Apple Rethinks Rhapsody
Apple scrambled to come up with new plans. The YellowBox development environment was clearly the future, but it needed some work. Since Mac OS 7 was not up to the task of running the YellowBox environment, a PowerPC Rhapsody operating system based on OpenStep/Mach was also still a key part of the plan. Apple needed a way to keep existing Mac developers on board, while updating and refining the NeXT technologies they bought, and tie it all together in a mass marketable product.
Apple also needed to revise core parts of OpenStep/Mach to remove licensing issues that would allow them to sell Rhapsody at consumer prices and bring the product up to date. NeXT had been selling OPENSTEP for hundreds of dollars per copy, and their development tools were as much as $20,000 per unit. Apple and its development team from NeXT built a new core graphics system based in the open PDF standard rather than the license encumbered Display PostScript; they updated its BSD Unix personality to include modern developments from the FreeBSD, OpenBSD and NetBSD projects; they migrated their own technologies, like the QuickTime media layer, to run on Rhapsody and cleaned up and modernized the existing NeXT development frameworks, which had been in maintenance mode at NeXT for several years.
Meanwhile, Apple also needed to keep their existing Mac users happy. While completing 'Classic', the new name for the BlueBox environment, they devised a new architecture called 'Carbon', a cleaned up version of the existing Mac OS that would allow Mac applications to run on Rhapsody with the same look and feel as applications build specifically for 'Cocoa', the new name for YellowBox. Applications written in either Carbon or Cocoa take advantage the stability and memory enhancements in the new OS. Carbon leverages existing Mac developments, while Cocoa makes new development fast and easy. The NeXT frameworks had finally found a wide and sustainable distribution.
While Cocoa could still run on Windows NT, and Rhapsody on various hardware platforms, neither Classic nor Carbon were developed for portability. Rather than trying to run everywhere, a strategy that had failed for NeXT (and Sun's Solaris/Intel, IBM's OS/2, and Microsoft's attempt to run NT on Alpha, PowerPC and MIPS platforms), Apple discontinued their enterprise products and focused on selling software built to run exclusively on the Macintosh.
Apple laid out plans for interim classic Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9 releases to prepare developers for Rhapsody, which they fittingly renamed 'Mac OS X'. Changes in Mac OS 8 and 9 supported both Carbon development and the ability to run it in Mac OS X's Classic environment. Carbonized applications could run on the classic Mac OS, while also taking advantage of Mac OS X's new features.
Part V > Mac OS X Unfolds