A leaked preview of Apple Computer's plans for its next OS, Rhapsody, has been making the rounds of the Web.
The document, entitled "Rhapsody, User Experience, Preliminary Design Document," outlines the design considerations and preliminary interface of Apple's next-generation operating system. The focus of the report is on the operating system as it relates to the user.
IS managers will be happy that individual users' settings and desktops can be stored centrally as a profile. This capability is currently available in OpenStep, and will allow centralised management of desktops. Users will also be able to log in and see their familiar desktops and settings from anywhere on the network.
Much of Mac OS System 8's user experience will be carried over to Rhapsody, which will include the addition of a special window down the left side of the screen known as the Tray. The Tray stores a link to the user's home directory, all mounted storage devices, and the trash.
Another area that is addressed by the report is Apple's next-generation OS and compatibility with current Mac OS applications. Rather than force software developers to port any and all applications to Rhapsody as soon as it is released, Apple is providing a compatibility layer so users can access legacy data and applications.
Three different strategies have been devised for dealing with compatibility between OSes: running Mac OS in a window on the Rhapsody desktop; running Mac OS full screen and hot-keying between it and Rhapsody; and dual-booting between Mac OS and Rhapsody.
Running the OS in a window will be the most convenient for users but the least compatible with some applications, according to the document. Dual-booting should allow users to continue to run any problematic applications, according to the document.
Sharing files between the two file systems is another issue addressed in the report. According to the report, in-house developers are working on a shared file-system space that will allow users to have access to and from both operating systems. Users' home directories will be stored in this shared space so that users have access to their data from both Mac OS and Rhapsody.
Apple would neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of the information.