With Dell taking the Windows experience to the next level with the introduction of the Dell Dock, I've seen a lot of online buzz about it. Most agree that the Dell Dock is really good but intermixed are a lot of Mac fans who use terms like "Mac rip off" or how it's a copy of the Mac dock.
I think most rational people agree that the modern widget is a mini application that can be created by end users that are tied together with a high level scripting language (i.e. Yahoo Widgets, Dashboard, Sidebar Gadgets, DesktopX). And DesktopX borrowed the concept from IBM's worksplace shell which in turn was inspired by prior art as well.
But the controversy over widgets is nothing compared to the claim that Apple somehow invented the concept of docks. Even allowing for the history of NeXT with its side dock, the dock concept is ancient.
Stardock, for example, has been doing "docks" since 1994. Object Desktop for OS/2 included things like Tab LaunchPad and Control Center. You don't see Stardock fans complaining that every sidebar is a "rip off" of Control Center. And Control Center certainly didn't invent the concept of a side-based bar or dock either.
You would be hard pressed to find many companies that have been continuously producing a dock and a sidebar as long as Stardock has -- 14 consecutive years of development. I think it's fair to say that we weren't "inspired" by an Apple OS that wouldn't exist for 7 more years from the time we started doing this sort of thing.
Stardock makes no claims of having invented the dock. We called our first dock Tab LaunchPad because IBM itself had created a dock for