Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

But I Thought Apple Never Copied Anything?

Looks like Redmond’s not the only one with an overheating Xerox Machine. Think “Spaces” is a new idea that Apple came up with? Think again…

Microsoft Virtual Desktop Manager PowerToy OS X 10.5 "Spaces"

NOOO! Say it ain’t so, Apple?!!?!

Thanks to JedR and WindowsVistaMagazine.co.uk for the heads-up.

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Comments

  • openarrow said:
    True, but the Virtual Desktop PowerToy is just ripping off a feature most *nix Graphical Desktops (GNOME and KDE at least) include: http://www.kde.org/screenshots/images/3.4/snapshot06.png (the numbers on the bar at the bottom). I think that what Apple is bringing here is a better look to the Virtual Desktop idea with an Exposé-like 3d overview of your desktops (Vista should have this, or perhaps an updated PowerToy?).

    However, I too was very annoyed by the constant Vista/Microsoft bashing at WWDC (as a happy Mac and Windows user)...who cares, everyone rips off things from everyone else. Apple and Microsoft ripped off from Xerox, but it really doesn't matter!!
    August 9, 2006 7:51 PM
  • Masuran said:
    Robert you're really getting good at the Apple Bashing :/
    Nobody ever claimed Apple never copied anything. Nor did anyone ever claim Apple invented virtual desktops.

    Are you just very dissapointed in Vista or are you really that jealous of Apple? :)
    August 10, 2006 6:12 AM
  • Chris Holmes said:
    Oh we're not jealous of apple, Vista is superior and we want to show that to people. Apple's "New" features are things that Windows has had for quite a while now.
    August 10, 2006 7:38 AM
  • TrevorD said:
    I dont know who came up with the multiple desktop idea but i remember it from CDE on Unix back in the early 90s.

    Did you watch their little movie of how it works? Kinda slick. I still think i prefer the Window-Tab vista thing though.
    August 10, 2006 7:50 AM
  • MGerlach310 said:
    Dont you just love when people make claims, yet, leave out half the discussion?

    Oh, how Apple spins everything. (I have had apples that freeze and restart themselves on me!!!!)
    August 10, 2006 7:55 AM
  • Masuran said:
    Quoting Chris Holmes: "Oh we're not jealous of apple, Vista is superior and we want to show that to people. Apple's "New" features are things that Windows has had for quite a while now."

    Can you name an example?
    Leave out Windows System Restore, as it isn't a file versioning technology, it's a snapshot tech.

    Perhaps you would call Aero an example: wrong. Aqua was there long before Aero was known.

    If you are going to call Vista superior to Mac OSX, please give some examples to support your claim.
    August 10, 2006 9:34 AM
  • Chris Holmes said:
    Ok, you want claims? Fair enough. First off, Time Machine is NOT a rip of System restore, but rather the Shadow copying technology that was introduced in Windows Server 2003, and that has been present in Vista since the alpha stage.

    Second of all, yes I will use Aero as an example. Aero takes full use of the graphics card whereas Aqua still does some of it's rendering in the CPU space.

    Third of all, search technology, It has been present at Microsoft for a LONG time. Apple just managed to get it out the door quicker, and it wasn't too effective (cases of files not being found etc...) With Vista, if you index the whole machine, I have never had a file that it hasn't found.

    So, in short, Apple aren't the innovators here, they just scoop up old ideas and try to call it innovation, whatever works I guess.
    August 10, 2006 10:01 AM
  • frankwick said:
    Why are die hard Apple fans like Masuran so bitter? Apple has a very nice platform with lots of eye candy, but it's obvious that Vista will be light years ahead of any desktop OS we have seen. It may borrow UI elements from XP, OSX, & KDE, but under the hood is where Vista will really shine. I don't understand the fanaticism some Apple people have with Jobs. He's somewhat of a snakeoil salesman and they buy whatever he sells (products and hype).

    I also can't believe Apple is going to chrage for this 10.5 upgrade. I don't see much worth paying upgrading for. It looks like a Windows service pack.
    August 10, 2006 11:17 AM
  • I agree with Robert, in fact, the Virtual Destop technology has been around in Windows NT based operating systems for a while, the MSVDM Virtual Desktop PowerToy for Windows XP was just the first that Microsoft ever really exposed it to the public.
    August 10, 2006 12:01 PM
  • Zarafa said:
    Chris Holmes writes: "First off, Time Machine is NOT a rip of System restore, but rather the Shadow copying technology that was introduced in Windows Server 2003, and that has been present in Vista since the alpha stage."

    Looking at Microsoft's documentation about Shadow Copy at http://download.microsoft.com/download/f/3/d/f3da10e8-c9fd-454d-9a54-c765d738449d/SCR.doc, we can see that:

    1) "shadow copies cannot protect against data loss due to media failures"
    2) "Local volume recovery support of an end user’s computer, for example, is not supported"
    3) "they are point-in-time copies, which are created on a scheduled basis"

    These items, among others, differentiate Shadow Copies from Time Machine (which, according to Apple, saves a revision every time a doc is altered, deleted, moved, etc. -- those *sets* of diffs are then copied to an external location on a scheduled basis, to guard against local media failure).

    This is not to say that either Time Machine or Shadow Copies are the superior technology, but rather that they have different goals and implementations.

    Both are very late to the game. VMS, as an example, has had local filesystem versioning for ~20 years, so neither Apple nor Microsoft can claim to be first here. See the article on Files-11 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenVMS_filesystem for more info:

    "Every file has a version number, which defaults to 1 if no other versions of the same filename are present (otherwise one higher than the greatest version). Every time a file is saved, rather than overwriting the existing version, a new file with the same name but an incremented version number is created. Old versions are can be deleted explicitly, with the DELETE or the PURGE command, or optionally, older versions of a file can be deleted automatically when the file's version limit is reached (set by SET FILE/VERSION_LIMIT). Old versions are thus not overwritten, but are kept on disk and may be retrieved at any time. The architectural limit on version numbers is 32767. The versioning behavior is easily overridden if it is unwanted. In particular, files which are directly updated, such as databases, do not create new versions unless explicitly programmed."

    (This sounds remarkably similar to Apple's implementation.)

    Chris Holmes continues:
    "Second of all, yes I will use Aero as an example. Aero takes full use of the graphics card whereas Aqua still does some of it's rendering in the CPU space."

    Some terminology: Aqua is the look-and-feel of the UI. Quartz is the technology to which you are referring; see http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/quartzextreme/ for more info. Similarly, in Windows the technology is DWM (Desktop Window Manager) -- I *think*, and I'll fully admit I don't understand how that inter-relates with WPF. In either case, the UIs for both OSes are replaceable widgets and the offloaded rendering/compositing technologies work more or less independently of them. This is a good thing; it means alternate skins, UIs, whatever can still make use of the OS-provided capabilities.

    While true that Vista will have "full" GPU offloading, Leopard will also. (Both are future tense, of course; I can't walk into a store and buy either right now, though pre-relase versions of both are available of course through various means.) And since OS X has had Quartz for a while, they definitely beat MS to the game, although final end-user results in these two future OSes will be similar.

    Chris Holmes continues: "Third of all, search technology, It has been present at Microsoft for a LONG time. Apple just managed to get it out the door quicker, and it wasn't too effective (cases of files not being found etc...) With Vista, if you index the whole machine, I have never had a file that it hasn't found."

    This is a joke, right? Yes, Spotlight isn't perfect; some examples are that for performance reasons, it only indexes the first X amount of text in a file -- can't recall what X is right now... There are other issues. But it at least does instant live indexing, so a saved doc is available immediately, rather than needing to be background-schedule-indexed.

    Regardless of whether Spotlight or Vista's Search is better, neither are original. Back in 1996, BFS (part of BeOS) supported instant live queries. The developers of that now work for Apple, so although Apple certainly didn't develop anything new here, their implementation is a direct descendent of that technology, not a rip-off of MS's.

    Note that I'm not defending Apple's claim that MS copies everything from them, or that Apple is always the innovator. I also realize that things go the other way (Apple borrows lots of ideas from MS and others). But it is also certainly not the case that Microsoft was the originator of any of these ideas, and in fact I think you'd be hard-pressed to identify too many things in which Microsoft was first, either to envision something or to bring it to market (of course someone will immediately find a counter-example to this, but I'm making a general sweeping statement here). Simply because of the realities of MS's proven-monopolistic practices and overwhelming market share, they certainly have popularized many technologies, but that's a different discussion altogether.

    The title for this whole post/thread is interesting: "But I Thought Apple Never Copied Anything?" This is a title worthy of a local news broadcast or a politician, throwing out a straw-man argument *that no one ever made*. Also, if the intention was to show where copying occurred, why wasn't a screenshot of a multi-desktop Unix system shown? After all, those have been around for many years; Apple is certainly not original with it, but then again neither was MS.
    August 10, 2006 12:58 PM
  • rma212 said:
    Hahaha the whole claim of Vista being "better" is laughable. Can you refute the Windows Calendar/Windows Mail features's similarity to Mac's Mail and iCal apps?

    It sounds pathetic, but I am tempted to ask - does MS pay you to maintain this website?
    August 10, 2006 1:46 PM
  • ChrisAltmann said:
    Zarafa says:
    "These items, among others, differentiate Shadow Copies from Time Machine (which, according to Apple, saves a revision every time a doc is altered, deleted, moved, etc. -- those *sets* of diffs are then copied to an external location on a scheduled basis, to guard against local media failure)."

    Where did you find that out (or do I need a NDA to know :)? That *would* give Time Machine a leg up on Vista's "Previous Versions" feature IMHO, expecially if TM still gives you access to the local diffs if you are away from your backup drive.

    August 10, 2006 4:34 PM
  • Desman said:
    Oh my! Man? you can't be serious saying that they invented virtual desktops back there in Redmond, can you? I remember having some freeware implementation back in 1996 on Win 95, and seeing *nix implementations (it was either CDE or FVWM) even earlier. So... who's copying whom?
    August 11, 2006 3:10 AM
  • rma212 - "It sounds pathetic, but I am tempted to ask - does MS pay you to maintain this website?"

    is it not okay for someone to be keen on a microsoft product? We see it all the time with apple products and their associated religious followers, yet who is childish enough to ask whether apple is paying them for their efforts?

    zanfa - "Also, if the intention was to show where copying occurred, why wasn't a screenshot of a multi-desktop Unix system shown? After all, those have been around for many years; Apple is certainly not original with it, but then again neither was MS."

    because this isn't about *nix. It's about apple vs microsoft; the comparisons to copying that APPLE started. In fairness, the whole file versioning, and searching debate is a moot point. Yes, various other bits of software have had these technologies in at one point or another. For example, i could claim that a paper based system has had document management and versioning for as long as there have been documents. In the grand scale of things, who cares? But it appears apple cares, else they wouldn't have raised it. So, in the windows space we've had sharepoint since, well, beta was around circa 2000, which had both proper version controlling of documents, including sub versions, (1.1, 1.2, etc), document checking in and publishing, and approval routes. Oddly enough, it also included document indexing, using the microsoft indexing service, which shipped with windows 2000 server (which is the same technology that at the very least msn desktop search utilises). Claiming that developers from beOS now work for apple, and therefore the technology introduced mid 90's by beOS is the same as apple introducing it first, is, by all accounts. bollocks - why else did it take apple a good 10 years to introduce it if not for the reason that apple saw what microsoft planned to do with dbfs for vista, and quickly mocked up the best they could muster without going to a full dbfs rip off. As for virtual desktops, in the microsoft vs apple front, a virtual desktop app shipped with the NT4 resource kit, including "VDesk, another desktop switcher with an added boon: it allows you to log on to a different account on your other desktops".
    August 11, 2006 4:04 AM
  • I think sometimes people miss the point.

    Its true that the 'killer app' feature of WinFS included instant search; but the main innovation they were working on in WinFS was the XML based relational datastore. Indexing technology is simple and old, and Microsoft already implemented this for Office for a long time. --Apple decided they could kill the buzz for Longhorn by releasing Spotlight in OSX, and claim they did the same thing as WinFS (and somehow, at the same time, claim Microsoft going to copy them--go figure). I have no doubt that Apple was inspired by the buzz for Longhorn to push Spotlight into Tiger. Its not as if either company didn't have building blocks for indexed search, or even research into more advanced search technology for years. But WinFS -was- an innovative model, and Apple decided to try to one-up Microsoft with something more basic. When Apple announced Spotlight, Microsoft in -a month or two- assembled its own Windows Desktop Search. If all Microsoft cared about was indexing search it could have released this feature 5 years ago.

    It is -exactly- the same with every other thing that was planned with Longhorn. Macheads often don't realize that Longhorn was a very major project, that Apple in engineering terms is only emulating superficially. One of the importan aspects of Avalon (WPF) was XAML and .NET functionality, which makes it much easier to create different interfaces and interfaces that can adjust to user demand. OSX has nothing comparable now.

    I am perfectly happy to have an objective discussion over the merits of Mac vs Windows. Some Mac fans may say that what Microsoft was trying to do with Longhorn wasn't really necessary or good for an OS, and they showed this by releasing useful programs that accomplished the 'killer' functions. But first people have to learn how Vista is different from OSX. People have to wean off Apple marketing.

    Btw, it is also ludicrous to compare gadgets to widgets, looking at both the history of Sidebar in its development since the beginning of Longhorn, and earlier ActiveDesktop technology
    August 11, 2006 9:29 PM
  • I forgot to make the point that Volume Shadow Copy is a feature of the file system, Time Machine is just an application. Which goes with my other points.
    August 11, 2006 9:47 PM
  • Yea but this doesn't change the fact that Microsoft's Power Toy looks and feels like the bottom of a toilet, and Apple's Spaces is looks sexy and smooth. At least when Apple copies, they make the product better. And who can blame them? If Microsoft is going to leave products to the bare ugly, someone will have to take them to the next level. That someone is Apple.
    August 19, 2006 5:12 PM
  • Anonymous said:

    All of you people defending apple just shut up

    November 7, 2006 5:08 PM
  • But I Thought Apple Never Copied Anything? - Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

    September 13, 2014 2:14 PM