Of the many technologies the industry has to offer, the one thing that facinates me more than anything is operating systems. Of the literally hundreds of OS’s that I’ve used, Mac OS X is the most interesting of all. It’s a logically organised system with many facets from simple usage to medium sized businesses. This will be my fourth year as an almost exclusive OS X user, starting out just before the release of 10.2.
Privately, I’ve been able to guess the large majority of new features that come with each release. While I will tell you that this information isn’t based on any insider knowledge, it is based on technical ability and knowing Apple’s direction very well.
Here is my not so top secret Leopard surprise list:
1) HFS+ will not be the default filesystem in Leopard. I don’t know what the new filesystem will be, but HFS+ will not scale as well as other filesystems in the enterprise. It doesn’t handle logical volumes or snapshots like NTFS or ZFS. I suspect that ZFS will be ready for OS X soon. I also think that Apple will release this new filesystem and support it in 10.4.
2) Collaboration is extremely important to Apple. The reason is simple really. Microsoft used Exchange during the mid-nineties to gain ground in the industry because businesses were looking for solutions to get teams spread across the country to collaborate effectively. Apple wants to do the same with a modern operating system. OS X 10.5 Server and Client are designed to become a collaboration tool throughout. iChat, Weblogs, RSS, iCal, Mail Notes are all important things. The logical next step is localized iSyncing via a server. This is important because most small businesses only buy a few laptops and check them out to traveling employees. An employee can simply just sync up with the local server and take their important collaboration data with them, sync it up on the road, and return as if they never left their data on their desktops.
RSS is a great way to quickly disseminate information across an enterprise. In order to do that, you would need a Weblog server and an RSS reader. These are already in 10.4 Server but there is much room for improvement.
I think people forget that Apple uses OS X platform to run their business. They look at the OS and see the problems not having a robust collaboration suite creates. Businesses need it, they’re tired of paying 180k+ for an Exchange Administrator (thats including the multiple servers needed and the admin’s salary), and even more importantly their tired of Microsoft’s tie-in.
3) Antivirus and Security Software. Microsoft is doing it, not because Windows is so fantastically secure, but because it is something that should be part of the OS. The smugness (or complete faith in OS X security) in the Mac community makes us a target because it is often not a thought to buy Antivirus or more robust firewall software. While the built in firewall works fine, there are a lot of limitations to it from the UI.
4) 64 Bit support = 64 Bit support. That means Apple is hard at work for iLife, iWork, and OS X to run in 64 bit modes. I bet Rosetta will do this too in a way that speeds it up while Adobe works on their CS3 code. I also imagine that later next year, in part of a new filesystem, that we’ll see XGrid.
5) No more Sherlock. It will not be installed with 10.5. Frankly it is pretty useless with Dashboard taking over.
6) Ruby on Rails has gotten Apple’s attention, probably because the RoR community is heavy with Mac users. Expect to see Apple delivering applications based on RoR via .Mac and Leopard next year. For example, Photocasting to a .Mac webpage, a new rewrite of iDisk and Backup (and with the new filesystem I would suspect larger iDisk storage as well).
So there you have it. The first realistic, non-rumor based list of unverified top secret Leopard information. What do I know other than nothing that wouldn’t be obvious to anyone using Windows.