Aaron

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Many of you have requested that I implement in Aaron more of the features originally intended for Mac OS 8, such as the High Tech and Gizmo Themes or tabbed windows. Unfortunately, Apple has made it clear that they do not want third parties implementing these technologies. Even though Mac OS 8 has been scrapped, Apple still plans to implement many of these features under System 7.x and future versions of the Mac OS, and their policy regarding these technologies is unchanged.

Apple holds various patents and copyrights on the technologies originally planned for Mac OS 8, and they are very serious about protecting their intellectual property. Here are some of the reasons that I can think of to explain this policy (please note that I am not in any way affiliated with Apple, so I cannot speak for them):

Personally, I disagree with Apple's policy in this matter, but I repect their wishes. Apple has been extremely good to me, calling off their lawyers and giving me permission to distribute Aaron. Since December 1995, their user experience team has been working with me to insure that Aaron matches the Apple Grayscale Appearance as closely as possible. However, when I asked about implementing other themes or features such as tabbed windows, their answer was a definite no.

What about TabMania and the Copland WDEF?
While both of these programs implement something that could be called tabbed windows, it is really just an iconize feature where the iconized window happens to look like a folder tab. The tabbed windows feature in Mac OS 8, called "pop-up windows", is much fancier. In Mac OS 8, the tabbed windows are anchored to the bottom of the screen and automatically slide open and closed like drawers when the user clicks the tab or drags something over them. Neither TabMania nor the Copland WDEF comes close enough to what Mac OS 8 did for Apple to worry about it.

What about Now Tabs?
While Now Tabs looks nothing like the actual Mac OS 8 tabbed windows, the behavior is quite similar (however, the actual Mac OS 8 feature is still a lot nicer). While I have not gotten an official response about this from Apple, I gather that some people there are not very happy about Now Tabs. I do not know what action, if any, Apple is taking in this matter.

What about MacManager?
MacManager is a file manipulation utility that offers the three themes (Default, High Tech, and Gizmo) that Apple has been demonstrating. I am told that Apple legal has settled this matter with the makers of Mac Manager, and that future versions of MacManager will not offer these interface features. Despite this, MacManager demos with the offending themes are still circulating, and I believe that there are still copies of the full version in the distribution channel.


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