Discs, filesystems and Macs – Interview with Drew Thaler

Filed under: Hardware,People,Software

Best known for a recent series of posts on Sun’s ZFS filesystems, Drew Thaler has worked on many projects at Infinite Loop in the last decade. One of his areas of expertise is filesystems and optical discs, on which he is working right now at Sony but which also is the underlying theme on his blog, aptly titled “Recording artist”.

We contacted him to ask some questions and he very generously answered providing a lot of interesting and background info and tidbits on Apple and its technologies and inner workings.

Drew ThalerStories of Apple: Would you tell our readers a bit about yourself and what’s your connection with Apple?
Drew Thaler: Hi! My name is Drew Thaler, and I’m a low-level software engineer. I’ve spent most of my career working on Mac OS software, including an internship at Apple during college, and five years working at Apple.

SoA: What parts of the Mac OS did you work on?
DT: I started out in CPU Software working on drivers for new hardware: video acceleration, PCMCIA, hardware DVD playback, and more. Later, I was part of the small group of engineers that created Apple’s (Mac) OS 9 and (Mac) OS X CD and DVD burning solution, called DiscRecording.framework. And recently I spent just over a year contracting for the CoreOS filesystems group.

SoA:You also contributed to iTunes. When was that? And how was the perception at Apple of the app’s importance? Was the iPod + (Music) Store strategy already known?
DT:My friends and I developed the CD/DVD burning technology at a company outside of Apple, and we were acquired. It’s a little crazy to think about this, but iTunes had no support whatsoever for CD burning at the start of November 2000. The paperwork for the acquisition finished up in the middle of that month. Six frantic weeks of development later, we had integrated it into both iTunes and the Finder in Mac OS 9 in time for it to be shown at MacWorld San Francisco in January 2001. It shipped to customers later that month. I continued to work with the iTunes engineers until late 2003.

Wednesday 31 October 2007, 1:08 pm
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