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Apple's Hancock Updates Future OS 7.x & 8.x Plans


Ellen Hancock Apple's Executive Vice President released an open letter on the Mac OS roadmap.

This letter from Ellen Hancock was posted today:

As you know, my team and I have been working on redefining Apple's OS roadmap to better meet our customers' and developers' needs. While we have not yet finalized these plans, I wanted to give you an update as to where we stand.

As previously announced, we have moved from a monolithic OS release strategy to one that delivers releases on a regular schedule. We believe that this more frequent release strategy provides Mac OS customers and developers with the power and flexibility they're demanding. We feel it is important to deliver improved products and emerging technologies to developers and customers on a timely basis.

The first of these scheduled releases, code-named "Harmony", is expected to be made available in January. The Harmony release will include features such as OpenDoc and Cyberdog in the OS, along with a new Extension Manager, an updated LaserWriter driver, and an installer front end. Going forward, we will continue to provide features that improve the reliability and performance of the system.

Much of the work done under the code name of "Copland" will be brought into future versions of System 7.x as well as Mac OS 8. The enhancements that you have asked for, such as the delivery of a new kernel, I/O system, and file system, remain active projects. At this point it's not possible to make statements about delivery schedules of these specific components.

Let me briefly touch on the issue of compatibility between System 7 and future OS releases from Apple. It is difficult to provide full backward compatibility without sacrificing new capabilities, performance or system stability. We feel that our number one goal should be to deliver a robust OS. Our intention has always been to deliver cutting-edge technology that makes our developers and customers successful. That said, we recognize the investments that you and your customers have made in the Mac OS, and we want to preserve those investments as much as possible. Compatibility will continue to be an important priority for Apple's Mac OS plans and we intend to address the transition issues faced by Apple's developers and customers.

To reflect the changes in our Mac OS strategy and give you a place to find the most current information we have, we're reconstructing our Mac OS information on the Web. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive site that serves as the repository for all significant information concerning the Mac OS as we move forward. If you try to access the Mac OS 8 website directly, you will instead see a transition page that announces the restructuring of our Mac OS websites. You'll also see links to other Apple pages including the Mac OS release strategy, Apple Developer World, the main Apple page, the Mac OS site, the Apple Software Update ftp site, and the Mac OS Software & Hardware Guide.

I know you're all eager to hear more information regarding Apple's agenda for the Mac OS. We appreciate your patience as we resolve the remaining decisions and rest assured that we will continue to keep you informed of any information as soon as possible. Until then, thank you for your understanding and continued support.


Ellen Hancock Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer Apple Computer, Inc.


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