[Openmcl-devel] Mac App store: will CCL apps fly?

Raffael Cavallaro raffaelcavallaro at mac.com
Thu Oct 21 12:32:11 PDT 2010

On Oct 21, 2010, at 2:12 PM, Ron Garret wrote:

> I could be wrong.  I hope I am.  But I don't see any other way these tea leaves could be read.  Jobs has telegraphed is intentions pretty clearly.

Well Jobs was pretty explicit about what he expects the future to be. In an interview a few months back he compared general purpose PCs (i.e., Mac OS X as UNIX) to trucks, and touch devices (Mac OS X as iOS) to cars. The overwhelming majority of people use cars (iOS devices) but some still need to use trucks (Mac OS X qua UNIX).

It's difficult to see how Apple could ever get rid of Mac OS X as UNIX entirely - there's a whole market segment of scientific computing and developers who really need direct access to the file system, etc., the kind of things iOS lacks.

Mac OS X won't go away  - it will become like Mac OS X Server is now - i.e., largely irrelevant to consumer computing. If you write apps for the general market going forward, you'll be targeting primarily iOS  (or Mac OS X LOLCat - I don't doubt that such a fusion is in the Jobsian tea leaves) not Mac OS X. But you'll most likely be doing that development on a MacOS X qua UNIX machine, not an iOS device.

I think this is Jobs' view of the world: Consumer computing should be appliance computing - closed, walled garden computing; general purpose computing should only be available to niche, specialist users like developers and the scientific market, not the general public. Note that graphic designers, musicians, etc. currently think they're exempt "power users" but, like you, I think they're in for a surprise going forward (i.e., they'll be migrated to become iOS/Mac OS X LOLCat users going forward).

This leaves lisp in an awkward position. Apple's latest relenting on developer tools for iOS makes ecl  or gambit a safer bet than ccl for example imho simply because these lisps compile to c, and c is a citizen in good standing in the Jobsiverse. But even the lisp-as-c-library approach may eventually be off limits. For now it seems safe enough though.

warmest regards,


Raffael Cavallaro
raffaelcavallaro at me.com

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