by Mike McNamee Published 01/06/2010
Many years ago I watched a BBC Wildlife programme in which the crew followed and filmed a troupe of baboons as they went about their lives. Baboons have an interesting structure to their society, in which a dominant, alpha male struts about, bullying all and sundry and having privileged access to the females. The females for their part put up with this as long as he leaves the kids alone and stops rival males pestering them for sexual favours. In the film, a new male walks into camp, full of menace, posturing and testosterone-fuelled bullshit (typical male then!) and causes mayhem by taking on, and eventually seeing off, the resident alpha male. In the scrap the mothers cling to terrified infants and lower-ranking males grab youngsters (as they act as a deterrent to aggression). One youngster, sadly, is crippled as he gets between the rival, fighting males.
Those of you who know me can probably see, by now, where this is headed! The alpha males chucking their weight about are Adobe and Apple, the terrified youngsters are the badly affected Mac Monkies! The squabble between Apple and Adobe broke out into the open again when Adobe launched CS5. Apple co-incidentally announced that they were not going to support Flash and not allow it inside their 'walled garden' of applications. When a spokesperson from Adobe uses intemperate language such as "Apple…wanting to use developers as pawns in their crusade against Adobe" and "…what is going through my mind at the moment. Go screw yourself Apple" then the scrapping for dominance of the pack is seriously affecting the terrified kids.
Nobody has said much too about the initial pulling of the 64-bit Cocoa code on MacOS or the ongoing fracas on colour management between Photoshop and Snow Leopard (which has no end in sight) but it leads the casual observer to assume that the baboon troupe is presently unsettled! Apple seem to be drifting away from their original core base of graphics users, iPhones and gizmos are where the money is. The fact that their shiny screens are impossible to calibrate and so bright that they need a separate program to get them dim enough for serious graphics use, and that we cannot make profiles in Snow Leopard without following a three-page work around, seems to have been ignored.
This idea that the graphics users can make do with what is left after the iPhones have been fettled is symptomatic of the problem. We must assume that the squabbling baboons are so intent of acquiring dominance that the terrified infants have been left to fend for themselves. In baboon society the infants are often killed in the squabble and a new order is imposed – heaven forbid, everybody may end up on the same platform, it's called Windows, and currently you can make print profiles, just watch that your screen calibration stays on!
Since these words were written things seem to have taken a turn for the worse! Adobe have recently taken an advertisement criticising Apple and their behaviour. As of 3 May it is alleged that "the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are locked in negotiations over which of the watchdogs will begin an antitrust inquiry into Apple's new policy…" Issues have also emerged that CS5 will only work with limited RAM when used with 64-bit Cocoa Mac OS. It looks like this one is going to run for a little longer yet.
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