NASA World Wind coming to the Mac

Via Bull’s Rambles comes word of NASA’s press release for World Wind 1.3.5, aimed at drumming up some publicity. It contains some excellent actual news down in the fifth paragraph:

A version written in the Java computer language that will run on Macintosh and Linux computers is scheduled for release in September 2006, [program manager for World Wind at NASA Ames Patrick] Hogan noted.

That’s wonderful to hear, given that the porting project appeared to be dormant.

Two down, two to go: Will ESRI’s ArcGIS Explorer and Microsoft’s mooted 3D virtual globe run on Macs? I doubt ESRI will embrace the Mac. (As James Fee notes, it’s a .Net application, and porting it to anything else would likely be seen as a waste of resources by its core user community), but I think Microsoft doesn’t really have a choice if it wants to make its virtual globe a social, economically viable space. Not making a Mac version would be as silly as building a Windows-only online store. (Note that Second Life and World of Warcraft both have a Mac client.)

4 thoughts on “NASA World Wind coming to the Mac”

  1. MS has ported applications to Mac when it made sense, IE and Office come to mind. They are certainly capable of porting their globe. But I do agree, any globe aimed at consumers should be platform agnostic.

    AGX is mostly a COM application, its just the Tasks framework that is .Net. Also, ESRI has already ported the main ArcGIS libraries to run on *nix (via MainSoft) AGX uses a slimmed down but essentially identical set of libraries (I’m not sure about the UI portion though). Making a Mac version would be more work but not impossible. However, I would expect to see a Mac version of ArcGIS proper before AGX…

  2. Any software without a Mac version is sure to get a lot less blog attention than it could have had…

  3. Just a slight correction, Brian. As I recall (and I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong), but “Office” was ported to Windows as the individual apps were originally written for the Mac platform back in the 80s (not sure about PPT, though). You are correct about IE, though.

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