As The World’s Most Spoiled 14-year-old reminds me often,
I am old.
I remember SAS version 5.
I also remember SAS 6.12 which is noted for being the last version of SAS to run on the Mac.
Several years ago, I was at a SAS conference where the soon-to-be released version 9 was under discussion. I asked an executive from SAS why they no longer had a Mac version and whether that was a consideration. He shook his head and said,
“You know, people who have Macs are very passionate about their computers, however, that passion doesn’t necessarily translate into profits. We had a Mac version of SAS at one time. I think we sold about six copies.”
I guess I was one of the six.
I’m also old enough to remember when Michael Dell said he would shut Apple down and give the money back to the shareholders.
Even though Apple has made a revival worthy of Lazarus, SAS has been a hold out. I have boot camp on both my laptop and desktop for the SOLE purpose of running SAS. There is not a single other thing I need to do that doesn’t run native on my Mac.
So … you can imagine my excitement when I read about a new release of SAS On-Demand for Academics that could run completely on a web-browser with no local footprint.
This means, of course, that it would be feasible to run SAS on a Mac or Linux desktop.
On twitter, @JaDP (also know as Josep di Paolantonio , if that is his real name) asked why I would be so excited, because SAS on the Mac, or iSAS – as I am calling it until I get a call from either Apple or Sesame Street telling me that they have copyrighted the letter “i” – appears to be a long way off.
One, at my age, a long way off is relative. When I was in junior high and gave a damn if anyone thought my bell bottoms were cool or not is a long way off. The end of the summer, by comparison, is just a hop, skip and a wink.
Two, SAS has gone from writing off supporting the Mac as a possibility to penciling it into their plans, maybe even pushing down hard enough with the pencil that it looks like pen.
That decision may be good news for Apple. I think it is rather more good news for SAS. While they are still supporting their core business of ginormous companies paying huge fees, a cloud-based version down the line may make SAS accessible to a lot more students at universities. The requirement to have Windows installed has been a barrier to SAS On-Demand for a lot of students, so this is a step in the right direction.
In general, SAS taking new directions like this suggest that they may be going more in the direction of Apple (let’s make cool stuff!) and less the direction of Oracle (we’re boring but you need us).
So, why am I excited? Because I like cool stuff!
The Spoiled One said I was old. No one said I was mature.