Apple Computer is to make an unscheduled enhancement to the Rhapsody Developer Release, announcing it will ship later this month the "Blue Box," which enables native Mac OS applications to run within the Rhapsody operating system.
The Blue Box wasn't scheduled to be delivered until Rhapsody's initial release in early 1998, but the component was ready early, so Apple will make it available to its pool of 10,000 developers.
"It rounds out the technology and demonstrates this isn't just smoke and mirrors," says Ernie Prabhakar, Rhapsody product marketing manager. "We're not making any claims to computability or performance, but it's better than nothing."
Developers received the first developer release for Rhapsody, Apple's next-generation operating system, in October, which enabled them to begin creating native "Yellow Box" Rhapsody applications.
The Blue Box enables users to switch between full-screen Blue Box and Yellow Box environments.
The company has its reasons for seeding Blue Box to developers early.
"The more people we get banging on it, the better the initial release will be," says Jordan Dea-Mattson, senior Rhapsody evangelist.
Until this release, no copies of the Blue Box have been made available to anyone outside Apple.
The Blue Box technically is a Mac OS virtual machine that runs in Rhapsody. It currently runs Mac OS 8, and should be compatible with any software that doesn't make hardware calls.
Rhapsody for PC-compatibles and the OpenStep Yellow Box for Windows have also been delivered since the initial October developer release, so Windows developers can also begin to develop Yellow Box applications. The Blue Box, however, will not run on the PC version of Rhapsody.
Rhapsody is being positioned by Apple as a server operating system and high-end desktop client, the same path Microsoft took with its NT operating system.]