Tim O'Reilly Explains Why Mac OS X Might Be the Next Big Thing

by Derrick Story

Tim O'Reilly, CEO of O'Reilly & Associates, took center stage for a lunch time keynote at WWDC in San Jose. Tim's talk, "Watching the Alpha Geeks: OS X and the next big thing" was a stroll through lessons from the past leading to successful trends of the future.

Tim praised Apple's approach to building Mac OS X, not because he was speaking at WWDC, but because Apple appears to be following a proven positive approach to the design of its Unix-based platform -- characteristics shared by another modern success story: the Apache Web server. Tim's three keys to survival are:

  1. Adhere to standards.

  2. Keep things small and modular.

  3. Document as you go -- man pages and RFCs

He urged Apple developers to "think platform, not just application -- build in extensibility and interoperability," and to "play well with others -- it breeds success and you'll have more fun."

The one-hour talk wrapped up with questions from the audience. My favorite was, "If you had three wishes from Steve Jobs, what would they be?" Tim responded:

  • Keep speaking out on the fair-use issues that he's been addressing.

  • Keep doing the cool stuff because we're enjoying Apple's innovation.

  • Keep playing well with others by adhering to existing standards.

As a side note, the biggest applause of the talk was when Tim praised Steve Jobs' acceptance speech at the Grammys where he said that people are entitled to fair use of the music they legally purchase.

Tim's messages seemed to resonate well with the WWDC audience. At one point, after Tim had finished his talk and the applause died down, one attendee remarked, "Man, that talk was dense. My head's spinnin'."

Late breaking note: Apple has posted an article about Tim's talk on their WWDC site.

Other WWDC weblogs:

Cafe Computing Goes Triple Shot

Rendezvous Is French for JXTA

Apple Not Resting on Its Mac OS X Laurels