Cyberdog review

Joe Kiniry (
Wed, 26 Feb 1997 14:30:54 -0800 writes:
> So I installed Cyberdog. For those of you that don't have a clue as to
> what this is let's call it Ms Works for Internet. E-mail, browser,
> telenet, newsreader etc. All is some spiffy Apple engineered UI.

well, it is actually quite a bit more than all of that time. cyberdog
is basically a user plug-and-play opendoc parts dock that comes with
all the components you highlight.

> Ok, so it installs without a glitch, it imports my Netscape bookmarks,
> and Eudora addresses.
> The Web browser is fast. Probably the fastest I've even seen on a Mac.
> It doesn't support frames correctly and seems to have some problem with
> sloppy code. It is also only HTML 3.0 compatable

yes, the web browser is decent, but this isn't surprising considering
that it is waiting for the network most of the time and the machine
that you are running this on has lots of omph. if you were to compare
any other browser with cyberdog's on a slower machine the difference
in performance would be more obvious (it isn't horrid, but it isn't

> The E-Mail is an E-Mail client.
> Didn't try telnet
> Didn't try the newsreader.

actually, the newsreader is what most folks complain the most about.
it is slow and uses up more ram than probably all the other parts put
together (i don't know why - it's likely just poor engineering on the
newsreader crew's part, no pun intended).

> I guess the big deal about this is that you have a yellow note pad on
> the left side of your screen that is your selector for your various
> apps and bookmarks/addresses etc.

basically, the interactivity between the components is the thing that
really kicks ass. it even gets close to next interactivity in terms
of your standard drag-and-drop model.

> I got 1 beautiful crash and restarted.
> Ran out of memory error trying to go to
> Quit, checked my system memory. It seems OpenDoc (required for
> Cyberdog) took up ...
> 10 FUCKIN' MEGS OF RAM!!!!!!!!!
> excuse me? ten megs of system ram? my system is now 21 megs big?

yes. what you have to realize is that opendoc is not only all the
stuff that apple has designed and implemented (opendoc framework,
event services, scripting, ui, containers, etc etc etc) but it sits on
top of som, ibm's corba orb implementation. so, with opendoc
installed on your system you have a full corba orb running for you.

the cost that you are seeing is supposed to be (in the ideal world)
amortized out across multiple apps. of course, taking that first 10mb
hit for all the things that som provides (which is a hell of a lot,
believe me) is a bit hard for some folks to take nowadays, but give it
a year and you won't think anything of it.

look at it this way; on any old nt box where you run more than one
microsoft app at once your amortized cost is significantly higher than
what you see on your apple running opendoc. as nt moves to 5.0 (gads
microsoft does that preemptive strick well...."the renaissance of
distributed computing...we're going to solve all the worlds
distributed system problems whether they exist or not") you'll see
this cost drop, of course. but for now, if you have advanced user
usage patterns on the other guy's systems, you'll be eating up
significantly more memory.

for example, mary (my gal) has a 200mhz pentium pro on her desk
running nt 4. because of the demands on her at work, she necessarily
has to run something between 6 and 10 apps at once (all microsoft).
what does this cause her machine to do? well, let's just put it this
way; she has it set up for 180mb of virtual ram (that's on top of 64mb
of real ram) and she _still_ has to reboot at least once a day.

> I'm sorry.
> So ended the CyberDog/OpenDoc experiment. The question that I had to
> wonder is why Apple is funding this still. It does nothing that isn't
> already there, and brings nothing new to the table. Obvious why they
> are in the shape they're in.

well, who knows? maybe you'll get your wish on that one, much to the
disappointment of those of us in the industry that think opendoc is
one of the most well-designed systems with wonderful possibility that
they have even seen.