Although it wasn't promised until the Premier release of Rhapsody early next year, Apple has delivered the "Blue Box" component of the new OS to its 10,000 Rhapsody developers early. The early delivery means that developers can start working on ensuring that their existing code will run under Rhapsody as well as porting it to the "Yellow Box" environment.
At this stage, most major vendors such as Quark, Adobe and Microsoft have been cautious about committing to porting their applications to Rhapsody, but have said they will work under the Blue Box. The Blue Box is a full implementation of the Mac OS designed to run within Rhapsody. Ideally, it will run any software that runs under Mac OS 7 or 8, although some software that makes direct hardware calls will be incompatible. This release of the Blue Box is essentially identical to Mac OS 8, but the final Blue Box (in the unified release of Rhapsody in mid-1998) will be a more advanced OS, to take advantage of Rhapsody features such as pre-emptive multitasking.
This is the third additional release to Rhapsody since the Developers release in October. The Yellow Box runtime for Windows - allowing Rhapsody-native applications to run under Windows 95 and NT - and Rhapsody for PC Compatibles (formerly Rhapsody for Intel) have both been released in the past few weeks. The Blue Box will not work with Rhapsody for PC compatibles.