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Konfabulator Coming to Windows 307

islandroots writes "Arlo Rose, developer of the popular Konfabulator widget, is moving his application from Mac OS X to Windows. Back when Apple unveiled their next OS, Mac OS X Tiger with Dashboard, Arlo Rose accused Apple of copying his application. 'We're all diehard Macintosh developers here, but we recognize that Windows is the dominant platform,' Rose said in a statement. 'When you have a great idea, you want more than 2 percent of the global market to have access to it.'"
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Konfabulator Coming to Windows

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  • by Ph33r th3 g(O)at ( 592622 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @09:33AM (#10733519)
    We'll have to fix them. Dude! I know! We'll port the product to Windows! Yeah, Microsoft would never copy an idea and include it in their next operating system! Excellent!
  • by richie2000 ( 159732 ) <> on Friday November 05, 2004 @09:33AM (#10733521) Homepage Journal
    One might think this particular project was a natural for a KDE port.
  • Irony (Score:2, Funny)

    by metlin ( 258108 ) *
    Yeaaaaaaaaaaah right.

    The quote at the bottom of the page goes, "Cheer Up! Things are getting worse at a slower rate."

    Gee, thanks :-/
    • The quote at the bottom of the page goes, "Cheer Up! Things are getting worse at a slower rate."

      Well, something's going at a slower rate. Could be the web site that describes whatever the hell Konfabulator actually is.

      Someone want to enlighten us non-Apple users?
  • by theAtomicFireball ( 532233 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @09:35AM (#10733531)
    They seem to have a rather weak concept of what a "diehard" is.
  • How about this? (Score:2, Informative)

    by isecore ( 132059 )
    I don't know about you guys, but there already is an excellent utility for system-monitoring on Windows, it's called Samurize. []

    It's totally configurable and can be made to be a lot of eye-candy as well. Also it can be extended with scripts and plugins for everything from weather to television listings.
  • Wonder what it is? The actual Konfabulator site is slashdotted, but does come up some time. The front page looks like part of "MYST". The article describes it as a desktop organization utility, but it is rather vague.
    • by erikharrison ( 633719 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @09:50AM (#10733602)
      Short answer: Konfabulator is a product for writing little eyecandyful tools in JavaScript, like Weather monitors, calculators, yaddida, yaddida, yaddida. They are _very_ similar to the widgets being offered in the next version of OS X.

      Long answer and editorial: Konfabulator is a resurrection of the old Apple Desk Accessories if you used those. This has been used to claim that really, Konfabulator isn't doing anything new, and that Apple isn't stealing Konfab. I find this argument to be malarky. Sure, Konfab is the spiritual decendent of Desk Accesories. And maybe even Tiger's widgets started as a coincidentally parrallel development within Apple. But writing them in JavaScript? The look and feel? The likely base package of Widgets? Come on. The most you can give Apple is that someone started working on a primitive version of a Desk Accesories successor, and someone came along and said "That's neat. Why don't you make it more like Konfabulator?"
  • by inflex ( 123318 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @09:38AM (#10733549) Homepage Journal
    There's a saying that I've heard all too often that goes ...

    "Many people think of the same thing at the same time across the world - it's a matter of who gets it done first".

    Time and time again I've seen this happen in the software world, where it's appearance is more noticable all thanks to the speed and expanse of the internet.

    So, while it sounds like I'm backing Apple in this one, what I'm really saying is it might not specifically have been plagarism, sometimes it's just a bad coincidence.

    • Damn, I was hoping someone would say the same thing in another post at about the same time. So much for -that- theory :-\
    • AFAIK, Konfabulator was out for the Mac a good OS point version ahead of Apple's. This isn't the first time Apple has cannibalized their shareware developers. I seem to remember the same thing happening with Watson, which I think was an add-on for "Sherlock." I'm a huge Mac fan, but I really wish Apple would give developers who created truly excellent software the opportunity to bundle their software with the OS, instead of just co-opting their ideas.
    • Desk Accesories (Score:5, Insightful)

      by totoanihilation ( 782326 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @12:03PM (#10734620)
      Ever heard of Desk Accessories in MacOS systems 6 and earlier? Back when the OS could only run one program at a time, they created DAs that could run concurrently to another app. You could then have access to a calculator, note pad, etc.. without having to interrupt your work on the other program.

      Dashboard seems like a remake of that. Push a button and get all your accessories to pop up.

      Konfabulator on the other hand is a whole javascript runtime engine, and _that's_ what they're charging for. They're not charging for the concept of widgets (which could arguably be the same as DAs in the first place).

      So it's not so black and white about who took who's idea. Apple has the right to reanimate its DAs... They just happened to choose a way to handle the different gadgets that is vaguely similar to the way Konf does it (html/css/javascript).

      I still think there's room for both. Dashboard isn't always on. When it is, it dims the rest of your screen. Konf can run next to other apps.
  • by Polaris ( 9232 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @09:39AM (#10733553) Homepage Journal
    Daring Fireball's take: fabulator []
    • by imr ( 106517 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @09:43AM (#10733571)
      It's the problem of ideas. They can appear in many heads at the same time.
      • Aha! thanks, you proved my theory - see my own post saying the same thing just a bit further up.
        • by imr ( 106517 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @10:45AM (#10733960)
          I didnt prove your theory.

          You're taking into account the moments we expressed the same idea, aka you before me, to establish that it is your theory and therefore that i barely proved it.

          No, I expressed the same idea as you, and it is neither your nor my theory.
          As a matter of fact, it is an idea as old as ideas themselves, the idea that ideas are alive and free and don't belong to none, whenever and however they are expressed.

          We are just medium through which ideas express themselves.
  • Sour Grapes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Arlo's still sore from when he couldn't release Mekong because it became Apple's property. And then, when Kaleidoscope couldn't make the jump to X. Good artist, but he's got some bitterness.
  • is sad for small software companies, isn't it?

    Unless you're targeting some niche market that no one else can do or want to do. You'll never know when your selling point is integrated into the next OS version.

    Going platform-independent probably isn't the ultimate answer. Can opensource help?

    • So what you are saying is: Being platform dependent doesn't work, being platform independent neither, well, so let's just give our product away, this will make us shitloads of money. Ummm, no.
  • by 5n3ak3rp1mp ( 305814 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @09:47AM (#10733588) Homepage
    Since when did a little competition in the marketplace cause the ones first to market to simply up and leave?

    The proper response is to figure out a way to differentiate yourself. Maybe Konfabulator could be better at XMLHTTP or some other technology.

    The fact that you can burn cd's natively in OS X doesn't seem to have hurt Toast that much, probably because Toast provides a slew of other options.
    • * Since when did a little competition in the marketplace cause the ones first to market to simply up and leave?*

      since the competition came standard with the os.

      anyways.. little marketplace doesn't matter if you got 100% of it. this is no longer going to be the case so they're moving it to a larger market which has more competition(there's comepting products out there for windows).
    • and iPhoto isn't going to put a dent in Photoshop, etc. etc... Welcome to the market. You either have to have a better product, brilliant marketing, an army of lawyers, or a simple monopoly.
    • Since when did a little competition in the marketplace cause the ones first to market to simply up and leave?

      Since it was called "bundling", the power of which has been demonstrated time and time again. Please don't pretend having your product included with the OS is like normal 'competition'. It's not.

  • DesktopX (Score:5, Informative)

    by phurley ( 65499 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @09:51AM (#10733604) Homepage
    DesktopX for Win32 is similar -- I have never used Konfabulator -- however DesktopX allows you to write simple vb (or any other installed scripting language including perl) scripts and attach them to interactive desktop objects.

    If interested, check it out

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Kapsules [] is similar to Konfabulator, so this isn't a new idea on Windows either. I never used it, but back when Windows had "active desktop" features those were quite similar to what Kapsules and Konfabulator offer.

    I've tried both Kapsules and Konfabulator and once you get past the "nifty keen" factor, neither are really all that useful in my opinion.
    • back when Windows had "active desktop" features

      Windows still has active desktop. It hasn't been abandoned, its just not quite so obvious these days, but you can right click on your desktop and choose "Show web content on my desktop" and go ahead and stick whatever scripted weird things you want into an HTML document for it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @09:52AM (#10733613)
    Arlo Rose is an ex-Apple employee that build Konfabulator based on his experiment at Apple. Steve Jobs would have been stupid to buy his own ideas back from Rose. And same goes with Watson: Sherlock was clearly first on the market.

    On the other hand. Apple has bought some cool technology to next Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). Pixelshox Technology is one great example. It's been renamed Quartz Composer in Tiger and is basis of CoreVideo.

    So Apple will buy great inventions to their OS, but they're not that stupid to buy their own inventions back.

    (Sorry about typos, English is not my native lang.)
  • by adzoox ( 615327 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @09:52AM (#10733615) Journal
    If you would like to see a summary of most of the posts here and a general discussion of what Konfabulator does and Arlo Rose's history and general discussion ... see a recent story I did on this on my jackwhispers website:

    HERE IT IS []

    Titled: What A Kon!

  • Except for the "lickability" of the widgets, Dashboard is a quite different animal. It's like a second desktop that can be populated with widget-like productivity tools and faded in/out on keypress.

    That sounds very appealing to me since the productivity stuff never gets in the way or wastes screen real estate when you don't need it, the way the Konfabulator widgets do.

    So even if Konfabulator had been the first to use widgets (which it wasn't), Dashboard would still not be a rip-off but a good idea done ri
  • by Anonymous Coward
    That is a brilliant idea! Pay for porting the app yourself so Windows can steal it also!
  • sour grapes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dJOEK ( 66178 )
    Apple out-did this guy and now he runs like a scared little girl

    Konfab was a sluggish, memory hungry app that got more in the way than it did good.

    a lot of noise, but none of it really worth it.

    Face it buddy, you couldn't handle the heat!
  • by Gannoc ( 210256 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @09:59AM (#10733648)

    Been around for years.

  • Innovation? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dema ( 103780 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @10:04AM (#10733672) Homepage
    "We're all diehard Macintosh developers here, but we recognize that Windows is the dominant platform," Rose said in a statement. "When you have a great idea, you want more than 2 percent of the global market to have access to it."

    I wonder how much time he spent thinking of ways to improve Konfabulator to give people an incentive to use it instead of Dashboard. It would seem from this statement and the article that he just sort of rolled over.

    Also, I didn't see anything in the article about it and the Konfabulator website is loading slooooow as hell, but do they intend to coninue developing Konfabulator for OS X? When this originally hit the news there was a pretty large backlash and a lot of people came out in support of Konfabulator. I really hope they don't intend to just ditch them all.
    • "a lot of people came out in support of Konfabulator"

      Which websites were you reading?

      I saw mostly hard facts that Rose was being a baby by claiming Apple copied him.

      For a while - the Konfabulator website had a lot of groupie posts

      (mainly people that were scared of the very scenario you suggested - having just finished paying for Konfabulator - then being unsupported within a few months)

      Then a few posts started popping up that showed how Apple used this same concept of widgets for monitoring and small a
  • by ayeco ( 301053 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @10:07AM (#10733697)
    not due until the end of 2006!?

    This is what vaporware dreams are made of. I doubt we'll ever see an official release of konfabulator. With that kind of target date for release there will be dozens of other copycats ready to get their versions embeded with spyware out to the masses.
  • Just an FYI on some of the who did what first arguments here [].
  • Screenshots (Score:4, Informative)

    by Xeo 024 ( 755161 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @10:12AM (#10733730)
    official site gallery [](can't zoom in, since site is /.ed)
    widget gallery []
    google image search of 'konfabulator' []
    apple's dashboard []
  • by DoctorDyna ( 828525 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @10:18AM (#10733773)
    So, the guy is mad because the OS manufacturer took some peice of the "little guy code" and integrated it into the OS and buried the little guy? And he's making the move to windows because he thinks this happens less often there?
  • I've been out of the Mac realm for a while now, but when I left, I would estimate at least 70% of the MacOS features were available as third-party shareware or freeware apps before they were part of the OS. I remember using "Launcher" before there were such things as "Aliases". Another good example is the Extensions Manager control panel. I wonder how many of those were purchased by Apple and how many Apple just made their own versions.
  • "When you have a great idea, you want more than 2 percent of the global market to have access to it."

    If that is the case, why did you not develope it for Windows in the first place? Also, I challenge the notion that this was "your idea".

    DaringFireball has an excellent article on why this is bullshit. Google for it if you want to know more.
  • I wanted to use Konfabulator for my Intranet stuff. Basically, instead of manually consolidating information from all my servers, I was going to add REAL simple reporting scripts that could be accesseed via Konfabulator, and let everyone on my network access them.

    HOWEVER, the Konfabulator guys have made it a User based system (in OS X, settings are stored in "Library," and you have a ~/Library, /Library, /System/Library, and /Network/Library... Konfabulator will ONLY use the ~/Library, where it SHOULD go
  • how is confabulator different from samurize which is what I think konfabulator was copied from.

    Why should someone switch from Samurize to confabulator?

  • Kapsules (Score:3, Interesting)

    by palad1 ( 571416 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @10:52AM (#10734007) []

    uses the .net Framework, most widgets are written in Perl/Ruby .net. Works great for me, still needs some polish though.

  • by mellon ( 7048 ) * on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:16AM (#10734227) Homepage that if I write a widget with it and want to share it, everybody with whom I want to share it has to buy a Konfabulator license. The license isn't unreasonably expensive, but it's not free, and that's sufficient friction that it's just not worth bothering with as far as I'm concerned--I think very few people would ever cough up for the license, so I'd have wasted my time.

    So like it or not, Apple is actually doing something that works out really well for me. I'm sorry it doesn't work out well for the Konfabulator folks, but unfortunately I think their business model was unrealistic.
  • by ghjm ( 8918 ) on Friday November 05, 2004 @02:49PM (#10736309) Homepage
    It runs widgets that tell you a stock price or the power left in your battery, not in windows but integreated borderlessly into the desktop.

    So, basically, what we're saying is: Some company wrote Active Desktop for Mac(*), and now they're porting it to Windows.

    But, didn't all(**) the Windows users turn off Active Desktop back in 1998/99 or thereabouts? And if they wanted to turn it back on, wouldn't they just do that, rather than paying good money for some third-party program?

    I don't get this idea.


    (*) I am well aware that whatever-the-hell for Mac probably came out well before Active Desktop ever did. However, before you flame me on this point, please understand that I don't give a crap.

    (**) Everyone who works in tech support knows at least one (l)user who still has Active Desktop enabled. However, it's a mistake, and even that (l)user's co-workers all know it.

A language that doesn't have everything is actually easier to program in than some that do. -- Dennis M. Ritchie