June 6, 2005 2:41 PM PDT

New life for the old 'Star Trek' project

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Group. The project ballooned from 18 people to 50, and most were forced to write detailed specifications and white papers instead of concentrating on writing code. Then COO Michael Spindler instituted a round of belt tightening. After Nagel had allocated his budget to revising the OS for the PowerPC and updating System 7, there was not enough money left over to fund the completion of Star Trek, which was estimated would take 18 months and $20 million by some accounts. Nagel considered merging Star Trek with another project just getting under way. Code-named Raptor, it was an alternative to the Pink OS mired in the bickering at Taligent and was intended to run on any CPU, not just Intel or Motorola processors. However, the merger plan was deemed infeasible, and Star Trek disappeared into a black hole in June 1993. Work on Raptor would continue and eventually evolve into Copland, the long-promised, never-shipped sequel to Mac OS (see "The Copland Crisis").

Even if the engineers had managed to complete Star Trek, it wasn't as if suddenly every existing Mac application could run on Intel computers. Star Trek was designed to be source-level compatible, not binary compatible, with the Mac OS, meaning Mac applications would have to be recompiled by their developers to run on Intel processors. Those programs that directly addressed the Mac hardware would have to be rewritten. Needless to say, many software publishers were skeptical about the amount of work that would be necessary to port their products to PCs running Star Trek. Besides, a working demo of Star Trek isn't the same thing as a finished product. Remember, Apple engineers cobbled together pretty impressive proof-of-concept demos for Copland and Pink, too, but they never shipped either.

Just because Apple docked Star Trek doesn't mean you can't run Mac applications on other computers. In October 1995, Apple said that adapting the Mac OS for IBM's PowerPC Reference Platform (known

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Not lost in space,...
Does everyone remember the Star Trek episode, "The Enterprise Incident"? The one where Kirk had orders to steal a cloaking device from a Romulan battleship that looked like a Klingon battleship? You know, the one where Spock fell into amore with the female Romulan commander, & Kirk had to don pointed ears? Well, that's where StarTrek NG has been. Not lost in space, but cleverly cloaked ! Soon, I hope that it will uncloak, beam itself onto every Intel box out there, & blow Windows XP/Longhorn into stardust!
Posted by Jon N. (182 comments )
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Star Trek NG for Rhapsody was called BlueBox, and was forked and shipped as Mac OS X Server. It became the Classic environment, emulator or virtualization of the legacy system. Some the team that transition the Mac OS on UNIX (A/UX, MAE) and later PowerPC transition, worked on this. So it wasn't lost in space.
Posted by darknerd7 (2 comments )
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