Rhapsody's last movement

It's official: Rhapsody as a strategy is dead. But the technology lives on.

It's official: Rhapsody as a strategy is dead. But the technology lives on.

"It is pretty clear coming out of WWDC that Rhapsody isn't a strategy anymore," said Ken Bereskin, Apple director of OS technologies, worldwide product marketing. For Apple, the Rhapsody project encompassed three areas: an OS migration strategy, a collection of technologies and a product.

The Rhapsody strategy represented "a forced port of all software to these new, incredible APIs," Bereskin said. "As a strategy, it was incomplete - it wasn't what the Mac OS development community wanted - so we've changed the strategy."

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The new strategy, as sketched out at May's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference and filled in last week by Bereskin, is based on Mac OS X (10) and its Carbon set of APIs (see 05.18.98, Page 1).

Bereskin stressed, however, that the end of the strategy isn't the extinction of Rhapsody. The OS will live on as a product but won't evolve past the first customer releases for Intel-standard and PowerPC platforms due this fall.

After Version 1.0, "There are no plans for releases of Rhapsody," Bereskin said.

Rhapsody: It's no MAC OS X
According to Bereskin, Rhapsody 1.0 will be a server platform for publishing applications. "As a product, Rhapsody doesn't represent the features, the technologies and the user experience that Mac OS X does, so it is not going to be pushed for any level of desktop deployment," he said. "But as a server - especially in Apple's core markets - it brings value."

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Meanwhile, Apple will further exploit Rhapsody's "collection of exceptional technologies," Bereskin said. First, Mac OS X will be based on an evolution of the Rhapsody core OS foundation, including the Berkeley Standard Distribution flavor of Unix and the Mach microkernel. Mac OS X users will also be able to run Rhapsody's Yellow Box applications.

"The Yellow Box remains a very powerful way to build software. The Yellow Box will become part of our larger Java strategy, because we have such great synergy with the Yellow Box frameworks and Java," Bereskin said, adding that Apple will continue to develop its Yellow Box for Windows environment.

Developers will embrace Yellow Box
Apple's continued development of the Yellow Box for Mac OS and Windows will give current Rhapsody developers a growth path as well as a cross-platform environment. Bereskin said Apple also sees Mac developers embracing the Yellow Box for the long term.

Calling the rumors that Apple intends to port Mac OS X and Carbon to Intel processors "completely unfounded," Bereskin said the upcoming OS is being designed for the Power Mac G3 systems now shipping as well as future systems. The OS is not planned to support earlier PowerPC processors.

Bereskin, however, left the door open for the future. "Producing an operating system for Intel processors is not a short-term priority," he said. "From an exceptionally high level, processor independence and flexibility is always a good thing. But there are no specific product plans at all."