Apple today released Developer Release 1 of Rhapsody for PowerPC.
Apple said it is distributing DR1 of its next-generation OS to more than 10,000 members of its development programs. The release comes on two CD-ROM: One contains the Rhapsody OS and the other includes demos of Rhapsody applications and Enterprise Object Framework, Apple's tool for linking databases to Rhapsody objects.
The developer releases of Rhapsody for PC Compatibles (previously called Rhapsody for Intel) and of Yellow Box for Windows will ship by the end of the month, the company said.
DR1 for PowerPC uses a modified version of Mach 2.5 and Version 4.4 of the Berkeley Standard Distribution (BSD) implementation of Unix. Apple said the initial release supports TCP/IP networking but not Point-to-Point Protocol connections. The OS runs on Power Mac 8500, 8600, 9500 and 9600 machines and requires 32 Mbytes of RAM and a 1-Gbyte hard drive.
DR1 also does not include the Blue Box, the Mac OS environment within Rhapsody. Apple said the Blue Box will arrive with the Premier release, due early in 1998. Bertrand Serlet, senior director of Rhapsody engineering, said the ultimate goal for Blue Box performance is 90 percent to 110 percent of the current performance of Mac OS on PowerPC.
Apple said the QuickTime Media Layer is also slated to show up in Premier, and multiprocessing will be supported in the Unified release, which Apple Senior Vice President for Software Engineering Avadis Tevanian said will ship in "roughly" one year.
Ken Bereskin, senior manager for Rhapsody developers, said DR1 will implement a version of the AppleScript scripting environment everywhere the Yellow Box will appear - on PowerPC, on Intel and Intel-compatible machines, on Windows and on the Mac OS.
In addition, the release comes with what Apple termed an alpha version of Java implemented in the Yellow Box. The release includes a Java virtual machine but does not come with a Java just-in-time compiler or support for the abstract windowing tool kit (AWT). The company said those features will appear in a later release.
Ricardo Gonzalez, product line manager for Rhapsody, said the OS will conform to Java specifications, and applications developed on the Rhapsody platform will run on any platform that is also 100-percent compliant. He added the Yellow Box APIs are available through Java, so developers can hook Java and Yellow Box applications together.
Commenting on the collaboration announced at Macworld Expo between Microsoft Corp. and Apple for Java development (see 08.11.97, Page 1), Tevanian said Apple will "decide on an ongoing basis with Microsoft on what we will work upon. Our goal is 100-percent pure, and that makes sense for our customers."
Responding to questions about the sparring last week between Microsoft and Sun Microsystems Inc. (see http://http://www.zdnet.com/macweek/mw_1139/nw_java.html), Tevanian said the collaboration would not limit Apple's Java implementation. "Just because Microsoft doesn't support things doesn't mean that we won't," he said.
Although the company said it may do a preview release of the Blue Box, it doesn't plan to offer another major developer release until Premier. Apple said, however, it may release minor fixes if needed.
Apple said Yellow Box on the Mac OS - announced at May's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (see 05.19.97, Page 1) - is still in the works, but the company has not decided when and how to roll it out.
Apple reaffirmed that it is first aiming Rhapsody at the server and high-end desktop market, much like Microsoft Corp. does with Windows NT. The company stressed, however, that Rhapsody is not replacing its other OS. "Mac OS is and continues to be the mainstream operating system," Gonzalez said.