Mac technology is becoming platform of choice among high-end developers and researchers in the sci-tech and military industries.

Apple previewed its forthcoming Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger last week at its Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) event and the company's focus on open standards is a shot in the arm for the open-source community.

A blog entry by software development consultant Blane Warren claims that "several features have been driven largely by Apple's open-source participation".

Warren pays particular attention to Apple's introduction of software to support Rendezvous (zero-configuration) networking on Windows, Unix and Linux systems. This introduction means developers on other platforms will be able to introduce such features in their software and hardware products, and will also improve the ease of integration of Macs on mixed networks.

He writes: "I spoke with Michael Chute, lab manager with the US Naval Medical Research Center. Mr Chute is leading a team responsible for developing agents capable of identifying bio weapons in the environment, and additionally cultivating vaccines."

The Naval Medical Research Center is installing an Apple cluster for research purposes: "They chose Apple only because of the ease of use and ability to manage in a limited IT environment," Warren writes.