Way back in January, when Steve Jobs first showed off the Aqua interface and promised OS X to us sometime "...this Summer" I started to get excited about the prospect of an operating system that, well, didnit suck. OS 9 was not cutting it for me, and was more prone to crashing than working on my Blue & White G3. Now, before you start in on me, I did EVERYTHING to get the computer up and running in a happy manner that a person could possibly do. This included drive reformats, reinstallation of the operating system from a different disk (mine could have been bad), minimizing "unnecessary" extensions. The works. But, all to no avail.
Then, however, Apple and Mr. Jobs kept pushing the release date back. And back. And back. Finally, it was expected that we would see a Public Beta by the end of summer. MACWORLD NY came and went, the defacto definition of "summer" for Mac users and the ideal place to drop an OS X sized bomb on the Mac world. But, as I was getting on the train to leave New York City after that conference, my luggage was missing one key souvenier...OS X Beta.
This got the Mac Observeris Editor-in-Chief, Bryan Chaffin, and I talking. The more I had read, the more it seemed that OS X was doomed to slip even further. Bryan didnit think so, and I did. And so it went, two intellectual jugernauts and self-appointed leaders of the Mac World duking it out as you might expect, "OS X will too come out by the end of September." "Will not!" "Will too!" "Will not!" "Well, my dad can beat up your dad..."
As it turns out, a wager, the terms of which required the loser of the bet to write an article very similar to the one you are reading, was placed. The line was drawn in the sand. Bryan The Optimist vs. Kyle "If-They-Are-Playing-Football-And-The-Leaves-Have-Started-To-Change-Color-In-Upstate-New York-It-Is-No-Longer-Summer-Despite-What-The-Calendar-Might-Say" The Realist.
Game, set, and match to the other guy.
Apple did indeed announce OS X Beta a whole 8 days before the "official" end of Summer, and even managed to get it to my mailbox, with the help of Fed Ex, with one whole day to spare before even the all-mighty calendar proclaimed that Fall was upon us, and white pants in public were no longer acceptable.
I must admit, this is a bet I am happy to have lost. The way I see it, the bomb threats and social pressure directed at Apple from the well-aimed "I hate losing" gun of Mr. Bryan got the product in my hands a whole month earlier than I had come to expect. Granted, the product barely resembles what Jobs said it would that fateful day in January. The product that shipped is clearly not the product they intended to ship all along but with a different name, as General Steve suggested at the World Wide Developeris Conference. No, this is definitely a beta. A pre-release. A "use at your own risk, but make sure the check for US$30 wonit bounce" dyed-in-the-wool beta.
Regardless, it is now my main operating system. I have my "trusty" (using that term in the vaguest possible way) version of OS 9.04 ready to reboot to when I need to print. Otherwise, there is nothing that Beta canit do that OS 9 can do, and Beta, for the most part, does it better.
So, am I a looser? Well, yes, I guess I am. I canit wait for the final version to be released in the Spring of 2000 at Mayis WWDC. I donit care what the calendar says, if people in Upstate New York are wearing shorts and playing volleyball outside, it is Summer, not Spring.