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OS X has software maker switching gears

With the Unix-based Mac OS X operating system now included with every new Macintosh, Tenon Intersystems is discontinuing its Unix software for Apple's machines.

    With the Unix-based Mac OS X operating system now included with every new Macintosh, Tenon Intersystems is discontinuing its Unix software for Apple Computer's machines.

    Seeing the change coming for years, Tenon said it has been trying to transition from offering Unix on Apple computers to offering Unix-based programs that run on Macs. In its announcement this week, Tenon offered "close-out" prices on its remaining copies of its Power MachTen and MachTen CodeBuilder Unix software.

    "The writing was on the wall for many years," Tenon President Anita Holmgren said late Monday.

    Tenon said its MachTen software played an important role for a long time, allowing the Mac to act as a server for various specialized tasks such as running an electronic mailing list or hosting an FTP (file transfer protocol) site.

    "If you have a Macintosh that can run Mac OS X 10.1, Tenon strongly recommends Apple's new OS," the company said in its statement. "However, if you're not ready to jump to Mac OS X, or if you have hardware that is not Mac OS X capable, then Tenon's MachTen is a powerful tool that will put new life into an older Mac."

    This is not the first time that the small company, based in Santa Barbara, Calif., has run head first into Apple's product roadmap. In May 1999, Tenon announced its iTools Web server software for Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server.

    At the Macworld Expo in San Francisco in January 2000, Apple released several consumer Internet services under the same iTools brand.

    "We didn't think it was so decent of them," Holmgren said. "They were well aware of our product."

    An Apple representative did not immediately provide comment.

    Holmgren said sharing the iTools moniker has not been a major problem, with the biggest issue being that some Mac users have turned to Tenon looking for software that builds a home page or blocks children from accessing inappropriate Web sites--two features of Apple's iTools.