Chris Schmidt (crschmidt) wrote,
Chris Schmidt

Little Developers

Today at the WWDC Keynote, Apple announced a few new features. among them is the Dashboard - an application designed to allow you to quickly pull over small tools to help make your life easier. Basically, upon the press of a function button, a screen slides over your desktop, with your open widgets saved from before. These widgets will perform all kinds of actions, from stock tickers to calculators, from stickynotes to iTunes controls. A useful applet, that seems like it will fit in well with the Mac OS X world.

However, there is a slight problem with the idea of Dashboard. It's stolen from Konfabulator - if not in code, at least in spirit. And although Jobs is certainly aware of the application, it seems no efforts were made to contact the author of the program, according to his post on the topic.

While I certainly accept that Apple has the legal right to do this - I'm sure, if they didn't, that it wouldn't have happened - I think that having the legal right, and being in the right, ethically or morally or however you want to think of it, are two very different things. I think that Apple, in this case, seems to have stepped over the line into what I would consider inappropriate behavior for a company wishing to keep its reputation together among the geeks and hackers of the world. To blatantly steal the program to the extent that they did seems quite ridiculous, and I'm very much questioning, at this point, my willingness to support Apple (through the purchasing of their hardware).

I'm a small potato in any kind of development world. My programming is that of small widgets and whizbangs, not operating systems or applications. I've never tried to create something I could sell, nor do I forsee myself doing so in the near future. As such, I can see myself in the same position as the Konfabulator author is now: upset. To have something I created turned around, and become something that Apple created just makes me sad.

Apple, your developers are the people who keep you alive. Without applications, no operating system is going to be able to get anywhere. To take someone who has developed a program which you obviously accept the worth of, and blatantly rip him off, is a bad trend to start setting.

In the end, I'm sure my current frustration with Apple will go away. Having something you wrote pulled into a major operating system does have its benefits, I admit. But you talked to Blojsom about your inclusion of their software in your operating system. Why couldn't you have done the same for Konfabulator?

I just don't understand. You can't take without giving back all the time. It just doesn't work.

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