Apple unveiled QuickTime X at the WWDC keynote. Here are their bullet point slides:

  • Modern foundation
  • Hardware Acceleration
  • ColorSync
  • HTTP Streaming

I’m actually quite keen to know how the new QuickTime X works. What will it mean for live visualists? What does it mean for developers, not only on Mac but Windows? What does it mean for open source projects built on QuickTime, projects vital to music and visual applications and innovation?

Here’s the problem: we’re not allowed to talk about that. Apple didn’t talk much about what’s in QuickTime at their public WWDC keynote. Now, they’ll start explaining all the details at sessions at WWDC. Some of our readers are at those sessions, but because the entire conference is under a non-disclosure agreement, they can’t talk about them. In fact, in the past, I’ve contacted PR to try to get information based on a report and was told by upset Apple PR representatives that I should not even be asking the question, and that it was a real problem that someone had told me what they had heard in a session. Even more surreal, Apple has told me that I’m not allowed to know about things that are printed in descriptions of sessions from WWDC posted on their website. Apple will happily charge you a couple grand to go to California to their session, but they won’t share information with the press.

What’s the message to the press?

Repeat our hype and our PR. Ignore the technical details. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

And so, as a result, a lot of the discussion of the Mac lacks technical detail or solid information. It’s voodoo.

It’s a really weird universe in which Microsoft is the progressive company. Microsoft will be more than happy to let you talk about technologies they haven’t released. Microsoft employees blog new stuff to share it, post public tips about how developers can use it, and we’re allowed to do the same. We can write about developer previews of their operating system. That’s to say nothing of free software development and Linux. But this is Windows we’re talking about – Windows is more open as far as communication.

There’s no way that this makes the Mac a better operating system. And if you’re bothered by all this secrecy, you do have alternatives.

And I’m not just saying this to rant. I do think Apple could find a way to reach out to the press on this stuff, and to allow developers to communicate with each other more freely so they can make better software. Apple finally eliminated their absurd NDA on all iPhone development topics, after developers, publishers, and the press pressured them to do so – and, not coincidentally, around the same time Google open sourced their Android tools. I don’t expect Apple to change overnight. But I do think they could do better.

  • jake

    I'm sure you'll be blogging on this shortly, but seriously expresscard ONLY on the 17 inch now?

    Utterly ridiculous, so glad I jumped on last cycle….

  • http://www.vdmokstati.com grigori

    Raising questions about development and possible implications for essential playing method software (quicktime) for the culture that heavily relies on it is nothing but normal.

    Being prohibited to talk about it is a clear indication of a closed minded corporate agenda.

    What naturally follows is an expressed consern to intertact with such technology in a long term. One moment they would remove support for flash playback(that in itself created some implications for a number of vj software), second you prohibited to make a mention of future developments, where does it leave open sharing community who do require such tools in subject from time to time.

    Are there any major alternatives in open source world that keep they cards and development accessible and open? Lets talk about those and move away from ever hungry corps(groups of dead people) that limit your contribution efforts and expressed interests and concerns of development that is VITAL to the work that we do.

    ogg anyone? Peter.. talk about ogg :)

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    We can talk about more than OGG… I'd say there's an increasing move to open frameworks. (That will be ALL open frameworks, including but not exclusively the thing called OpenFrameworks.) Think ffmpeg, gstreamer — and, incidentally, these have tended to out-perform QuickTime. It's not just open versus closed, though. Even some of the proprietary developers — yes, even folks like Adobe, and certainly like Sun — would love to work with open technology. (For the same reason you might not want to be entirely dependent on Apple, neither necessarily does an Adobe.) The problem is, there are major patent questions around these technologies in the US.

    I think in the long run some of those issues will be addressed by patent reform, because right now the system of IP litigation serves no one except the lawyers and predatory IP firms. (The big corporations actually hurt a LOT because they're exposed by their enormous portfolios.)

    So, in the meantime, as artists it's really worth your time to invest in the open tools, absolutely. And it's actually already started to happen.

    My point here is, even separate from free software versus proprietary software, uh, Apple — what's the point of creating tools for developers if you're not allowed to talk about them?

  • http://www.vdmokstati.com grigori

    "So, in the meantime, as artists it’s really worth your time to invest in the open tools, absolutely. And it’s actually already started to happen."

    Peter, glad that you see this and couldn't agree with you more! The idea of developing and performing visual art using open source software tools, codecs and formats without having to be legally bound or dependant on proprietaries is an ultimate option to have for visualist community benefit and evolvement.

    Such approach is already exsists and it does provide greater integration possibilities that could give families of open source projects further options to work in sync with one another.

    I strongly think that such mind set should be encouraged and promoted by a wider community of aware individuals as opposed to riding the wave of proprietary press releases that fundamentally trap us in its claws and discression of where its going to go next. Lets have open control throughout the whole process, shall we?

    While our wealth of knowledge and tools expand on this subject, the opportunities for ANYONE to create and perform without binding expensive software costs and updates,limiting access to expansion of the software,legal implications, etc would only promote openess and serve as a fantastic platform for what could be. Imagine!

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