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Konfabulator author slams Apple 'theft'

Lightening strikes twice for konfounded Mac developer

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Lightning has struck twice for Mac developer Arlo Rose, who has again seen his plans thwarted by Cupertino. At the World Wide Developer Conference today Apple introduced a widget API, ripping the market from underneath Rose's Konfabulator product. Both products allow developers to create simple applets, a little like the original Mac Desktop Accessories (DAs), but prettier. Konfabulator's Windows predecessor, DesktopX, was launched over three years ago.

"While Redmond is stealing ideas from Cupertino, it seems Cupertino is stealing ideas from its third-party developers," said Rose in an open email. He described Konfabulator as the "template" for Mac OS X Tiger's Dashboard.

"We'd like [to] let the Mac OS X community know that if they'd like to get their hands on Dashboard now rather than wait 'till 'the first half of 2005' they can," he wrote.

The scenario has been replayed many times over the years on both Windows and the Macintosh, with Apple inviting small developers to create innovative applications for the platform and then providing its own version. Apple upset the author of the Web services application Watson by adding similar functionality to its Sherlock product. However, since Apple has neglected Sherlock, Watson remains the superior product by some margin.

Rose himself once worked for Apple HID Group and developed the Appearance Manager, before introducing the third-party Kaleidoscope framework, which allowed System 7 users to take advantage of themes. In the end, Apple released Appearance Manager but crippled its ability to allow the user to... er... change the appearance, and Kaleidoscope became the de facto theme utility. ®

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