"

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Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple Computer
The controversy comes as Apple is itself showing a series of posters at the conference here that assume Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., will copy Apple's features for Longhorn, the next version of Windows. Slogans include "Redmond, start your photocopiers."

It is not the first time Mac OS X has stepped on what some see as other's turf. Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., previously expanded its Sherlock search tool to add features such as movie times and yellow pages in a format that closely paralleled a third-party tool called Watson.

Rose is trying to make the best of the situation, taking advantage of the fact that Tiger won't ship until next year.

"Cupertino: Start your photocopiers," reads a newly erected Konfabulator home page. It also asks, "Why wait until the first half of 2005, when you can get the original Dashboard now?"

In the long run, though, Rose knows that he will have a tough time competing with something that is a built-in feature of the operating system.

"We're either going to have to move to another platform or work on some other project."


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Konfabulator Ripped
I agree with the owners of Konfabulator. They have a great
software (although I wouldn't of heard or used it until this
article.) After reading the article I downloaded and started using
the software. It is well written and looks almost identical to the
dashboard feature in tiger. I guess we will have to wait and see
what the folks at apple do next.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Apple copies 3rd party developer -- oh the irony!
This reminds me of Apple accusing MS of copying their GUI that they copied from Xerox PARC.

How different in concept is what Rose did with Dashboard from Pointcast or one of a dozen other previous ideas?

Of course, it does speak a bit to the hypocrisy of Apple to do exactly what they thought MS was evil for doing to them ... then again, they lost the lawsuit against MS -- if you can't beat'em ....
Posted by (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Widgets anyone...
You would think if Apple wanted to distance themself from any criticism of borrowing or stealing someone elses ideas they'd call the little "applets" something other than widgets. It's almost like somebody copying their book report directly from the Encyclopedia Brittanica.
Also it's very ironic that they would display this technology at a developer's conference where they are singing the praises of their OS and asking these folks that have paid for the privelage to attend this conference to continue to write programs for their platform.
Posted by LarryInAz (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What's the beef?
So let me get this straight...

Konfabulator 1.7 is released with it's biggest new feature being a
copy of Apple's Expose. Days later Apple announces Dashboard,
which is a copy of Konfabulator.

So what's the problem here?
Posted by garyhud (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Apple invented "Widgets" -- not Konfabulator
In 1984 they were called "Desk Accessories".

Konfabulator is cool (I use it), but it's not an original concept.

Posted by mpmchugh (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
After reading Mr. Rose's reaction, I'll be asking for a refund on
Korn-y-fabulator and buying Panic's new release. Mr. Rose
must be from a communist country perhaps? He wants to be the
only player with his product, guess he's afraid of competition.
Heck, can you imagine a world with only one OS, only one
financial software, word processing, presentation, only one
computer in the store, 'cause there is only one store to choose
from.... Grow up ARLO! I've uninstalled Kornfabulator.
Posted by sandman619 (54 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How old are you?
My dear Ina Fried (Win-Cnet columnist) and Sam Kass, I don't
know how old are you but reading your articles/comment you
look like teenagers.
I would like to remember you that the Desktop Accessories, aka
DA, quite lost in the night of times, were an original idea of the
fabulous team that developed the venerable System 1. When?
On January, 1984 dear milk suckers. Those original DA were:
Calculator, Alarm Clock, Puzzle, Key Caps, Control Panel,
Notepad, and Scrapbook.
I'm sorry, Konfobulator didn't invented the DA, they only --and I
like/love how they did it-- implemented, in a more fashionable
way, what Andy Hertzfeld (at first),  Jef Raskin, Bruce Horn,  Bud
Tribble,  Steve Capps, Bob Belleville and  Bill Atkinson invented.

Never speak before having known!

/Stefano Lesandrini
Posted by Stefano Lesandrini (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Tiger Konfabulator
Apple has simply got religion and is very Biblical.
Read 1 Kings 21.

Posted by NonEgo (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?" target="_newWindow">http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?</a>

Apple didn't steal this concept, look or feel. It's been theirs
since 1981 and has appeared in every Mac OS except OS X since
1984. Until Exposé was developed, Apple didn't have a good
way to re-implement it. They tried docklets, they tried toolbar
apps, nothing caught on. Konfabulator got the presentation
right, but it was never their idea.
Posted by MonkeyTrainer (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I hate to disagree with developers, but Konfabulator is just a 2nd
or 3rd generation enhancement of a concept invented at Apple
20 years ago. There seems to be some crying over spilled milk
going on with the developer, but the bottom line is "YOU didn't
invent widgets".... Now, go whine about something else. You
need to get original and not merely be in the business of fine
tuning the inventions of others. If you don't, you're in for a lot
of disappointment in the Software industry because there will
always be someone who has a different way to do the same
basic tasks.
Posted by acollins94 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
At least MSFT offers to buy you out first
Just like Lucca Brazi and Marlon Brando's character offered to buy out the singer's contract first before coming back with the gun, at least Microsoft offers to buy you out before muscling you out.

MSFT and the Mob have known it's cheaper in the long run to do it that way.

I guess Apple is new to the "problem fixing" business.
Posted by plutosdad (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Konfabulator riped from StarDock!
StarDock has been making widgets since OS2, these are the guyes that started all of it. I run both Windows and OS-X, and I wish that StarDock released there software for Mac! The guyes at Konfabulator need to give dues where they are due. Dont say that Apple ripped you off when you got everything from StarDock!
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag

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