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2003 O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference Takes a First Look at Panther

November 14, 2003

Sebastopol, CA--Taking place just three days after Panther's release, the O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference was one of the first organized public events to delve deeply into the latest version of Apple's remarkable operating system. From October 27 to 30, keynotes, tutorials, and sessions led Mac aficionados attending the conference in Santa Clara, CA--developers, script writers, system administrators, IT managers, and power users--through all of the juicy new features available in Panther. "One thing Apple does especially well is to realize the potential in a technology, and to frame it in such a way that people discover that they need it," notes O'Reilly founder and CEO Tim O'Reilly. "Apple's refinements with the latest version of its Unix-based OS increase its effectiveness in the areas of user interface design, security, bundled applications, cross-platform file sharing, networking, and developer tools. Apple has a great sense of where technology is going and how to make getting there more fun."

Tim O'Reilly and conference co-chairs Derrick Story and Rael Dornfest opened the conference with a keynote address designed to inspire attendees to look with fresh eyes at where the network and new applications are going. Specifically, they suggested that Apple take cool aspects of each of their apps, such as Rendezvous, buddy lists, and permissions, and incorporate them into all of their other apps. Other keynotes included David Pogue and Adam Engst, who scrutinized the wealth of changes Panther brings to Mac OS X; Andy Inhatko's hilarious tour of the flotsam and jetsam--and irreplaceable gems--of computer geek paraphernalia he's squirreled away over the years. Guy "Bud" Tribble and Terry Gaasterland rounded out the keynote speaker lineup with talks on the exciting role Macs are playing in the life sciences arena.

Two evening events were conference highlights: On Tuesday, Dr. Srinidhi Varadarajan wowed attendees with a presentation on Virginia Tech's new "Big Mac" G5 supercluster, the world's third-fastest supercomputer created with 1,100 Macs at a fraction of the cost of most supercomputers. On Wednesday, the infusion of top Mac OS X developer talent at the conference was embodied at the finale of the MacDevCenter's Mac Innovators Contest, sponsored by Apple Developer Connection. Three new winners were presented, and local and international winners from past rounds gathered on stage to discuss their cool and useful projects.

Immediately preceding the conference, Apple Consultants Network held an in-depth "Tech Camp" for its members at the Apple campus in Cupertino. Tech Campers spent three days--including a more than a few wee hours--immersed in learning the ins and outs of Panther, before heading to Santa Clara to participate in the O'Reilly conference. Apple's presence continued at the conference in the form several important speakers, such as Sal Soghoian, Scott Anguish, Bob Fraser, and mmalcom Crawford; Apple once again created its signature Rendezvous Lounge at the conference, stocking it with the latest sleek hardware--all running Panther, of course.

The Mac Developers Journal, a joint publication effort between O'Reilly and Macworld, was launched at the O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference. This electronically delivered quarterly journal is the first digital-only publication for software developers working in Apple's Mac OS X to create applications in UNIX and Cocoa technologies. Another new product released at the conferences was Nicecast by Rogue Amoeba, a platform-neutral product that allows a user's iTunes music library to be broadcast around the home or around the globe.

The formal learning portion of the conference wasn't the only important take-away from this year's event--face-to-face networking was a highlight for most participants as well. As program co-chair Derrick Story noted after the conference: "I'm sure for many, expectations were set on the familiar aspects that we all use to justify the time and financial investment that comes with attending a technical conference. But once the event began to unfold, it took on the characteristics of those who are present--innovative software developers, sys admins, part-time programmers, content creators, QuickTime authors, news media, and conference staff. The second O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference was as much about sharing information around a table in the upstairs mezzanine as it was about dispensing tips and techniques in the session rooms. As the week moved forward, a new conference emerged, and it was one that I don't think anyone could have anticipated beforehand."

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