April 26, 2005

Longhorn: Today's technology, tomorrow!


Not content to imitate Mac OS X Tiger, today Bill Gates unveiled that Longhorn is going to contain a giant rip-off of Delicious Library, as well!

I know this sounds like a joke, but check out the screenshots above from his keynote at WinHEC. Hey, if only there were some way that you could have an online catalog of books, movies, music, and videogames... and what if you displayed the full-size covers of those items, and there was a search field to refine your choices, and a slider to zoom in and out, and you could buy an item with a single click? Yah. Someone should invent something like that.

The amazing thing is THERE IS NOT ONE INNOVATION IN THIS. 100% of the things in this screenshot are things we did first in Delicious Library, except for the ├╝ber-ugly look of their shelves. That's theirs. (And apparently you can view the BACK of the cover in theirs. Man, they are thinking OUTSIDE THE BOX!)

I'm amazed, yet appalled. Seriously, if there were ONE SINGLE THING in there that wasn't a copy of us, I'd think maybe they came up with the idea on their own. But... exactly the same categories as we have? You couldn't add any others? Like, say, software titles? I mean, you're Microsoft, why would you not have a category for software? Oh, because WE didn't think of it for you?

Zoom slider at the bottom? Couldn't be anywhere else? Search field at the bottom? I mean, come on, guys. Sure, you moved the categories to the top, but, seriously. This is just embarrassing for you.

Next week: Bill announces that he's going to invent the "laptop" computer, if we all just wait two years.


ADDENDUM: I should point out that it's my personal opinion that this demo is a rip-off of Delicious Library. Mike actually disagrees -- he thinks it's a wild coincidence that they have all the similarities.

Some people have pointed out on this and other forums that the program in question was just a "technology demo" of the kind of the thing people "might" do when and if Avalon ever comes out. But what's funny, to me, is that they take someone else's idea and say, "Look, this is the kind of thing we can enable in two years! Wait for it! It's gonna be great! Ignore that the interesting part of this is available today!"

Now, you can argue that it's not the same idea, that they came up with it independently. I admit that's a possibility (and Mike's on your side), but I think there are too many similarities for it to be coincidence.

Also, I should point out that in my view Microsoft has EVERY RIGHT to make an app similar to mine, or do a demo of one. I don't believe in software patents and all that crud.

For instance, check out mCatalog.

Note that this nice fellow actually copied the Delicious Library interfaces directly (and said as much). All I asked him to do was give us credit on his site, and I granted him a permanent license to use our interfaces for free. (Plus, he has our product name on his page, so it comes up if you search for open source versions of our program.) So, I'm not claiming "the idea of a library is mine for all time and nobody can touch it."

All I'm saying is, I think Microsoft's demo was based on my work, and I don't like seeing it copied without getting credit. There. Also, Mike disagrees. Of course, I disagree with Mike's blog sometimes, and that's cool.



Anonymous Aaron Brethorst said...

The Media Mania demo you're referring to was actually meant to demonstrate what types of apps Avalon will easily enable. You can see the demo where this first showed up on Channel 9: http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=58938.


April 25, 2005 7:50 PM

Blogger Wil Shipley said...

Well, yes, it was a demo. Of the kinds of things Avalon will enable. Someday. Maybe.

But, the point is, the demo was based on Library. Everything in the demo was from Library, with some 3D glitz on it. It wasn't a complete Library, because Microsoft can't write complete apps any more -- they're a demo factory now.

When they take our ideas and use them as a demo for what they MIGHT be able to do in the future, I think that's lame.

April 25, 2005 10:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually a demo? Huh so what a demo copied is still copied. For Demo apps Gates should just point to OS X and Delicious... Microsoft is just dishonest to the top... when will Time etc make these observations a little more pointedly???

April 26, 2005 7:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, look at all those Beatles CDs for sale! Just seems like a little knock at Apple. Pretty funny if petty actually. :-)

April 26, 2005 7:20 AM

Blogger tom owen said...

don't worry will, it doesn't look half as nice as delcicious library. Plus, you said you weren't ever going onto the windows platform and i doubt they'll go to the mac platform so they'll never be competition, but if they did, it would still be no competition : )

April 26, 2005 10:04 AM

Anonymous K. Brown said...

I think the what Jobs said last week applies here:

"They are shamelessly copying us,"

Tiger, the next version of Mac OS X, will go on sale later this month, while Longhorn is still more than a year away.

"They can't even copy fast"

April 26, 2005 11:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering that the look of the Delicious Library web site is a total rip-off of the "Monsters Inc." art direction (right down to the logo), Delicious really doesn't have legs to stand on when it comes to moral indignation. Pot calling the kettle black.

April 26, 2005 1:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second that last comment and add that this posting seems more like a desperate cry for eyeball attention than a justified beef with copying intellectual material. DM wasn't the first company to think of a searchable media catalog and it won't be the last. Seems more like a transparent ploy to sell more copies of DL by riding the PR coat tails of Longhorn and Apple (by equating themselves with Steve and company) and that stinks.

April 26, 2005 1:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be very interested to know how much more code their demo required, compared to your whole app. I'm guessing 3:1 at least.

April 26, 2005 1:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but DL hardly needs to ride MS's "coattails" when it comes to publicity. Wil and Mike got the attention they have, because DL is a brilliantly innovative program. Sure, there were other library cataloging apps before, and they were about as exciting as the proverbial bucket of warm spit. DL jumped right to the front of the pack, because they got their UI and workflow *exactly* right.

April 26, 2005 1:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but DL hardly needs to ride MS's "coattails" when it comes to publicity. Wil and Mike got the attention they have, because DL is a brilliantly innovative program. Sure, there were other library cataloging apps before, and they were about as exciting as the proverbial bucket of warm spit. DL jumped right to the front of the pack, because they got their UI and workflow *exactly* right.

April 26, 2005 1:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you're saying that the underlying idea pre-dates DL and that Dl's 'innovation' was putting a good UI on top of it - a UI that is arrived at by following well-established UI principles.

April 26, 2005 6:45 PM

Blogger Wil Shipley said...

Ok, seriously, you might think our logo looks a bit like the Monsters, Inc. logo, that's fine. Honestly, I'd ask you to try to take the letter D and the letter M and make a monster out of them, and see what you end up with. We've got a page full of monsters, and we picked the cutest one. Ours has horns and toes and a big curvy smile and a licky tongue.

Pretty much all it has in common with Monsters, Inc. is an eyeball (it's a monster), and the letter M. Well, M is for monster, it's hard to get around that.

But, fine, it has the same kind of spirit, so I could see how you might think it's an homage to Monsters, Inc.

But, seriously, our web site? For one thing, it was done by a totally different company than the one that did our logo. For another, WHAT MOVIE DID YOU WATCH? Because the Monsters, Inc. I saw had absolutely NOTHING in common with our website. I don't even know how you'd make such a claim. Our web site is all organic and flatly colored and brown and green. Which part do you think came from that movie? Why not say we copied Finding Nemo? Or Little Nemo? Or Remo WIlliams: The Adventure Begins? Neiman Marcus? Paul Newman?

The website was done by Capacitor Design (in consultation with Mike, of course). They've done a ton of work for big names like Xbox and Burton. I'm really happy with what they did for us, and we had the artist do a bunch more for us, including our new T-shirts.

April 27, 2005 4:40 AM

Anonymous Denis said...

Oh boy! People people!! Don't argue ! It's just an opinion that WS was stating on "HIS" blog and nothing else! Be glad that he's actually letting a person say something bad about what he has accomplished with Library.
OH yeah and one more thing ... Windows BLOWS !

April 27, 2005 6:11 AM

Anonymous Ronny Fenrich said...

oh come on man. I saw this avalon demo about 2 years ago. Maybe you ripped something from them? Maybe not.

Better use your time to make your own software better - check the speed of there implementation... Thats something we would like to see in DL too. Just rip it off :-)


April 27, 2005 9:35 AM

Blogger Jesper said...

"I saw this avalon demo about 2 years ago." That's interesting, considered that they showcased it at WinHEC earlier this week.

April 28, 2005 5:19 PM

Anonymous kc! said...

You should just make Delicious Library for PC and totally show them up.

May 04, 2005 9:52 AM

Anonymous Steve said...

Microsoft have had "library" demos for years, along with several Amazon demos and things like medical software, etc.

It has nothing to do with DL at all. That's just absurd. The demo was put together to show off Avalon, including features like vector graphics and scaleability. And 3D animated icons on buttons - which is pretty awesome IMHO. I don't think a demo is something to get yourself worked up about.

May 04, 2005 11:28 AM

Blogger Eric Jasso said...

Uh, for the dumbass that implied the DM site was a rip of Monsters Inc, you are a dumbass.

I've worked as a designer and art director for years...and you don't know shit.

May 09, 2005 1:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with Wil...

If Microsoft's demo is not a rip-off, then how come that almost every single user interface elements (zoom slider, search field, category names) of it is in the very same place as in the Delicious Monster application?

Don't tell me that the MS developers sat down and made an interface that so closely resembles the DM's GUI just by accident...

May 09, 2005 9:24 AM

Anonymous Dan Ridley said...

I’m surprised nobody else chimed in to say how incredibly cool your attitude toward mCatalog is. So let me say: that’s very, very cool.

And hey, by having mCatalog mention your product on their site, you get yourself an upgrading userbase when the Linux kiddies grow up and buy OS X. :-)

June 27, 2005 10:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

MediaMan for windows is another rather similar product.

June 29, 2005 3:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

gee, do you think they got permission to use the Beatles album art?

June 29, 2005 11:09 AM

Blogger The Deich said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

July 02, 2005 10:19 PM

Blogger The Deich said...

Linux "kiddies"? what the hell? Linux is a huge open-source project, starting way before OS X, and isn't about money. Apple has largely been considered a joke company untill OS X, and if they want to be taken seriously by ig-time developers, they have to make an OS devoted to developers. Linux kicks OS X's ASS when it comes to developing.

July 02, 2005 10:22 PM

Anonymous Enrique Comba Riepenhausen said...

Well, sorry for saying this, but it heavily depends what you really develop.

I am (or was, but still am) a LINUX geek. Always running around with my vaio labtop with my neet Debian Linux installed on it and my enlightenment window manager...

Then I saw the fine powerbooks Apple sells with the fine Mac OSX and I have to tell that I tested the OSX a bit on the labtop of a friend and that made me swithc over to a PowerBook 12". It is a great machine for development... AND ... by unsing Fink you can even run your favourite Debian Linux applications and install them via apt-get.

You should give it a try, but on the other hand you will not have the freedom of reprogramming your OS if you like (but to be honest how many of us do that?).

September 08, 2005 9:10 AM


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