September 13, 2000 7:34 AM   Subscribe

Lame I was hoping to start my day by either purchasing the OSX beta or begin the long d/l process. Unfortunately, 30 minutes later and Apple's Store servers have yet to complete the process due to 500 Internal Server errors and 4 timed out sessions. I thought OSX Servers were better than any in the world? So forget it. Steve, you can have your eye candy.
posted by Brilliantcrank (22 comments total)
I thought OSX Servers were better than any in the world?

Did Apple actually say that? If so, they were lying and you should have known it.

And does the Apple store really run on a Mac? I doubt that, too.
posted by daveadams at 7:43 AM on September 13, 2000

And why exactly are we supposed to care? Oh please please, post a link for every 404 or 500 error you ever run across -- it's a global conspiracy, and we must track it! Eternal vigilance friends, eternal vigilance!
posted by aramaic at 7:59 AM on September 13, 2000 [1 favorite]

It's working now! Must mean OSX Servers are better than any in the world. I want your eye candy, Steve!
posted by ericost at 8:37 AM on September 13, 2000 [1 favorite]

They updated the iBook's too. Makes one wonder if they'll finally push up the Powerbooks to a G4 status.
posted by Cavatica at 8:56 AM on September 13, 2000 uses WebObjects, which is actually a very robust Content management System and ecommerce software package. As far aas Mac OS X beta goes, I don;t think it's quite ready for public consumption. The "unix shock" most Mac users are going to experience might be a big problem.

Personally, I won't switch to Mac OS X until BBedit and Photoshop have been written for it natively.
posted by camworld at 8:59 AM on September 13, 2000 [1 favorite]

That's right, Steve promised that everyone in the world would be able to download the beta in the first 30 minutes of availability. What utter and despicable failure. Why, there are people in Botswana who don't even have computers! What was he thinking?!
posted by dhartung at 9:14 AM on September 13, 2000 [1 favorite]

As much as I hate to join in the apple bashing, I have to say that I've never heard of a company charging for a beta before. Thirty bucks for something that you want my help to debug? Please.
posted by fraying at 9:22 AM on September 13, 2000

I agree with Camworld. Give me Photoshop, BBEdit (which, btw, has just come out with version 6 that is XHTML 1.0 compliant --hey Bare Bones, we're already up to version 1.1), and a few other major apps.

I love Macs. Had the very first one in '84. But charging for a beta is the height of arrogance, IMHO.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 9:28 AM on September 13, 2000

Actually, the win98 betas were $29 or so a couple years back. I remember MS/Bill getting taken over the coals for that one.
posted by mathowie at 9:56 AM on September 13, 2000 [1 favorite]

The way I see it, they don't even have to release this beta version to people at all. Just be happy that if you do want it, you can actually get it.
posted by vitaflo at 10:06 AM on September 13, 2000

I have to say that I've never heard of a company charging for a beta before.

Last I heard, that was standard practice for new Microsoft operating systems.

posted by Mars Saxman at 10:48 AM on September 13, 2000

>>I have to say that I've never heard of a company charging for a beta before.<<

I guess you've never bought version 1.0 of any piece of software Microsoft's ever published.
posted by aaron at 11:16 AM on September 13, 2000

Charging $30 for a public beta isn't all that unheard of. Imagine trying to download something as large as Mac OS X over a saturated network. Not very fun.

Besides, I think it's smart for Apple to create some kind of barrier in acquiring the public beta. Imagine the thousands of clueless people who hear that there is a new OS, go download and install it and then call Apple screaming that they want their data back. Not to mention the sheer fundamental differences between Mac OS 9 and mac OS X -- the majority of the Macs users just aren't going to ready for a change that big. Better to string it out a little, get the early adopters to use the public beta, and slowly ramp up the adoption rate among the Mac using markets.

It's very common also for Linux companies to charge $30 for an OS that's considered free. This is to cover the overhead of making the CD-ROMS, the packaging, the installer, and all the other niceties that come with a commercial Linux OS.

I see no problem at all with Apple charging $30 for a beta OS. And please remember, it is beta. You are responsible for any damage it may do your data, not Apple.
posted by camworld at 11:43 AM on September 13, 2000

If it's a physical distribution rather that simply a download, they are required by law to charge at least their expenses. If they charge less than it costs them, it is legally "dumping" under the antitrust laws and is legally actionable.

That's why when IE5 was released last year, you could download it for free, but if you wanted it on a CD you had to pay $7. That's because $7 was what it cost MS to reproduce the disk and to mail it. (Most places gouge you for S&H.) And by law MS couldn't distribute it for less than it actually cost them per unit to reproduce and mail. (This is known as "cost of sales" and is distinct from "fixed costs" like all the money they spent developing the software.)

The reason the download was free is that they weren't paying per-gigabyte to ConXion, which sourced most of the download. Instead, they were paying a flat rate no matter how much downloading happened and by so doing made it "fixed cost" instead of "cost of sales".

That's different under the law; you are required to make back your "cost of sales" (the amount of money it costs you to reproduce and distribute one copy) but not your "fixed costs" (not matter what they are nor how large they are). If MS had been paying ConXion per-gigabyte, then they'd have had to charge for download, too, because then there's be a non-zero "cost of sales". But with a fixed-cost contract not related to amount of bandwidth used, it became 'fixed costs" and didn't fall under the law.

There are some rather odd aspects of the antitrust laws which were written back in the era when manufacturing wasn't free and everything cost something to reproduce. Now we have a valuable commodity which can be reproduced for essentially no cost at all, and the rules act rather strangely under those conditions. Set things up properly (as MS did with IE5) and you can give software away without violating the "dumping" law.

However, if for instance Apple is using their own servers, and if their backbone connection is metered so that they pay per gigabyte of traffic (which is common), then even downloads from Apple legally have a non-zero "cost of sales" and it is legally required that Apple charge at least as much as that bandwidth is costing them per copy downloaded.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 12:08 PM on September 13, 2000 RUNS on MacOS X Server (not to be confused with MacOS X).

Lots of companies charges for a beta release. For example, Microsoft charges for beta software since Win95 beta (35 dollars I think).

The problem with the 500 errors is because the excesive load of users. Maybe they didn't put the software on a dedicated server, but with all the other software to download. So if 10 million people visit in one day, imagine the additional load to the servers with the OSX public beta...

I think Photoshop 6 is ready for OSX. I don't know about BBEdit, but with the backward compatibility, I don't think BBEdit on OSX is an issue...
posted by neo at 12:09 PM on September 13, 2000

MacOS X Server shares [essentially] the guts of MacOS X.

Rich has already said [well, yesterday] that the OS X version of BBEdit will ship when OS X does: most of the preparation for the move to OS X was done during the rewrite of that became BBEdit 5.
posted by theparanoidandroid at 12:33 PM on September 13, 2000

To blazes with X; I want my iMovie v.2, which was promised for early September.
posted by lileks at 12:50 PM on September 13, 2000

So does OS X Server run on different hardware than Apple produces? I can't imagine running a website and store that big on the hardware Apple makes, which are essentially workstations. Either that or they've got a whole bunch of G4s behind round-robin DNS!
posted by daveadams at 1:06 PM on September 13, 2000

Um, runs on Solaris.

So does, for bandwidth reasons. Don't assume :)
posted by schampeo at 1:18 PM on September 13, 2000

Stats on the G4 server. I don't have anything to do with web servers, but it sounds kinda beefy.
posted by thirteen at 1:36 PM on September 13, 2000

Sez Aaron: "I guess you've never bought version 1.0 of any piece of software Microsoft's ever published."

Sez me: Amen, brother! ;-)
posted by fraying at 2:14 PM on September 13, 2000

I wish it would have been $20 instead of $30 but I was happy the store was overwhelmed with requests for a beta OS. After all--what if Steve gave a beta OS and nobody came?
posted by wiinga at 6:50 PM on September 13, 2000

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