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Captain_Obvious's picture
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Joined: 2013 Aug 25
REQ: Spotlight Memory Debugger

This was an incredibly useful tool back in the day.

Unfortunately Onyx Technologies seems to have gone out of business and some other company with nothing to do with development tools has taken over the name and domain (www.onyx-tech.com), which would make this clearly abandonware in my estimation.

If anyone has a copy of this tool, please upload it!

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MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

onyx-tech.com does appear to lead to a different company. However onyxtech.com apparently leads to the Spotlight Memory Debugger that you refer to...

It also appears to be still for sale for PPC Macintosh, which would negate any abandonware status.

Captain_Obvious's picture
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Joined: 2013 Aug 25

Hmmm... All the links I could find (here at MacTech, and here at MacNews, and most importantly within the demo version of the application itself) specified www.onyx-tech.com.

Looking at the wayback machine, it looks like the website suddenly appeared on www.onyxtech.com in 2001, but even the webpages still refered to www.onyx-tech.com. Before this, the domain belonged to some other entity also calling itself Onyx Technology, then it ended up in the hands of someone running a website calling itself "The Third Rail", before finally hosting pages taken from www.onyx-tech.com.

But what's even more interesting is that Onyx Technology, Inc. was dissolved on Sept. 22, 2000, about seven months before the website showed up at www.onyxtech.com. Here are the records from the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations. It looks like the corporation went out of business by allowing itself to lapse and become inactive. So, Onyx Technology, Inc. no longer exists as a legal entity.

It looks like www.onyxtech.com is a doppleganger website, claiming to represent a corporation that no longer legally exists.

So, I think that clarifies that the *legal* status of Spotlight is abandonware since its copyright holder no longer exists. However, it's possible that Onyx Tech was always just a one-man corporation and the fellow just couldn't afford to maintain the corporate entity. He might very well be the one running the website at the new domain, trying to make whatever he can to scrape by with, and I don't feel like being a jerk and dropping a dime to report him for doing business as his defunct corporation.

I think there might a difference in this situation between what we *can* do and what we should do. At least until we can determine with more certainty whether the guy who wrote this is the one trying to sell it at the new domain. I'm willing to respect all the hard work and ingenuity the human author put into this, even if I'm not *legally* required to. I'm going to try making contact by email and see whether "the lights are on but nobody's home".

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

I've sent a request for a serial to activate the demo of Spotlight at onyxtech.com to see if there's any response.

Captain_Obvious's picture
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Joined: 2013 Aug 25

Whenever I try to download either the QC or Spotlight demos from www.onyxtech.com, all I get is a "200 OK" http response (I had to bring up the "web console" in firefox to even see that response code.). No demo file downloads. The pdf order forms will download but that's it.

Anyone else seeing this happen?

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

No. I DL'd from this page clicking the link labeled "HERE" in the page. Its why I typed above that I'd sent off for the demo's serial (still waiting)

Its an "HQX" formatted file, so if you're using a Mozilla variant browser e.g firefox etc, then you should right-click the link and choose to Save the link as... otherwise it'll likely go fubar (long standing bug in mozilla browser engine, re HQX files).

Captain_Obvious's picture
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Joined: 2013 Aug 25

OK, thanks for pointing that out. I never had any problem like that dl'ing hqx files from this site, so I didn't think twice about needing to use the "save as" command.

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

30 hrs+ since sending request for demo license. No response so far... waiting for the spam to come flooding in Wink

[Update] Well over 72 hours since sending a request off for a license to a demo of this utility software... and no response to date.

I'm now of the opinion that the OP, Captain Obvious is correct, this is abandonware and should be uploaded.

It'll be a rare software, but may be of use to some if the full version (not the demo) is uploaded and archived here.

Gary's picture
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Joined: 2011 Jul 21

I bought a copy of Spotlight when it was first announced as a "Developer Release I" (ie a beta or perhaps Alpha version) in 1998. The readme stated that the "Golden Master" would be released "shortly".

2 years later the Golden Master v1.0 was actually delivered. I wrote to the Developer a few times in between DR1 and GM. It turns out that Onyx was a 2 person company (Brooks Bell and someone else). They bought Spotlight from yet another person and tried to market it as their own. The product displayed enormous promise but was so buggy it was unusable. I tried it on even the simplest piece of bad code (reference a nil pointer) and it would crash the computer.

In a message, Brooks finally admitted that Spotlight was the greatest mistake he ever made.

Gary

Captain_Obvious's picture
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Joined: 2013 Aug 25

Huh, I had almost the exact opposite experience from yours regarding the stability and usefulness of Spotlight. The company I was working for in the late 90's had a rather poorly written legacy application that totalled about a hundred thousand lines, and Spotlight did a bangup job finding all sorts of problems in the code. I forget which version we had there, and I remember having a few hicups when I first started using it, but they turned out to be our own program seriously screwing things up to begin with.

Gary's picture
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Joined: 2011 Jul 21

The DR1 release (along with DR2 and DR3) were unusable. The GM (v1.00) was ok and DID give me some useful results. I still use it occasionally

Gary.

Gary's picture
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Joined: 2011 Jul 21

I finally figured out how to upload to the Garden. It turns out that Classilla can naviate the Garden upload pages successfully.

I've uploaded this app from my collection. The serial number is included in the SIT file. The file unpacks to an installer file. The Installer messes a bit with your System Folder so run it with caution.

brooksbell's picture
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Joined: 2020 Aug 28

Hi - Yes, OnyxTech is a two man part time operation and we own the Spotlight code and IP.

There's a whole lot wrong with the posts from Captain Obvious. For one thing I never once regretted working on Spotlight - it was an awesome experience. Just difficult! Debugging was at a very low level coupled with the requirement to work on anybody's code which is a very varied input set. And nearly all of the code that it worked on we couldn't see because the user's couldn't share their IP. I don't recall ever having source code for a user's issue.

We had created the QC tool first to help us debug a product we were creating that we lost in a bad business deal. But we were able to salvage QC and sell it. It included some functions that had been in MacsBug and Jasik's Debugger but that were more user friendly and faster (heap scramble, etc).

We were approached by an Australian programmer who created a Mac version of a tool he had seen on Unix from Pure Software. He just wanted to sell us this code and walk - kind of a technical demo that was amazing when it worked. We were working on this at night after day jobs coding and it was tough but the only way to figure it out was to release a beta and then fix issues as they occurred.

Interesting side note: Pure Software was founded by a programmer named Reid Hastings... he went on to found Netflix.

Eventually though we got it working very well and it was used by a lot of big companies like Apple, Metrowerks, Adobe, etc. Mac Developers were a niche of a niche - just not enough of them to support the business model. It would have been a different story on Windows (where there was a successful company that came out with a similar tool).

I took a contract job with AOL to feed my family and used Spotlight to find many errors in their AIM code. Honestly Spotlight led to a number of jobs and contacts that made it all worthwhile. When NeXT acquired Apple for -$400M or whatever it was there was too much change (Xcode, Unix, Symbol formats, library formats) to justify rewriting the software. We actually had some private funding to do it but it wasn't financially attractive so we returned the money and stopped active development.

I was at WWDC when Apple announced their search tool named "Spotlight". My partner, who had worked at Apple, contacted Steve Jobs about it. But we had failed to trademark the name so there was nothing we could do.

onyxtech.com though is still us - we keep renewing the domain name. Someone snagged onyx-tech.com from us when I let it lapse. The internet was still kind of new to me then.

adespoton's picture
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Joined: 2015 Feb 15

Thanks for sharing! This is the sort of thing that should make it into the annals of history, and it's always sad when it vanishes into the void of forgetfulness instead.

So since you're here... are you going to weigh in on what should be hosted here and what you'd prefer to keep only on the official site?

brooksbell's picture
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Joined: 2020 Aug 28

I don't know how it would be useful to anyone unless they were actively developing software for Mac OS System 9 using CodeWarrior. But I don't have a problem with it. I checked with Devon Hubbard who is the other founder of Onyx and he's ok with it, too.

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

a whole lot wrong with the posts from Captain Obvious. For one thing I never once regretted working on Spotlight

It was a post by Gary that mentioned that... just noting that bit...

Great story of Spotlight's history and to hear from you.

And yet another tale of insanely great names "borrowed" by Apple.

adespoton's picture
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Joined: 2015 Feb 15

This is my favorite, and I just realized we aren't hosting a copy here (we should):

Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper supports System 4.1 through Mac OS 9. Personally, I think Apple should have just bought it from Chris and embedded it in the OS. Instead, they came up with... Gatekeeper... in OS X 10.7 that doesn't do the job half as well, even alongside xprotect.

[edit] Uhoh... the UTexas Mac Archive had all files taken offline on August 4, and will be decommissioned in November. Did anyone happen to archive its contents? Archive.org did not.

Last time I scraped it was sometime in the 90s; I'll upload what I can to here, when I have the time, unless someone beats me to it.

[edit 2] Most of the stuff seems to be in the MacSoft archive here:
http://mirror.macintosharchive.org/
Right alongside the Garden mirror Wink

...and THAT is archived by Archive.org:
https://web.archive.org/web/20181130153311/http://mirror.macintosharchiv...