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back to article Apple Mac OS X: ten years old today

Mac OS X is - formally - ten years old today. The first full release, then simply codenamed 'Cheetah' - only later did the cat branding become part of Apple's marketing drive - was made available to Mac users on 24 March 2001, six months after the operating system made an appearance in public beta test form. Mac OS X Cheetah UI …

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Wow.

Four pages, and no mention of BSD or the Mach kernel?

Enjoy your delusion, Apple freetards ;-)

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Grenade

More omissions

Quartz / Display Postscript for handling the UI. Licensed from Adobe but, as with many other things, Apple wasn't prepared to pay the full price - the ODBC manager is another example. Real WYSIWYG.

CUPS for handling printing

KHTML for the bundled browser and help system

But what do you expect in 5 pages? I have two gripes - PowerPC's are probably as suitable now for the desktop as they ever were but IBM wasn't interested in Apple's business. In fact, they have more in common with ARM chips than either have with x86. And each version seemed to be two steps forward, one step back. Snow Leopard has for some been a fairly painful experience in the move to x86_64. Yes Finder has gone native but many of the drivers still have a way to go.

Roll on Lion - will it bring ARM support with an accompanying MacBook Mini release? Or just lock down to the App Store™

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Could be because it's not important to the story

The story: a sea change in the OS offering from Apple, and all the user-facing changes it brought. Your allegation: it doesn't go into the internals, so obviously it's delusional. Have you ever heard of confirmation bias?

There are a bunch of different bits of underlying technology in OS X. Some of them are Apple originated, some of them aren't. None of them are particularly relevant.

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Happy

@jake

I do thanks very much and it works well, so well I dumped my Windows kit and went totally Mac with a little touch of Ubuntu on the side for media-serving!

Thanks for asking, that's very public spirited of you!

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Anonymous Coward

@Jake

You bang on all the time about how great FOSS is and yet you complain when it's used by companies of whom you don't approve? You seem to miss the point that FOSS is given away by developers who want others to use their code. If the developers didn't want any commercial use of the code, they'd use an appropriate licence.

What next, maybe we shouldn't be allowed to run COTS on linux because we're paytards?

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Coat

OSX

OSX wasn't an Apple invention, but merely a reskinned OS from NeXT. I am shamed by not knowing this. No wonder the OS actually worked somewhat decently.

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FAIL

Not relevant?

The display subsystem is not relevant?

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@ThomH; AC13:39

ThomH: "Your allegation: it doesn't go into the internals, so obviously it's delusional."

Re-read mine. The delusional are the Apple freetards, not the author.

AC13:39 "You bang on all the time about how great FOSS is"

Me? I think I'm on record as saying all software sucks, all hardware sucks, all OSes suck, and all fanbois suck ...

"and yet you complain when it's used by companies of whom you don't approve?

Where did I complain about the use of FOSS in OSX? Re-read mine ... What I was pointing out was that the Author didn't acknowledge the FOSS under-pinnings of OSX. For the record, I actually like the concept of Apple's OSX ... but as a 30+ year BSD veteran, I have a few issues with their implementation.

"You seem to miss the point that FOSS is given away by developers who want others to use their code. If the developers didn't want any commercial use of the code, they'd use an appropriate licence."

Uh ... I think you are confusing me with someone else.

"What next, maybe we shouldn't be allowed to run COTS on linux because we're paytards?"

Yup. You're confusing me with someone else.

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Pint

@Jake

"Me? I think I'm on record as saying all software sucks, all hardware sucks, all OSes suck, and all fanbois suck ..."

So, to coin a metaphor, you're about as effective as a totally misanthropic priest...

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Anonymous Coward

@Jake...

"I've been happily Redmond & Cupertino free for about 15 months. Both my bank balance and my digestion are better for it ... Try it, kiddies. There are alternatives out there. All mod cons & none of the drawbacks ... "

That does sound like you think FOSS is much better, though doesn't it?

The implication of what you wrote above is that you don't like commercial companies using FOSS.

And, no, I'm not confusing you with someone else...

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@Ted Treen; AC15:44;

Ted Treen sez: "So, to coin a metaphor, you're about as effective as a totally misanthropic priest..."

Uh, no. I'm a realist. You appear to be an acolyte ... Me, I mix & match to get the job done. Yourself?

AC15:44 opines: "That does sound like you think FOSS is much better, though doesn't it?"

No. It says exactly what I meant. There are better solutions than the options provided by Cupertino & Redmond. Never mind FOSS, there are more than two commercial OSes out there, you know.

As for: "The implication of what you wrote above is that you don't like commercial companies using FOSS."

That's just plain daft. Read a few more of my comments on the subject.

"And, no, I'm not confusing you with someone else..."

Then you haven't been paying attention to what I've been typ(o)ing ...

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Pint

Time flies...

And I recall how PCs were crappy back then and CRTs were occupying the desk area and there was a permanent fight with the ISDN connector and installing Linux was mysterious and often painful.

Also, the USA were still somehow acceptable.

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Nice obituary piece

From now on it's iOS, slowly but surely.

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FAIL

Yeah

Just like Windows CE took over from regular 'Doze on the desktop.

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Grenade

I can see MacOS X becoming more and more like iOS

In both graphical style and being locked-down... Can't you?

Have a look at Lion when it comes out.

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This used to be my worry...

But apple have annoyed me so much recently that I'm buying no more Apple products.

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Thumb Down

yes :(

Unfortunately it does look like OS X is gradually being turned into iOS :(

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Well but it didn't actually work

I used Mac OS X 10.2 for a while and it just didn't work. The system slowed down to a halt after a while. Updates paned the audio to one side, X11 support was abysmally bad, etc.

At least back then it was Apples worst attempt at Unix. A/UX was far better.

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£26

"Snow Leopard - aka 10.6 - costs $29 / £26"

Really? I didn't realise it had gotten so low.

Last time I bought it was 10.3, which cost about £50 as I was a student.

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Boffin

@Richard...

Snow Leopard was priced so low as it was more of an "Intel-only tidy-up & fine-tune" of Leopard.

I expect Lion (in June/July this year) to be considered as a full upgrade, and it will probably be back to the £80 – £90 of previous "cats", with a family 5-user licence for around £130-ish.

£90 or so is still very reasonable, when compared with the cost of Windows 7 Ultimate - and remember the OSX "Ultimate" is the only version produced, other than a specific Server version.

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This Old(ish) Box?

I see modern edition of This Old Box. I caught up with Mac OS X back in the Tiger days, when I bought my Mac Mini and left the Windoze world for good (well, at least for good at home). I remember the stripy look of the windows and menu bars, and I thought the entire look of the interface was neat and futuristic. Wow, I must say it does look dated today seeing those pictures. It indeed has come a long way.

Thanks for the heart-warming review, Tony.

-dZ.

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Boffin

eh

"OpenStep's foundation was entirely different from the existing Mac OS. It was written for Intel CPUs, for instance"

no it wasn't - it was OPEN - for various hardware - that was the point.

previously it had been motorola and intel only (NeXTSTEP ran fine on intel architecture! - I had a P60 running it when they came out in 1994) . openstep ran on sun risc, intel and loads of other stuff.

NeXTSTEP was my main dev machine at work in the 1990s, then Openstep on sparc stations and finally intel pcs.

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Jobs Halo

Good review until....

The last line. Snow Leopard cost 29 Quid because, in Apple's words' contained '0 new features'

It was merely a speed bump. There's no way consumers would shell out £100 for that. I fully expect Lion to cost in the £75-£100 range.

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Changes

It's like watching a child grow-up; you don't notice how much they've changed till you pull out the photo album (OK, fire up iPhoto) and see what they used to look like. And to see how many of those icons have changed along the way barely unnoticed at the time... when did the preferences switch icon change to the cogs icon we have today and why didn't I notice?

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"OS X ought to cost $161 / £98"

Shhh! Let sleeping cats lie!

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I don't like Apple or OS X

But when it first came out, I was pretty impressed by it, and I did want a Mac back then.

It could be argued that those of us using other OSes do have a lot to thank it for, as I believe others have been trying to keep up with some aspects of it over the last 10 years, resulting in better OSes for all of us.

So, happy birthday, OS X.

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Anonymous Coward

Happy Birthday Indeed

*THIS*

This is exactly why it's so stupid for the fanboys on both sides (sorry - all sides) to quit their moaning.

Whether your favourite is OS X, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, whatever. They all impact on each other, and overall we all benefit.

Well - if companies would stop sueing each other every ten minutes for copying each others ideas.

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Snow Leopard price...

The reason Snow Leopard cost so little is because it was a largely behind-the-scenes update for performance. Apple was concerned its main user base wouldn't be willing to pay normal OS upgrade price for something that didn't add many visible features. Previous incarnations such as Tiger and Leopard were about £79 ($99) if I recall correctly. I expect Lion to be priced around this level.

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Yep

But OS X's MSRP had previously been $129 here in the States-- at least for Panther, Tiger and Leopard. And yes, Snow Leopard was issued merely as a performance upgrade for the Intel platform, the PPC probably having been taken as far as it could go with Leopard. Hence the subtle name change between the two OSes. I fully expect Lion to be priced in line with the previous releases.

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Jobs Horns

Finder

I Love the OS but Finder is an absolute abomination of a file explorer. It's the single most frustrating thing about the OS.

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re: Finder

How so?

Serious question. I mean, it does the job for me so I just wonder what people's beef is with it.

Cheers

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re: Finder

From what I understand, the main complaint is that the Finder in Classic Mac OS was a "spatial" folder browser, meaning that it represented the physical space of folders as you work with them. This meant that you could open a folder, organize its icons, and *that* became the folder's layout. It didn't matter how many times you opened or closed it, it retained its form. This is more than just keeping preferences, it is an entirely different paradigm: The window you are operating on *is* the folder, not a "view" into the folder. Consequently, the folder could be opened in a single window at a time, since *that* window represent the actual folder. This offered a more personal and direct relationship with your documents, as opposed to just being a generic archiving container.

By contrast, the Finder in Mac OS X is merely a file system browser. It offers a "view" into the state of the file system, so opening multiple windows on a folder is akin to viewing the same object from multiple angles, each one free to operate on the underlying structure equally. Each window in turn does not really represent the physical folder. The distinctions are sometimes subtle, but they are there.

I think the new Finder is perfectly fine and adept to modern uses. There are some arguments against the spatial organization system applied to modern computers, since the number of files has increased significantly during the past 20 years. It may no longer be feasible to have a personal relationship with each individual file and folder in your file system.

But this is the *Finder* we're talking about. Apple has not forgotten spatial organization concepts completely. Notice how applications like iPhoto or iTunes organize their respective objects in multiple dimensions which are contextual to the objects. These do not treat their objects as mere files in the file system--like so many other applications have done before; and I believe this is the reason they are so successful. Likewise, Spotlight and the dynamic Dock folders offer new ways to interact with your content directly without having to think in a hierarchical filing system.

So ultimately, spatial file and object organization is fully alive in Mac OS X, while the Finder has been relegated to being just a file browser for those who want to delve into the underlying system and look for things "manually."

-dZ.

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Jobs Halo

re: Finder

indeed, I find the Finder rather good. File manipulation within open/save dialog boxes would be a nice-to-have, but column view is awesome and in actual Finder windows quickview is extra-useful. I don't care much about coverflow view, though.

iPhoto's library being presented to the Finder as an opaque, monolithic blob is now an annoyance: I'd like to access individual photos via the Finder, but other than that it's a great system.

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Boffin

re:Finder

iPhoto library:

Right click, select "Show Package Contents" - and you're looking at them.

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@John 62

Although you can do that (as mentioned by Mme.Mynkoff), it defeats the purpose of what iPhoto brings: the idea that photos are not just bland "files," but objects with inherently special and unique properties. The same is done in Mail, Address Book, iCal, iTunes, and all their ilk: Why would you search in a generic hierarchical file system for, say, an appointment or contact? Appointments represent events in time, and contacts represent people or businesses.

-dZ.

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PathFinder

If you don't like Finder try PathFinder. It's a far better tool, especially if you like more control over your file browsing / management app.

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Re: re: Finder

@DZ-Jay

Actually, if you turn on the correct settings in the Finder Preferences and View Options you can easily simulate the old 'Classic' Finder. It took me one or two iterations of OS X before I finally got my old way of navigating out of my system.

> Turn on the option to open all folders in new windows

> Set icon view as the default view

That way it should behave very similarly to the classic Finder. Not 'perfect', I know, but it works.

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oh the Finder...

I am one of those who has never really liked the OSX Finder.... let's be honest I detest it.

I fight with it ... I use it (just like the equally indadequate and dumbed down Windows Explorer in Windows7) but even after 10 years I still believe that for many purposes the Classic Finder leaves the OSX finder in the dirt.

Yes, the OSX file browser can handle large numbers of files etc.better than the "Classic" Finder but for a day to day user it remains slow unwieldy mess that distance users from their files.

Ever noticed how files pile up on users desktops. This is simply because the filing systems have failed the user who want easy direct access to his/her files.

It is interesting that early mockups from 1982/83 of what became the Finder in the Macintosh show a divergence of opinion between supporters of the spatial version ultimately adopted and a browser model, backed by Steve Jobs. So it is not a surprise perhaps that the browser model is what users got, like it or not, in OSX.

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Linux

The un-unix-ness of MacOS.

> the purpose of what iPhoto brings: the idea

> that photos are not just bland "files," but

> objects with inherently special and unique

> properties.

You get that with just a better Finder.

You don't need a special tool for each type of file to achieve that.

In fact you are far better off if such a tool is a more generalized system utility or even better something that can easily be scripted/automated.

iPhoto mainly makes it harder to be organized.

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@JEDIDIAH

>> "You get that with just a better Finder.

>> You don't need a special tool for each type of file to achieve that."

Only if you could know a priori every single file type the user is going to handle and define--at the operating system level--their attributes and organization mechanism. This is left to each individual application to provide, which I believe is the correct way.

Some users don't have iPhoto installed, and some users may want to deal with JPEG files as line drawings (say, a graphic artist), or design plans (say, an architect), and not as photographs of people and events. The OS should not be making these decisions.

-dZ.

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Happy

Not a fan of Finder

I really don't like the OS X Finder. I find it mildly frustrating to use. It's ok for small file based tasks but if I want to do a lot of moving / copying I'll always go with bash in the Terminal.

I honestly can't understand how, with all the OS X iterations they've not put any effort into improving it. Even Windows Explorer beats it.

Finder aside, the main reason we have macs in our home is OS X. For me it's the best desktop OS, very elegant and a pleasure to use.

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Oh

How I want my spatial Finder back. :-[

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No, no, no!

OS9 had THE best list view of any OS I've ever used, icon view was always useless by comparison. The Apple menu was excellent to - so much faster and cleaner than the dock - you could get to pretty much any file with a single click!

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Pint

Come on down, the price is right

Even if Lion is around £79 / $99 it's not a bad thing really is it? It's still as cheap / cheaper than the cheapest version of Windows 7 but with a single version for all rather than having multiple versions with different functionality / prices leaving more money available for your beer fund!

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Remarkably cheap...

considering you'll get the server bunged in with the price too

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Anonymous Coward

If only...

It doesn't really matter if it's got server bundled, there is no Apple server class hardware to run it on, so it would be rather rude to charge for it.

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Jobs Halo

Happy birthday, OS X!

I started using Puma/10.1 back in 2002 and felt like I'd come home after a few grim years in a Windows wilderness (following the effective death of the Amiga). The great GUI combined with UNIX CLI was the best of both worlds - all the geek power you could ever need, combined with all the front-end apps you could ever want. It just keeps getting better and better, and I still absolutely love it.

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FAIL

CLI

Which begs the question, why can't MS bundle a decent CLI with Windows? The default CLI is an abomination compared to Linux/Unix/Mac.

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PowerShell

PowerShell is a much better CLI than cmd/command, and it takes a lot of lead from Linux/Unix CLIs (ls and ps, for example).

MS finally put in features like coloured text for error outputs (and other) - amazing!

I've seen lots of people complain about how different it is, but that's a lose-lose argument ("I hate cmd but ps is too different").

I'm still a Bash man, though ;)

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MS CLI

Actually, there is one, albeit not a bundled one. PowerShell is a seriously powerful CLI. In some regards considerably more powerful than the UNIX/POSIX shells from which it is clearly inspired. Like many Reg readers, I've been rather anti-MS for a while, but PowerShell is a very clear example of something Microsoft have definitely got right; take the concepts of the UNIX shell, and apply them to .NET objects so you can do pretty much anything from a simple command script to a GUI application all in the same scripting language.

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