SAN FRANCISCO—Following the unveiling of Mac OS X 10.4 client and server, a k a "Tiger," vendors and enterprise analysts were upbeat on the forthcoming operating system, which is due in the first half of 2005. Apple Computer Inc.s updated platform will open new possibilities for third-party products, they said.
Apple on Monday previewed the Tiger client software at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference here. Tiger offers a range of new features, including greater support for 64-bit computing; Spotlight, a system-wide automated search service; Automator, a new graphical interface for scripting applications; and the Dashboard interface for small productivity applications, called Widgets.
In addition, Apple announced at WWDC Mac OS X Server 10.4, which offers a range of new capabilities and services that support new content delivery standards. For example, the new package will come with a server for Apples iChat audio and video conferencing software and support the Jabber XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) standard; it will also bundle a Weblog server based on the open-source Blojsom project.
The new server version will integrate the first full release of Xgrid, the companys distributed computing clustering software, and support an ACL (Access Control Lists) security mechanism, which offers managers a fine-grained file and service permission structure.
Gary Brick, a developer at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for Advanced Military Medicine, of Rockville, Md., said he was looking forward to more information about the simple clustering available with Apples Xgrid services. "Grid computing is getting a lot of play and Tigers [Xgrid] integration is exciting. We really look forward to doing something useful with it for gene analysis," he said.
Some of the client capabilities demonstrated by CEO Steve Jobs in his keynote address, such as the speedy Spotlight local-file search engine, can be extended over a network, Apple officials told eWEEK.com. Developers will be able to create large virtual directories by combining the indexed logs of other machines. The new capabilities will be driven by Tigers expanded list of core services, including Core Data, which will offer a built-in SQL database and metadata store. Jobs on Monday showed graphics applications using the Core Image and Core Video components.
Still, French developer Sebastien Topin of the Paris-based Compression dImages en Reseaux et Applications, said he was disappointed on the lack of news surrounding programming tools, particularly Apples Xcode environment for C, C++, Objective C, Java and AppleScript. "Xcode isnt as rich [an environment] as Microsoft [Corp.] or Metrowerks Code Warrior. The debugging isnt handy."
However, in an interview with eWEEK.com, Ken Bereskin, director of Mac OS worldwide product marketing with Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple, said the company will demo Version 2.0 of Xcode to WWDC attendees this week. Due to coincide with the release of Tiger, he said, the new set of tools may address many developer gripes. The update will offer a "dramatic increase in performance, and a richer, graphical debugging environment, including remote debugging," he said.
"The Widgets are a great opportunity—I can imaging a whole new class of information utilities," said Jonathan Kahn, CEO of longtime Mac developer Aladdin Systems Inc. of Watsonville, Calif., pointing to the small applications. Likewise, he pointed at the integration of Spotlights searching routines as another area of interest to his company.
Kahn looked forward to new opportunities with Microsofts Windows Longhorn as well. "With new operating systems comes innovation. It gives developers the chance to become more innovative at the same time."