Konfabulator creator claims Apple is copying them with Mac OS X Tiger’s ‘Dashboard’

“Apple Computer is predicting that rivals will mimic Mac OS X Tiger, but one developer says it’s the new Mac operating system that is doing the copying,” Ina Fried reports for CNET News. “Arlo Rose is outraged at the similarity of Apple’s Dashboard, previewed earlier Monday by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, to his Konfabulator, a $25 Macintosh program. Both programs allow easy access to small programs called Widgets, which can perform a number of useful little tasks.”

“‘It’s insulting, is what it is,’ Rose said in a telephone interview. ‘They could have at least offered to work with us or to buy it.’ Apple, for its part, maintains that Dashboard is the company’s own creation, noting that Widgets have long been a part of Mac OS X and the NextStep OS,” Fried reports. “‘The goal isn’t to be like anything else,’ Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller said in an interview. ‘It’s not his stuff. What we’ve done is ours.'”

“Rose and co-creator Perry Clarke released Konfabulator in February 2003. ‘There really wasn’t anything like it when we came out.’ Now, Rose said, a number of copycat programs are on the market,” Fried reports. “By treading closely on outside developers, Rose said, Apple risks killing the incentive to write Mac software. ‘Why should developers want to work on their platform?'”

Full article here.


  1. Ever heard of Desk Accessories? Arlo Rose = Hypocrite. This was not an original idea of his and Apple isn’t stealing anything from him. It’s just sour grapes on his part because Apple didn’t write him a check…

  2. ‘They could have at least offered to work with us or to buy it.’

    Yep, he’s just pissed that he didn’t get a check. Unfortunately for Rose, this concept has been around for a long time and he certainly wasn’t the one that invented it.

  3. Hmmm, I use Konfabultor a lot. I paid for a license and registered too. I thought it was great that a couple of guys came out with something like this that was Mac first and Apple only (even tho they are porting to windows now I heard). This sounds like Apple thought it was cool and just snapped it up. I heard something similiar happened with Watson and Sherlock. I love Apple but they really shouldn’t step on somebody like this if they want to continue to have people develope really really cool things for the mac. Unless I am wrong (please let me be wrong) we should call Apple on this. They have the cash to have paid for something like this and should have given the developer his due. At this point, Dashboard sure sounds like Konfabulator to me. Oh BTW will Konfabulator widgets work in Dashboard?

  4. There’s a difference between one developer copying another, which is fine, because it makes the market more competitive, and the platform vendor integrating a product into the OS, which destroys all competition.

    It’s just rude of Apple to have done this. Desk Accessories these are not. They even stole the name.

  5. So what? Yeah, it’s a total rip off. Apple should give Arlo a free copy of OS X or a coupon for some sushi at Cafe Macs or something.

    Arlo should have gotten a patent or two, or focused on an area not directly in the shadow of Apple’s tree (Desk Accessories)

    Besides, the Konfab developers should be able to make short work converting their sprokets to Dashboard and get some real exposure!

  6. ahem.. guys? didn’t Longhorn have something called a Sidebar.. which would hold such useless information as.. weather, a big freakin clock, new mail etc.


  7. all those widgets are ugly, even the apple created ones…who cares and who needs them, nothin new here, just another bunch of crappy desk accessories.

  8. Let me just preface my schpeel by announcing that I don’t think Apple is perfect. They’re just a bit better than, you know who ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    But anyway, I’m confused by this…

    [“By treading closely on outside developers, Rose said, Apple risks killing the incentive to write Mac software. ‘Why should developers want to work on their platform?'”]

    When Microsoft hoses another smaller Sw company – like taking code from a competing: media software format; memory manager; etc., and stuffing it into their software – no one bitches, everyone cheers that M$ is stronger for it.

    I guess there’s different rules for Apple.

    [Desk Accessories these are not. They even stole the name.]

    And, I’m confused by this claim.

  9. Oh BTW, I agree with ‘tom’, “Who cares?” Why is Apple – whether they have intentionally stepped on toes or not – doing this?

    Desk Accessories were a hack to accommodate the low memory configs in early Macs. Some DAs were very, very cool. I even remember a spreadsheet DA that would let you fold columns and allow almost full Ss features. Forget them name. And a couple of cool game DAs. But…

    Is RAM in short supply these days? Is VM in short supply?

    I don’t ‘get’ this ‘feature’.


  10. Actually, I think Konfabulator looks much better than Apple. Then again, even when I get Tiger I’ll want to turn them little uglies off. I can’t afford any more real estate for my desktop and Santa says I haven’t been good enough for a 30 inch monitor.

    I disagree, Rob. I feel Konfabulator’s pain. Apple should have given these guys something real besides a swift kick in the nads. Maybe before 2005 everyone will kiss and make up, and Konfabuator will pocket some cash. It’s just the right thing to do.

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