Dashboard vs. Konfabulator

A sliding puzzle. A calculator. A clock. A little notepad. Tiny little applets — little pieces of software that are something less than full applications themselves, but which run alongside real apps and are easily accessed at any time. Obviously, Apple ripped off the idea for Dashboard. Stolen wholesale, without even the decency to mention where they took the original idea. Which, of course, would be the desk accessories from the original 1984 Macintosh... Source: Daring Fireball John Gruber has a great look at Dashboard and why it is not a rip of Konfabulator. Sure they are similar. But from reading David Hyatt's blog I see where the differences are.


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Comments (5)

I could say some pretty harsh things about Mr. Gruber, but I'm too nice... Anyway...

His argument falls a little short in one area. Where did the "desk accessories" go between the old original Mac's and OS X Tiger? Why is it that the Mac hasn't had "desk accessories" until Dashboard, even though Konfabulator was out there.

Another argument I have is his argument that Dashboard and Konfabulator are completely different underneath. That is such a load of crap from him. Apple doesn't put up with people "stealing" the look and feel of their products. Look at the iPod. There have been several programs out there that either used a dirivitive of the name or copied the look and feel for the sake of MP3 players for Windows and PocketPC. Yet, Apple managed to squash those products before they even had a change to be seen by more than a handfull of people. Yet Apple doesn't feel the least bit of guilt for going out and blatently copying the look and feel of other people's software. Why? Simple, they can afford any legal backlash that it make cause. How in the world can Konfabulator even come close to fighting Apple. Please...

It's really a shame that the folks at Konfabulator didn't patent their ideas. Assuming they could. (That desk accessory thing again) Then we wouldn't be having this discussion at all.

BTW, I've been really looking forward to a Windows version of Konfabulator. They keep having problems getting the code developed, but they are still working on it. There is a group developing a programing for Windows called Kapsules. (Interesting name...) It's pretty much a copy of Konfabulator. I would be looking at it more, but their website won't let me download the files. Something about a firewall and hotlinking what ever all that means.

Where did the ĺ─˙desk accessoriesĺ─¨ go between the old original Macĺ─˘s and OS X Tiger?

I can see your point here. But look at all the things that went to nowhere land between the end of OS 9 and when they finally popped up in a future version of OS X. OS 10.0.0 was missing so many things that we had come to love and use in OS 9.

Tiger's new Spotlight search features, a lot of the options I see are right out of good old Sherlock in OS 9 that were never brought to OS X, even in Panther.

Labels, OS 9 had labels, and we had to wait to Panther for labels.

I could go on and on with this subject. Apple has added a lot of "features" to OS X that were mainstays of OS 9.

Yes Konfabulator and Dashboard both use JavaScript. But Dashboard uses more, including a Cocoa shell if you like.

Konfabulator has been down right buggy as hell at times, making OS X crash. I for one am glad to see the "widgets" thing built into the OS.

Now if you want to talk about a blatant rip off, once of which I have not seen credible rebuttal about, lets talk Watson.

When Apple turned Sherlock into a web services application, directly copying the feature set of Watson, that was a rip off. They changed the function of their software!

They should have bought the Watson team, then they would not be partnering with Sun and making their software for other platforms. That partnership might be because of how Apple handled the new Sherlock, who knows.

I am really glad that Konfabulator is coming to Windows. There is Object Desktop but that is mighty expensive, and I fiddled with it a bit and it is not as easy as Konfabulator to make widgets of your own. Object Desktop is object oriented, but pseudo Javascript is still easier for me. Konfabulator has a great price too, thats a big factor.

Were the desk accessories in OS 9? I guess there were. I seem to remember a calculator. I still contend that the "desk accessories" that were around before Dashboard were not anything like Konfabulator.

Also, from what I have been seeing in blogland (I can't remember where I saw it), Dashboard is using some older standard of HTML instead of XML. There was an entry in the blog today discussing the reasons for using this weird HTML. However, I digress...

Since I don't use a Mac on a daily basis anymore, I don't know much about Sherlock other than it was a fair file search utility.

Spotlight looks interesting. I like the fact that they are taking the search feature in iTunes and possibly iPhoto and putting it in the OS itself. I'm not sure about the way it works in the control panel, but ehh.

Claiming "prior art" is sometimes a sticky subject. Apple has had "desk accessories" in early versions of the Mac OS. I remember them being called that at that time. Now if Dashboard is the 21st century place to keep all your desk accessories, then if that is what Apple wants to call it, then that is what Apple is going to call it.

I see the point of 3rd party developers crying foul, but like I said, I would much rather it come built into the OS.

Point: I as an avid Mac OS X user am getting frickin't tired of being nickele'd and dime'd ($5, $10, $20) to death for small little utilities.

I know small utilities like these small OS X shareware apps are free on linux, and for the most part free on Windows as well. It maybe that the Mac market is small enough that there is place to charge a fairly small amount of money, and people, like me, will pay for it. And I am OK with that, the more Mac software developers making money the better. But at some point there has to be a limit.

Yea this is getting long, and I need to devote a 'proper' rant to it. Soon enough...


Thinking that desk accessories disappeared from the Mac OS from the classic versions to OS X is invalid. The old 68k version of the Mac OS wasn't a multi-tasking environment. You opened one app and were stuck in that application until you quit. There was no hiding of windows, and having more than one application open at once was only a dream. When System 8-9 came about (maybe as early as system 7) you could perform multiple functions at once. Hence all the desk accessories got thrown into their own apps, rather than one program for all the needs.

Stickies has been around for ages, as has the calculator. The puzzle program was in all version of the OS until X, when it was dropped. Control panels evolved into more complex and useful settings and could no longer be contained in one simple window. KeyCaps has even found a nook in various versions of OS X. Konfontabulator's only innovation was bringing back a bunch of these small programs into one screen.

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