Why We've Embraced Mac OS X

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Derrick Story

Derrick Story
Jan. 10, 2002 11:06 PM

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As a reader of O'Reilly Network, I think it's time I explain something to you.

Most likely you probably have a number of our books on your shelf -- Linux, Java, Unix, and probably Perl. You've most likely visited oreilly.com, XML.com, ONJava.com, ONLamp.com, and maybe even have scanned our articles on openP2P.com. Those sites feature solid, traditional O'Reilly content.

But, over the last year, you've seen more Mac-related articles in our lead space. Now I don't know how you feel personally about this platform, but I want to tell you why we've been covering this stuff. And I thought now would be a good time to do so since we're wrapping up our participation at Macworld SF.

It all has to do with Mac OS X, which is completely different than anything Apple has ever produced before. As you know, OS X has Unix underpinnings and lots of familiar tools built-in including Apache, PHP, SSH, CGI, and Java. The essence of OS X, Darwin, is an Apple open source project. And this new OS has accomplished in a short period of time what others have struggled to do for years: bring a compelling, widely accepted GUI (called Aqua) to Unix.

Oddly enough, Mac OS X is more popular in the open source community than it is in Apple's traditional customer base, many of whom dislike it and are rebelling against the change. But there are lots, and I mean great numbers, of technically-minded people who love this new operating system. And for those people, we created the Mac DevCenter.

Our books for Mac OS X are doing well. We sold 350 copies of David Pogue's Mac OS X: The Missing Manual on the first day of Macworld. We thought that's how many we would sell the entire week. We scraped up another 150 copies and sold them within hours. On Thursday, we called the nearby Apple Store and asked if we could "borrow" back our shipment of 120 books to sell at the show. They kindly lent them to us, and we sold every copy within two and a half hours.

The Mac DevCenter has doubled its traffic in the last two months. And the articles we've published on Apache web serving, Java programming, and Cocoa application building have attracted great numbers.

If you've been less than enthusiastic about Apple technologies in the past, I'm asking you to take a second look. There's an opportunity here for us to take back control of our computers, and at the same time, enjoy some of the luxuries of GUI applications.

Our focus on Mac OS X doesn't replace our passion for Linux, Perl, Java, XML, and BSD -- it is in addition to it. If you have a moment, browse some of our Mac articles and let me know what you think. I believe that Mac OS X should be a full-fledged member of the O'Reilly community. It has the strengths we value in a technology.

Derrick Story is the author of The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers, The Digital Photography Companion, and Digital Photography Hacks, and coauthor of iPhoto: The Missing Manual, with David Pogue. You can follow him on Twitter or visit www.thedigitalstory.com.