A trail behind Steve Jobs, again




In 1990, Jean-Louis Gassé left Apple, taking with him the project manager Newton, Steve Sakoman, to create a new computer platform, and conquer the world. Where did his love for the Macs go? How could he abandon the Newton project?

In fact, Jean-Louis Gassé left Apple not on his own initiative. Pricing á la Gassé, until 1990, successfully brought to Apple Computer accounts unprecedented in the industry superannuation, began to fail. The world has changed. Cheap PCs were getting better and cost much less.

The Board of Directors was very dissatisfied with the fall in sales and revenue, the company’s share price was falling, John Scully was disappointed in his employee, and, for the time being, only hinted that Jean-Louis had not needed his services.

The media of those days cited another reason: Jean-Louis was categorically against selling licenses for the Mac’s operating system to third-party computer manufacturers. Indeed, he was against cloning Macs, but John Sculley, and the majority on the company’s board of directors, also objected to cloning.

Nothing personal: if income and share prices fall, someone must answer for it.

Jean-Louis preferred to leave himself.

How the subordinates of Jean-Louis found out that he was “leaving” the company, I do not know. Maybe he told someone about it himself. Or someone accidentally heard something, but before the Apple headquarters there was a spontaneous rally of protest.

The protesters demanded to leave Jean-Louis in the company, and in general appoint him head of Apple. The local analog of SWAT (SWAT) shamelessly withdrew from solving the problem, and Scully was not particularly worried.

Mass media informed readers of the stunning details of the protest: thousands of people dressed in black leather jackets, with diamond rings in their ears (in the style of Jean-Louis), shouted slogans and were very determined … Soon they had to write a refutation: only one protester was dressed like Jean-Louis, the protesters were no more than 20, and they behaved peacefully.

However, SWAT would intervene only if the protesters, with weapons in their hands, rushed to storm the office of the company. Or would go to smash the bars and stores of Cupertino.

Jean-Louis, accompanied by a security guard, with personal belongings in a box, got into the car in the parking lot of the company, and drove away through the emergency exit.

Continuation, beginning , the previous part .

Be, Inc
Jean-Louis was constrained in maneuvers. Steve could invest his own money in the new project, and not depend on anyone in the most difficult first days. Jean-Louis knew who could help him, but to get money he had to sit down for drawing up business plans and justify the amount he needed.

Seymour Cray was a good friend of his, but just did not intend to give money. Friendship is a friendship … Seymour was interested in the share in profits – which was very far. Jean-Louis’s ideas were interesting, he was the second in the industry executor of presentations (after Jobs), but this did not work for Kreia.

For several months, Jean-Louis Gassé and Steve Sakoman remained wealthy individuals with no specific occupations.

Gassé’s plans were Napoleonic: creating a new computer platform in which elegance and power would be combined with the purity of the design and the operating system.

A computer
Technical details? The first-born of the new platform was, roughly speaking, the stationary version of the first prototypes of Newton, with a more powerful version of the processors from AT & T , in the number of four pieces (instead of two less powerful ones in the prototype Newton). Those same “hobbits”, from which Apple soon refused.

But now it was commercially available, cleared of bugs and errors, AT & T 92020 Hobbit, processors with CRISP architecture, combining high performance with low power consumption (and with low heat generation).

CRISP is deciphered in two ways: “C-language Rational Instruction Set Computing” and “C-language Reduced Instruction Set Computing”. That is, “computation with rational for language C or with a reduced set of instructions.”

Strictly speaking, the processor could be attributed to both RISC and CISC processors, its creators pursued other goals. Practical. In Bell Labs, in the division of AT & T in which, at one time, the language C was created, they carefully followed the fate of this language. All of them were good, enjoyed a well-deserved popularity – and enjoy it to this day (nowadays, mostly in the form of C-like languages), it was convenient – but the architecture of the processors categorically did not meet its needs, because of what the productivity of programs written on C was significantly lower than it could be.

Dennis Ritchie (one of the authors of C) with a group of engineers developed a hypothetical C-processor, optimized for C and C-like languages. Theoretical model.

AT & T 92010 Hobbit and AT & T 92020 Hobbit were the “iron” embodiment of this theoretical model.

AT & T desperately tried to find consumers for its processor, Jean-Louis was one of the few appreciated by the Hobbits …

And he planned to write the operating system on C ++. AT & T confirmed to him: all the advantages of the processor are preserved for C ++ too.

In addition to the Hobbits, in the configuration of the computer it was planned to use processors for processing digital signals (DSP), several pieces. Before that, only Steve Jobs and his NeXT Computer used such processors in general-purpose computers.

Imitation? I do not know.

I do not give the name of the computer. Most likely, you know him. If not – in the next part I’ll let him know. While there was not even Be, Inc – and during the registration of the company could happen unexpected. The name could change.

operating system
The operating system was planned to write in C ++. The OS had to support multiprocessor configurations that superseded multitasking, protected virtual memory – that is, it had to meet all the signs of a “modern” OS.

At the same time, it was decided to do without embedding Unix, with which the system became immensely huge.

Jean-Louis was a witness and an unwitting participant in the epic with the first versions of A / UX, and he had reason to consider Unix systems unsuccessful and inelegant. On his own platform, everything will be elegant and beautiful.

Naturally, the system was planned as object-oriented – with those who had to create it, Jean-Louis and Steve discussed its future principles and small tricks, from which the market will faint with happiness.

Once Apple betrayed him, he will create a new Apple!

Jean-Louis’s words about his idea
The author communicated with Jean-Louis in July 1997, at Boston’s MacWorld – when Steve first appeared as the head of Apple (for the time being, Interim CEO, in iCEO it will be renamed after iMac), where Bill Gates’s face was broadcast on the whole huge screen, which complimented Mac’am … Galery whistled and stamped, on the street crowded people with placards demanding not to kill clones.

Be had a small stand at the MacWorld exhibition, next to the Power Computing booth. I did not notice a special excitement around these stands. Everything was calm. Gil Amelio did not like Be and its owner, and did not allow him to participate in MacWorld and other public events of the company. Steve’s presence, Be, Inc did not worry. He believed that this company is no longer there.

Jean-Louis no longer wore Jean-Louis’s uniform (a black leather jacket and earring in his ear), and was neither eccentric nor amusing.

Be’s business was not very good. On the shelf I still have a sealed CD with BeOS and programs for it. I had a dozen or two, I installed one at work, distributed the rest, left one disk for memory.

The system was … smart, clean, unfinished. Object-oriented environment was elegant, like poetry. Sadly, everything ended in nothing.

Word by word, and Jean-Louis said that he thinks about his attempt to create a new and the best platform in the world: “The time when it was possible to bring a new platform to the market was already coming to an end. We could be the last ones to do it, or the first to fail. We became the first. ”

We corresponded for a while. I almost got a job at Be, Inc. The programmer. I wrote in C ++ and was not the worst. I did not have a little time.


In: A Technology & Gadgets Asked By: [20320 Red Star Level]

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