Both Feet Forward

By Daniel Drew Turner  |  Posted 2006-04-26 Print this article Print

Shipley added that "Avie corralled Apples engineers and got them to stop dissing OS X like it was another Copeland or Pink or Taligent or whatever—he got them in line or cut em loose." In July 2003, Tevanian shifted his position to become Apples chief technology officer, allowing longtime second-in-command Bertrand Serlet to assume his old title of senior vice president of software engineering.
"This will be a seamless handoff," said Jobs at the time.
John Gruber wrote about the succession for his Web site, Daring Fireball: "I asked a few engineer friends at Apple whether my perception was correct—that Tevanian has had one foot out the door ever since he stepped down from day-to-day management of Apple software engineering in 2003, and that the news that hes leaving the company completely isnt really a big deal at all. "They all agreed, more or less, that Tevanian has had both feet out the door, but just hadnt yet turned in his keys. No one I spoke to at Apple has any idea what hes been up to the last three years." In an e-mail to, Gruber wrote that "Tevanian was and will always remain personally associated with Mach." His departure, Gruber added, doesnt have "anything at all to do with Apples future plans regarding Mach. I honestly dont think they have any plans to outright replace Mach, but even if they do, I dont think thats related to Tevanians departure from the company." Read more here about Apples robust revenue and profit numbers. Serlet, who had also been at NeXT with Tevanian and Jobs, had been Apples vice president of platform technology. In that position, he managed most of the Mac OS software engineering group. Since his move to heading the software engineering group, Serlet has overseen the development and production of Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger", which has received positive reviews. Serlets appointment "made me very happy," said Shipley, "because Bertrand is another hands-on engineer and old NeXTie, and hes a helluva great coder as well as being great at listening to the developer community. "Bertrands also a very friendly person and very unaffected guy," said Shipley. "I would bet you cant find anyone at Apple who would speak ill of him; I certainly wouldnt trust anyone who didnt like him." In terms of how his departure will affect "the parts of Apple that I know about, its pretty minimal—Bertrands been running the software show for several years now, and Ive been really pleased with the technologies weve seen in that time: Spotlight, CoreData, bindings, journalled filesystems... all great stuff," said Shipley. In early 2006, Tevanian announced that he would retire from Apple on March 31, after seven years at the company. Rubinstein was one of the many NeXT employees, along with Tevanian, who followed Jobs in his return to Apple. Rubinstein had been the head of hardware at Next, where he spearheaded development of then-groundbreaking hardware as the magnesium-cased, Motorola-based NeXTcube and the NeXTstation, which Delicious Monsters Shipley called "one of the most perfect computers ever built." The NeXT computers stood out not just for their high-style industrial design, but for inclusion of features such as Ethernet ports, extra RAM, a high-resolution (for the time) display and the NeXTSTEP operating system. Some have said that the NeXTcube was the prime influence in Apples Power Macintosh G4 Cube computer, which debuted in July 2000. Though NeXT sold few of these sold in comparison to commodity PCs, NeXTcubes played a significant role in computing history. Tim Berners-Lee used one to create the first Web browser in 1991, and John Carmack coded Wolfenstein 3D and Doom on NeXT hardware. Next Page: Climbing the ladder.


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