Apostles of the Mac platform

Thank god Macworld is almost over. The furor over the new iPhone (or whatever it is going to be called) is ending, and hopefully we will all be rational soon. The best part of Macworld, apart from a fantastic theatrical performance by the Count of Cupertino, is a chance to meet some of the developers who write applications we often use.

For someone who believes in the cult of lone coders (we even started a blog), Macworld is a reminder that it is these unsung heroes, not Steve Jobs, who make OS X an experience to remember. Macworld, the show, is about these apostles of the Mac platform. A little while ago, I wrote this piece, Platforms and Technology Cottage Industries; today I saw the phenomenon, first hand.


Many of the independent Mac developers gathered at Chaat Café in San Francisco for Niall Kennedy’s Mac Small Business Dinner. (See Flickr Slide Show.)

I briefly chatted with Brent Simmons of Ranchero Software, who develops the fabulous NetNewsWire RSS reader, and has been busy finishing up a new version of the software (version 3.0), slated for release later in 2007 “with big UI enhancements” and other major upgrades.

There were many who I did not get to talk to, but their products enhance my work (and play life) on a daily basis. Gus Mueller of Flying Meat (VoodooPad), and someone who works on Fetch software — damn shame, I did not get to meet him.


Mac Small Business Dinner, originally uploaded by niallkennedy.

However, the best part was talking to 20-year-old Colin Barrett, one of the developers for the open source Adium IM client, the best Mac IM client. He just moved to Mountain View to work for Mozilla. He said that with a job, he would now be able to focus on two things: Mozilla and Adium. We got talking about how Adium needs to add more support for voice, and he agreed.

Apparently, I am not the only one who is looking for that functionality, and Adium guys get a lot of requests to add VoIP features to their awesome IM client. There is a Gizmo Project plug-in that allows you to chat with your Gizmo buddies, but that’s about it. So if you are a VoIP hacker and want to help out Adium guys, then volunteer, for Colin and his mates are looking for folks with VoIP skills.

If there was Colin, bubbling with enthusiasm, there were also grizzly veterans of PC wars, gray haired and full of wisdom – swapping war stories, talking about apps, Jobs, and life in the lone coders’ trenches. It was a Lion King moment…. a circle of Mac life.

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