Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.

With Dell taking the Windows experience to the next level with the introduction of the Dell Dock, I've seen a lot of online buzz about it.  Most agree that the Dell Dock is really good but intermixed are a lot of Mac fans who use terms like "Mac rip off" or how it's a copy of the Mac dock.

imageMac zealots have a long and glorious history of retroactively claiming pre-existing concepts as being invented by Apple.  For example, the modern "widget" (end user created applets that use Javascript) was not invented by Apple.  They also didn't first appear in Konfabulator either. They appeared in Stardock DesktopX years earlier. Apple zealots usually counter by arguing that things like desktop accessories from 1981 "invented" the concept (as if the average user was going to whip out small assembly language programs).

imageI think most rational people agree that the modern widget is a mini application that can be created by end users that are tied together with a high level scripting language (i.e. Yahoo Widgets, Dashboard, Sidebar Gadgets, DesktopX).  And DesktopX borrowed the concept from IBM's worksplace shell which in turn was inspired by prior art as well.

But the controversy over widgets is nothing compared to the claim that Apple somehow invented the concept of docks.  Even allowing for the history of NeXT with its side dock, the dock concept is ancient.

 Stardock, for example, has been doing "docks" since 1994.  Object Desktop for OS/2 included things like Tab LaunchPad and Control Center. You don't see Stardock fans complaining that every sidebar is a "rip off" of Control Center. And Control Center certainly didn't invent the concept of a side-based bar or dock either.

You would be hard pressed to find many companies that have been continuously producing a dock and a sidebar as long as Stardock has -- 14 consecutive years of development. I think it's fair to say that we weren't "inspired" by an Apple OS that wouldn't exist for 7 more years from the time we started doing this sort of thing.

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Tab LaunchPad on OS/2 circa 1994

Stardock makes no claims of having invented the dock.  We called our first dock Tab LaunchPad because IBM itself had created a dock for OS/2 2.0:

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IBM OS/2 LaunchPad circa 1992

But let's say you're a true die-hard Steve Jobs zealot and want to argue that NeXT "invented" the dock. You'd still be wrong as docks were part of Acorn computers from the early 80s.  The point, of course, isn't who invented the dock, the argument of course is whether companies like Stardock (who wrote the Dell Dock) were somehow ripping off or stealing or what have you from the MacOS dock and I think you can see why this is such an obnoxious and offensive argument - we've been making docks since before Apple had figured out how to do preemptive multitasking.

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words.  Here is a picture of what the Macintosh looked like in 1996 (System 7.5) along with a picture of Stardock Object Desktop in 1996:

image vs. image
Mac 1996 vs. Stardock Object Desktop 1996: Which desktop do you think more closely resembles today's modern desktop? Note that Object Desktop was written during the Windows 3.1 era.

Stardock doesn't run around claiming that it invented the modern desktop experience. We don't imply or assert that everyone else is "ripping us off". Some ideas are just obvious.

The Dell Dock represents the continuing evolution of the desktop experience. Like all improvements to the user experience, inspiration can be found everywhere. But when advocates of a company or an operating system try to lay exclusive claim to all such improvements, they diminish the hard work, innovation, and inventiveness by thousands of other people from around the world who often have worked in obscurity with little glory. It is bad enough that these innovators don't get credit they deserve, it's even worse when they are so often smeared as copying those who came after.

Other Pictures:

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Dell Dock

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Stardock ObjectDock

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Stardock ObjectDock Plus (4 different docks)

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Stardock Impulse Dock


Comments (Page 1)
on Jul 21, 2008
Don't you know Mac is better, did everything first? Their obviously right.   
on Jul 21, 2008
Wait . . . you can put a DOCK on your PC?
on Jul 21, 2008
Just goes to show you, history is always being rewritten.   

I tend to believe the facts as presented here, but like most people I will not let facts or history get in the way of my enjoyment of the software.  

Sometimes it's no so important who first brought the concept out as who is doing the most with it.   
on Jul 21, 2008
You totally copied their idea. And to make it really confusing, you did it before they did!
on Jul 21, 2008
Tell me more about this putting a dock on your PC.
on Jul 21, 2008
It's amazing how something can be ahead of it's time,then when others finally catch up,"they" were there first. Thanks for an interesting history lesson.
on Jul 21, 2008
better marketing = success!

ZubaZ goes to Amazon.com to buy Brad a hypercolor turtleneck and jeans
on Jul 21, 2008
You totally copied their idea. And to make it really confusing, you did it before they did!


You win a cookie.

Zubaz goes to Amazon.com to buy Brad a hypercolor turtleneck and jeans


A Rainbow-Brad would sure stand out in the crowd. You can surround him with a bunch of guys with blowdryers and water hoses so he can change colors at will. Just not his will.
on Jul 21, 2008
The best, first, most original dock is coming your way, hypersoon...
on Jul 21, 2008
Amiga. 10+ years earlier. Same "dock" functionality as Apple is claiming credit for.

Nothing to see here.
on Jul 21, 2008
hypersoon


is not.
on Jul 21, 2008

Gotta love those Mac people...  Apple has so filled thier heads so full of lies and advertising bs that they can't see the truth anymore.

Nothing against Apple itself, its a good computer and OS but between the commercials and the 'Macnatics' (my own word, mac+fanatics) I'm not sure I could ever get back into them.

on Jul 21, 2008

The RISC-OS dock:

http://www.netneurotic.net/bin/riscosdock.png

I believe RISC OS has had it since 1987.

NEXTSTEP (i.e. Mac OS X) had a dock since 1989, I believe.

If I am wrong and RISC OS' dock is newer (and NEXT's is not), the claim that Apple's dock was the first would be true.

I doubt many people outside England even know RISC OS.

 

on Jul 21, 2008
Well first off RISC-OS was already discussed here, Arcon computers were the creators of the OS. Though I do believe that is was referred to as the Arthur OS and not RISC-OS.

Second by your calculations 1987 is newer than 1989. Which means you must grasp a better understanding of time and space then the rest of us, or just made a mistake.

Third the Iconbar was developed and released prior to both Windows taskbar and and Mac's dock. Arcon was way ahead of it's time for GUI's on the pc.
on Jul 21, 2008
Thanks for the information. One more reason to be proud of our loving stardock.