2 Replies Latest reply on Mar 30, 2008 9:43 AM by wgb14

    OS Control Xtra

    wgb14 Level 1
      Hi All,

      Does anyone know if there are any plans to upgrade OSControl Xtra (preferebly for free) to the new Director 11? I would like to upgrade but the xtra is holding me back. Any ideas?

      Many thanks
        • 1. Re: OS Control Xtra
          Level 7
          It's not good news, I'm afraid. This from Jaems (the distributor) (sorry
          about the length of hs post):
          Hi fellow Director developers,

          After a lengthy silence, suddenly four whole pages. I'd better make
          this interesting

          I'll start with an Irish joke and end with a Russian joke. Somewhere
          in the middle, I'll mention the OSControl Xtra, because that's what
          some of you are expecting. But it's just a case in point. My main
          concern is how Director is going to grow from here on.

          Here's the Irish joke.

          Father McKenzie is the new parish priest. He sees old Michael
          McGregor working away in his garden, just beside the church, and goes
          over to introduce himself. He admires Mr McGregor's fine display of
          flowers and his neat rows of vegetables.

          "Isn't it just amazing," Father McKenzie says, "what Man can achieve
          with God's help?"

          Michael McGregor pushes his cap back on his head, leans on his spade
          and looks Father McKenzie in the eye.

          "Aye," he says. "That it is. Now it's a pity you couldn't have seen
          this garden when God had it all to Himself."

          Director is now an Adobe product. But more than that, it is now an
          Indian product. Apart from Dr Allen Partridge, Dan Sadowski and Rick
          Jones, all the members of the current Director team that I am aware of
          are based in India.

          This has far-reaching consequences for Director.

          The Indian attitude to time is quite different from that in the West.
          In the West, we are constantly bombarded with advertising, commercials
          and marketing hype. Television, magazines, hoardings and the Internet
          train us from infancy to expect instant gratification as soon as we
          purchase product X. Time, the saying goes, is money. Life is a fast-
          running stream.

          The Indian culture is older and deeper. The game we know as Snakes
          and Ladders (or Chutes and Ladders) originated as an Hindu morality
          game representing life, death and re-incarnation. If you do good
          deeds in this life, you leave the board momentarily, climb a ladder,
          and come back further along your path. If you behave badly, death is
          like a snake that leads you back down so that you get another chance
          to learn life's lessons. Reaching perfection can take many lifetimes.

          A mature river meanders before it reaches the sea. It is unstoppable
          but knows no urgency.

          Director is now an Indian product. The development team are prepared
          to invest many lifecycles to bring it to full maturity. What have
          they done for Director 11?


          Unicode is huge. Unicode touches every part of the product. Making
          Director Unicode-compliant has meant dismantling it and putting it
          back together, piece by modified piece. In the process, the new
          Director team has cleaned up years' and years' worth of quick fixes
          and hastily added features, and brought the core code up to modern
          standards. This has taken time. Time that can be measured in man-
          lives rather than man-years.

          Yet on the surface, next to nothing has changed.

          A change of this scale requires courage. Director's current Western
          client base expects to be wowed. We have waited so long for something
          new. We expected novelty.

          The rest of the world has not yet woken up to the fact that Director
          is now a powerful tool that will allow them to express their own
          identities and cultures. When (or if) they do, the choice of Unicode
          will be justified. Speakers of Unicode-free English are now a
          minority on the Internet.

          But Director is not alone. One of the keys to its success is the
          biodiversity of third-party xtras that extend Director's
          capabilities. Making Director 11 Unicode-compliant means that non-
          Unicode-compliant xtras will no longer work correctly with Director
          11. Director's metamorphosis has forced all xtra developers to
          metamorphose their own xtras. This is not a trivial task.

          Many of the more delicate plants in the xtra ecosystem will not
          survive. There are Xtra developers whose focus has changed over the
          last few years, and who no longer benefit personally from the xtras
          they have created. There are niche xtras where the effort of adding
          Unicode compliance outweighs any possible return on investment. For a
          small percentage of developers, some of these endangered xtras are
          indispensible: without them, Director as a whole loses much of its

          Director needs a thriving culture of third-party xtras if it is to
          evolve. It takes a great deal of courage to opt for a radical, long-
          term approach that disturbs both the existing client base and the
          entire ecosystem.

          Here's how the change has affected one xtra, the OSControl Xtra, which
          I happen to know a little about. This may be a typical case or not.
          You decide.

          The OSControl Xtra has a symbiotic relationship with Director. If it
          had not been developed, the Director team would long ago have been
          forced to create something equivalent. Now that it exists, the
          Director team feel obliged to avoid competing directly with it.

          In its current incarnation, it is no longer viable. Its developer,
          Pim van Bochoven, very rarely uses Director now, and no longer has the
          time nor the incentive to rewire the OSControl Xtra to make it
          compatible with Director 11.

          For the developers who rely on this xtra, I can imagine five possible

          1. Pim could make the xtra opensource, and rely on volunteers in the
          Director community to maintain it. One main drawback with this
          approach would be the lack of a Verisign certificate for a Shockwave-
          safe version of the xtra.

          2. Another third-party xtra developer could buy the rights to the
          OSControl Xtra from Pim, and rewrite it to make it Unicode-compliant.
          For this to be a worthwhile investment, there would need to be a
          critical mass of sales of the xtra. New sales means a new generation
          of users. Will Director 11 generate enough interest in Director to
          generate sufficient new sales of the xtra?

          3. Adobe could buy the rights to the OSControl Xtra, and upgrade it
          themselves for a point-release for Director 11. By doing so, they
          would purchase all the tweaks and bug-fixes that ensure that the xtra
          works on all Director-10-compatible operating systems. They would not
          need to discover all the system-specific gothchas first-hand.

          4. Adobe could start over and build their own set of native platform-
          dependent controls. It seems easier (in the first instance) to write
          code from scratch, but companies like Netscape have learned the hard
          way that it can be very costly in the long term.

          5. R.I.P. OSControl (Director 6 - Director 10).

          I could live with any of these solutions. All that I stand to gain
          from any of them is a little more free time.

          So the real question is: Which of these solutions is best for Director
          and the Director community? Which of these solutions sends out the
          best signals?

          I would argue for option 3, with option 2 as an acceptable runner-up.

          If a third-party xtra developer were to buy the OSControl Xtra, s/he
          would be saying "I am confident enough in Director's new growth to
          invest my own money and time".

          If Adobe buys the OSControl Xtra and provides it as a Shockwave-safe
          xtra in a free point-release for Director 11, they are indicating a
          commitment both to Director and to the community of xtra developers.

          It's all a question of confidence, and generating that confidence. If
          enough existing and new users have confidence in Director, Director's
          future is safe.

          My understanding is that Adobe currently earns enough income from its
          Shockwave payloads to keep Director alive, at least as far as Director
          12, even without massive sales of Director 11.

          But the payloads will only continue to bring in money if developers
          continue to create Shockwave content that will in turn incite end- users
          to download the Shockwave plug-in. If the right threshold is
          met, this will have a knock-on effect: the more exciting content there
          is, the more new users will be attracted to buying licences for
          Director, to get in on the act.

          So ultimately, the future of Director depends on what you, the
          existing developers, create.

          Adobe knows this. Adobe has every interest in encouraging you to
          create great new stuff. It all adds to their bottom line.

          Adobe and its new team have used a logic that we are not used to in
          bringing Director 11 to the market at this time, in its current state
          and with its current feature set.

          How can Adobe give you the confidence to stay faithful and to spread
          the word about Director's new incarnation? How can Adobe convince you
          to buy the new team time to come up with the product you feel you need
          right now?

          In guise of an answer to that, here's the Russian joke I promised you
          at the beginning. (From
          < http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~pv/courses/sovrus/jokes.html >)

          An anecdote told during the Brezhnev era:

          Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev were all travelling together in a
          railway carriage, when unexpectedly the train stopped. Stalin put his
          head out of the window and shouted, "Shoot the driver!" But the train
          didn't start moving. Khrushchev then shouted, "Rehabilitate the
          driver!" But it still didn't move. Brezhnev then said, "Comrades,
          Comrades, let's draw the curtains, turn on the gramophone and let's
          pretend we're moving!"

          After Gorbachev came to power another line was added, in which he

          "Comrades, let's get out and push."

          • 2. Re: OS Control Xtra
            wgb14 Level 1
            So in simple words... If I want to migrate to Director 11, I have to abandon the OScontrol xtra. Too bad, becuase I really like it. Is there perhaps a similar solution out there?