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How Mac OS X, 10 Today, Changed Apple's World 342

Posted by timothy
from the x-is-ten-but-x10-is-older dept.
CWmike writes "Ten years ago today, Apple's first full public version of Mac OS X went on sale worldwide to a gleeful reception as thousands of Mac users attended special events at their local computer shops all across the planet. What we didn't know then was that Apple was preparing to open up its own chain of retail outlets, nor had we heard Steve Jobs use the phrase, 'iPod.' Windows was still a competitor, and Google was still a search engine. These were halcyon days, when being a Mac user meant belonging to the second team, writes Jonny Evans. We're looking at the eighth significant OS X release in the next few months, Lion, which should offer some elements of unification between the iOS and OS X. There's still some bugs to iron out though, particularly the problem with ACL's (Access Control Lists) inside the Finder. Hopefully departing ex-NeXT Mac OS chief, Bertrand Serlet, will be able to fix this before he leaves."
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How Mac OS X, 10 Today, Changed Apple's World

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  • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:35PM (#35602922)
    Interesting use of the past tense there, considering Windows usage still dwarfs Mac OS usage.
    • by Old97 (1341297) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:40PM (#35603008)
      Yes. Ten years ago the Mac OS was a dying niche. Now it's a thriving niche.
      • by HornWumpus (783565) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:46PM (#35603090)

        Now it's dead. Replaced by NextStep. Which is thriving.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 24, 2011 @04:00PM (#35603308)

          Yes. It's more like a chimera, with MacOS-like stuff bolted onto NextStep. There are still some things I preferred about the original NextStep, such as the menu arrangement.

          Also, MacOS isn't really dead, just emulated. There are emulators available for original [sourceforge.net] 68k [emaculation.com] and PowerPC [emaculation.com] varieties, and for multiple platforms (Windows, OS X, Linux). The Mac OS zombie marches on, even on OS X.

      • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:48PM (#35603132)
        Sure, I won't deny that times are better for Apple. But it's kind of ridiculous to say that Windows is no longer a competitor against Apple, since they are not only actively fighting, but Microsoft is still ahead.
        • Not only that (Score:5, Informative)

          by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @04:22PM (#35603624)

          But a lot of Mac's growth has been due to Windows running on it. We see that on campus all the time. People want a Mac for whatever reason. However they need software that is Windows only (this is particularly common in Engineering, where I work) or they are a gamer and want to play games that aren't on the Mac (see that with students a lot). Previously that might have turned them off from a Mac. However now they get one and then get Windows for it and maybe Fusion or Parallels. Our bookstore does a ton of business in Windows licenses and VMs.

          So sure, more people are using Macs and OS-X but often it is in addition to, not at the expense of, Windows. Fine for Apple, they make money on hardware, but also fine for MS, they make money on software. MS doesn't care what you run Windows on, just that you run Windows.

          • Re:Not only that (Score:5, Insightful)

            by postbigbang (761081) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @04:27PM (#35603706)

            You touch on a good point. The dominance of Windows was tough to beat. MacOS X changed much of that, as did Linux. If you're a civilian, you just want to get work done. For a long time, Windows dominated for many reasons, some of them illegal competition. MacOS put more non-Windows machines in peoples hands than Linux did. Eventually, Ubuntu and some other distros could be used by civilians. Fine.

            MacOS X gave Windows the competition that OS/2 couldn't and Linux (at the time) couldn't in the general market place. SunOS/Solaris couldn't do it. Apple actually innovated, rather than relying on a lot of hardware partners to do this. They were consistent, where Microsoft's architectural compromises cased huge incompatibility issues and security nightmares until they were resolved.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by oliverthered (187439)

        Mac OS is dead, long live BSD.

    • by inKubus (199753) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:41PM (#35603030) Homepage Journal

      Yep, another Apple, Inc. (no "Computer" in the name any more, they removed that) knob schlob on the front page. Gee, isn't Apple great. Hasn't 10 years been great for Apple? Boy, they sure are the dominant operating system NOW (no. they're still not.) Got news for you poster, having Apple still makes you part of the "Second Team" of journalists. Just do what the marketing tells you, you're doing fine.

    • by Stregano (1285764)
      I thought iOS was much better for Apple. I am not an Apple guy, but an observer and see that the Apple "gadgets" are what shot Apple way up. Correct me if I am wrong, but the Apple "gadgets" don't use OSX, but iOS. Now that Apple is doing better, maybe they should compare iOS to Windows instead of OSX to Windows.
      • by Dr Egg (1451323)

        Correct me if I am wrong, but the Apple "gadgets" don't use OSX, but iOS.

        Almost everything Apple uses OS wise is OS X (only things that don't are iPod Classic, Shuffle, and Nano). iOS is built from OS X, and Mac OS X is built from OS X. OS X is to Apple what the NT kernel is to Microsoft, nothing uses it on it's own, but basically all Microsoft devices are using the same NT core, just with different features and frameworks built on top of it. (That said I can't actually remember if WP7 née WinMo née Win CE uses NT)

        • by oPless (63249)

          (That said I can't actually remember if WP7 née WinMo née Win CE uses NT)

          CE is an independent operating system, it uses similar, albeit cut-down Win32 APIs

    • That, and I'd like to know where Google went...I didn't know they weren't a search engine any longer...WTF have I been using???
    • In other news, there are more Fords on the road than Ferraris.

      • In still other news Apple users think their computers are Ferraris.

        Which makes a kind of sense as Ferrari makes more money licensing it's name and trademarks (to be used on mundane things) then it makes selling cars.

        An Apple computer is like a normal computer with a prancing pony painted on it and double cost.

        Did I just make a car analogy? Damn.

    • by Tharsman (1364603) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @04:40PM (#35603898)
      The point is that Windows was seen as a competitor back then. Apple thought the only way they were able to survive was by defeating Windows and convincing every Windows user the MacOS was better. These days Apple acknowledges there is no competition, that people with their mind set on Windows are unlikely to change that mind, and instead focus just to show case their OS and computers to new generations that are buying for the first time, no longer trying to steal existing consumers from Microsoft.
    • I didn't even pause at reading it. With Parallels, other VMs and Boot Camp so prolific, I think Windows is much more of a partner and collaborator than it ever was a competitor. There are a lot of Macs out there with purchased Windows installs on them. How could that be viewed as competition?
    • The linked article mentions that Apple sales should "grab at least 20 percent of global PC sales this year, if you include tablets." Maybe TFS means Dell / HP / other manufacturers (isn't it great needing to interpret article summaries in some bass-akwards way because they're just wrong?). . .
  • Flamewars (Score:4, Funny)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:38PM (#35602976) Homepage

    The real reason Mac OS X exists is to fuel flamewars between nerds of different OS religions.

    • Re:Flamewars (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @04:06PM (#35603406) Journal

      OS X has solved more flamewars than it sparked. It's a great middle ground, where both GUI lovers and CLI lovers are welcome. You don't have to be a fanatic to like OS X, unlike OS 9 and earlier.

      Obviously, there are still good reasons to use systems other than OS X, but everyone can agree that OS X is a big improvement.

      • CLI lovers may be welcome, but do they actually use it? Everybody I know who said that OS X was great because of the CLI has since switched to Linux.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          True, but a strong third (after linux and bsd) is better than being dead last.

          • Sorry: Forth place after Windows, linux and bsd. Which makes it dead last unless you count OS2.

            Mac heads don't get to get away with calling Windows sugar coated DOS for decades then not even count it's CLI.

            • by Hatta (162192)

              Windows *was* sugar coated DOS for a decade.

              And my ranking was purely based on CLI environments. Would you really rather use Powershell or Cygwin than native Bash or CSH?

        • Re:Flamewars (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Jethro (14165) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @04:42PM (#35603930) Homepage

          Most my computers are Linux machines, including my desktop.

          My laptop is a Macbook Pro. Before that it was a Macbook, and before that it was a Powerbook.

          I would not have TOUCHED a Mac if not for OS X, which is, essentially, UNIX.

          I'm typing thins on my laptop right now. I currently have Firefox open, and an IM program, a VNC, and several terminals. One terminal is running Alpine on my desktop, one is doing an apt-get dist-upgrade on my media center, and one is setting up the new kernel/boot parameters for the network boot on my media server.

          So, yes, people DO use the CLI in OS X, I'd say ESPECIALLY people who live in UNIX-land, but do also occasionally need to edit some video or process some photographs or record some audio.

          • I would not have TOUCHED a Mac if not for OS X, which is, essentially, UNIX.

            Incorrect. OS X is Certified UNIX.
            Other than that I agree with you completely.

        • by jbolden (176878)

          Well I'm an exception, Unix user since 1988: AIX, IRIX, SunOS, Solaris and SCO. And DOS user before that. I always have a terminal open in OSX. No question Linux has better open source stuff, but Darwinports is usable. And the desktop productivity stuff is better. A middle ground like parent said.

  • halcyon days? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:40PM (#35602996)

    Windows was still a competitor, and Google was still a search engine. These were halcyon days, when being a Mac user meant belonging to the second team

    So mac users fancy themselves as belonging to the winning team now? And how exactly were the days when Microsoft propped up Apple to prevent Microsoft from becoming a noticeable monopoly halcyon? Apple's fire almost died, and they had to make heavy use of BSD licensed (free, wee!) software to rekindle the embers.

    • Particularly since these days, Apple is a consumer electronics company. Their big money is in their consumer gadgets, not in their computers. Don't get me wrong, they do fine in the computer market, but it is second fiddle to their MP3 players, phones and so on. You can see this from the way they've scaled things back, like cutting out their servers, paring down their LCD selection, and so on. They make money on their computers but it isn't the big push these days.

      Being a Mac user still does mean "belonging

    • And how exactly were the days when Microsoft propped up Apple to prevent Microsoft from becoming a noticeable monopoly halcyon?

      "Propped up Apple"? More like "settled a lawsuit" [wikipedia.org] that could have cost MS billions of dollars.

    • by drsmithy (35869)

      And how exactly were the days when Microsoft propped up Apple to prevent Microsoft from becoming a noticeable monopoly halcyon?

      Apple's success or failure had no bearing on Microsoft's monopoly status. They didn't compete in the same market.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Altus (1034)

      I you really still believe that Microsoft " propped up" apple with a few million dollars when Apple had Billions in the bank then its really not worth listening to your opinion of what was going on 10 years ago. You clearly weren't paying very close attention.

      You see only what you want to see.

  • Did anybody else spend a while trying to figure out that headline? For a minute I was wondering if they changed the name.

  • One word is now a phrase.
  • Well if anything the proper way would be to count iOS tablet sales separately from Mac OS X sales. Combining the two is not correct as they are not compatible. When I can seamlessly run apps between both then perhaps you can count them together.

    Figures don't lie but liars do figure.

    fwiw I own both an iPad and iMac. I don't consider Mac OS X dominant, I only switched when I could get a native version of MS Office

    • I only switched when I could get a native version of MS Office

      1989 [businessweek.com], back before it was out for Windows even? Or did you mean MS Office X from 2001?

      And the two are compatible. They're just not the same. I can share files back and forth between them just fine, but I wouldn't claim that they are running the same OS, even though they share their OS roots.

    • by Dahamma (304068)

      I don't think the big issue is "compatible"... the big issue is that iOS devices aren't *open*. IMO it's a joke to call a device like that a home computer when you can only run programs on it that Apple allows, along with requiring an account on their online store and tracking your download and installation.

      Plus, there is basically NO difference between an iPod Touch/iPhone and an iPad besides the size of the screen (and that some people use a little known bonus feature of the iPhone to make calls...) An

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:56PM (#35603252)

    Nothing is perfect, but moving to OS X from the previous MacOS/System versions was a smart move for Apple, and was one of the reasons Apple is still around today.

    Before OS X, if a program did not hand control back go the OS via WaitNextEvent(), the Mac essentially need to be restarted. In fact, Macs became so unstable, people ended up just rebooting them every two hours just to be safe.

    It is an ironic contrast to these days where the only time Macs go down is a reboot to install a security patch, or a Safari update (why Safari patches require a reboot is beyond me, but that is Apple for you.)

    Apple did the right thing. People yelled at Apple to get an OS that did actual, preemptive multitasking for years. Multiuser security? You had to use a utility that would do tricks to create the illusion of multiple users, such as Kent Marsh's FileGuard, Empower, Casady & Greene's [1] AME, or another utility.

    Of course, there was the virus issue. OS 9 and previous did have a good number of viruses on the platform. OS X has not had a single one in the wild.

    All and all, OS X has withstood this decade quite well. No major breaches in the wild (except for Trojans like the one bundled with a pirated version of iWork '09). No OS is completely secure (and it often was the first to fall in hacking contests), but it has proven to have a well deserved security reputation in the real world.

    Is there room for improvement? Yes. OS X needs a modern filesystem to compete with ZFS, btrfs, and possible changed to NTFS. OS X also needs full disk encryption and not just FileVault. Hopefully Apple will address these, preferably before they run out of big cat names for OS versions.

    [1]: Yep, the same Casady & Greene who made the software that was renamed into iTunes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheoCryst (975577)
      No file system upgrades yet, but Lion (v10.7) will ship with full-disk FileVault [appleinsider.com].
      • by mlts (1038732) *

        I am glad Apple is getting sense and putting FDE in their OS. This has been a hurdle to get Macs adopted by IT departments, unless one makes sure that the Mac is bundled with PGP's WDE.

        In the business sector, an OS on a portable machine without a well implemented FDE is a disaster waiting to happen.

    • Re: full disk encryption

      That is what FileVault is under 10.7. Also, apparently Apple was very close to using ZFS in 10.6, but couldn't come to licensing terms with Sun, so they scrapped it. There is still a project to maintain it out there using the development efforts for ZFS on BSD, but it's hardly supported by Apple.

      • by willy_me (212994)

        Apple was very close to using ZFS in 10.6, but couldn't come to licensing terms with Sun, so they scrapped it.

        Licensing might have played a part, but ZFS is simply a poor file system for a consumer operating system. A consumer operating system must have first class support for removable media, something ZFS lacks. The vast majority of customers run a computer with a single drive and would gain very little from the overhead imposed by ZFS. Simply put, it is not worth it for most people.

        Now there are lots of areas where ZFS would have been excellent but considering that Apple just killed their line of servers,

        • by drsmithy (35869)

          A consumer operating system must have first class support for removable media, something ZFS lacks.

          This doesn't really make sense. There's no reason an OS must use the same filesystem on fixed and removable media.

          The vast majority of customers run a computer with a single drive and would gain very little from the overhead imposed by ZFS. Simply put, it is not worth it for most people.

          Some glaringly obvious places ZFS benefits every kind of user:

          * Snapshotting
          * SSDs for caching (vastly more effective tha

        • Apple didn't kill their servers, Apple killed their blades, the Xserve [apple.com]. The Mac Pro can be and is used as a server [apple.com]. For rack mounts Apple suggests using Mac Minis, which I admit does not cut it for large installations. One problem with both solutions is they don't have a redundant power source. Mac Pros are too large for racks and the Mini lacks in throughput and bandwidth.

          Falcon

    • In my experience, Mac OS was an example of a cooperative-multitasking OS done right (or at least as good as it could be). By contrast, the Windows of the day certainly crashed more often than I had to reboot my Mac OS machine. But in those days, operating systems simply crashed more than they do now. It depended a lot on what programs you ran.

      Anyway, I wonder how successful Apple would have been had they bought Be instead of NeXT. They've certainly done well on the route they took, but BeOS seemed to
      • One of the common comments made about BeOS is that they didn't even have printing working at the time. The point is not that they were missing a particular feature, but that they were immature and probably missing a lot of the features needed for a consumer OS. On the other hand NeXT had already shipped several generations their OS and had been in the hands of a good number of end users.

        Another important point is that NeXT is based on BSD Unix, while BeOS was a whole new operating system. Although BeOS offe

    • by bigjocker (113512) * on Thursday March 24, 2011 @05:05PM (#35604228) Homepage

      OSX is what Linux wants to be when it grows up.

      Don't get me wrong, I love Linux, I use it since 95, and I wouldn't install anything different to a server. But right now Linux interface (yes, Gnome, I'm talking about you) feels so old it's frustrating. And don't get me started about the beautiful-but-hiper-unstable KDE ... If KDE's stylists wold support Gnome's good but aesthetically blind developers, we may be on to something.

      But right now Linux feels stuck on FVWM95, while OSX provides a CLI just as powerful (MacPorts rule, BTW) and a consistent-yet-usable-yet-nice-looking GUI.

    • It is an ironic contrast to these days where the only time Macs go down is a reboot to install a security patch...

      From time to time, my Intel-based Mini "loses" USB peripherals. Unplugging and replugging them doesn't work, but after rebooting, there they are. If I unplug and replug them enough once they've been lost, the whole machine locks up. The problem has gotten better over time, presumably due to improved releases of the OS X USB code.

    • by GrahamCox (741991)
      Before OS X, if a program did not hand control back go the OS via WaitNextEvent(), the Mac essentially need to be restarted. In fact, Macs became so unstable, people ended up just rebooting them every two hours just to be safe.

      While OSX was a vast improvement, you exaggerate. The classic Mac OS was never that bad, and as one Apple developer once wrote, "A well-written app should run for hours if not days without being restarted". Even in 1992 that was taken to be a very tongue-in-cheek remark.

      The sup
  • I lived it, no one got really excited till about 10.2 - that was when OSX started feeling actually usable, also with 10.2 was SMB support (well, almost bug-free support, had to wait till 10.3 or something for well functioning SMB) which made the switch more compelling. Though at that point there were still lots of OS9 only apps out here (Adobe and Quark were two of the last to switch, mainly because of all the work 10 needed.) So, 10 years ago, Apple showed off something shiny, it wasn't a big thing till

  • as the old 32bit Intel macs may be cut from os 10.7 and some of the first intel mac's had crap video.

    also the old G5 had more pci-e lanes then the new mac pro (amd systems had more as well)

    Now apple needs to look at opening mac os to more hardware or at least a DESKTOP at the imac power with out a build in screen or offer a imac with a mate screen.

  • It hasn't been for a while.
    Apple is a parallel solution and will most probably continue to be so in a long, long time.

    The thing is, buying a complete solution has it's uses, custom-building has other uses.

    Apple is moving more and more toward complete solutions, not towards customizability.

    It's not that windows is irrelevant, it's not even that it's less powerful or anything like that.
    It's just that it's plain and simply not a threat to Apple, at all, they don't compete in the same markets at all.

    Dell is a c

  • by crankyspice (63953) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @06:47PM (#35605882)

    Windows was still a competitor, and Google was still a search engine.

    And Slashdot didn't even cover the release of OS X. Seriously. I did a search http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aslashdot.org+2001+OS+X [google.com] and all I could find was this: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=11275&cid=341886 [slashdot.org]! On the other hand, we see a lot less Windows marketing content on /. these days ... http://slashdot.org/story/01/03/28/152227/Windows-Marketing-Executive-Doug-Miller [slashdot.org]

    Around the same time OS X 10.0 was being officially released, Windows XP SP2 was being reviewed... http://slashdot.org/story/01/03/26/002246/CNET-Reviews-Windows-XP-Beta-2 [slashdot.org]

    Back in those days I was a Linux user (I still am, I suppose, in that I have a VPS running a few websites, email services, etc., for me, CentOS based) and working as a "UNIX Administrator" running Dell PowerEdge / RedHat 6.2, and Sun UltraXXX / Solaris 8 boxen for a living. Now I'm an attorney, and it's all Mac, all the way, though I still have three Terminal.app windows open... I remember seeing one of the very first PowerBook G4 Ti machines running a developer's release of OS X; our "Advanced Platform Group" guys (who basically had an unlimited budget to buy / play with all the newest toys -- March 2001 was still in the midst of the dot-com bubble) had all the cool tech. I fell in love that day, though with law school and ExamSoft requirements, it was a while before I could go back to Mac full time...

  • ACL bug, root cause (Score:5, Informative)

    by tlambert (566799) on Friday March 25, 2011 @04:16AM (#35608878)

    I don't know whether to laugh or cry... I used to maintain the ACL code in the Mac OS X kernel. This is a user-space bug in the DesktopServices framework.

    Although this is not usually a problem, since only foolish/untrained administrators use Finder copies on systems being used as servers, I tried several times to get the Desktop Services folks to fix this. Mac OS X has multiple "copy engines", and the one in libc gets this right, while the one in the DesktopServices framework gets this wrong.

    The problem is that the finder "copy engine" code sets an ACL in the openx_np() system call, rather than using the chmodx_np() system call after the fact to set an explicit ACL. The ACL it passes to openx_np() is obtained from the source file system object via getattrlist() (but could as easily have come from statx_np()). So the ACL being set is the combination of the ACL set explicitly by the openx_np(), and the ACL being set as a result of the inheritance bit on the container directory in which the new file or directory is being created.

    This is in fact necessary, since the only way to make image backups of a subtree such that the copied subtree has exactly the same permissions in the target subtree as it had in the source subtree is to set *all* of the ACLs that were on the source object onto the target. Anything else loses permissions grants or denials on the copy of the object which were present on the original. This is either inconvenient, in the case of grants, or a critical security bug, in the case of denials.

    You can also see where this would be a necessary step for a backup/restore operation, where the date is serialized into an archive format on the backup, and deserialized back into the file system on a restore, which could be a partial archive restore.

    Things can get even more complicated when Time Machine and Spotlight are thrown into the mix, since Spotlight adds inherited ACEs to permit it to index directory contents that would otherwise be denied it by ACL, as does Time Machine (for some reason, they do not share a common group ID and utilize a single shared system functionality ACE, but I digress...). Likewise Time Machine sets an inherited ACE on its backup volume, for similar reasons.

    The correct fix is to do ACE deduplication in the case that the target directory container has inherited ACE entries which match the ACE entries on the source object, and remove duplicates from those explicitly listed in the openx_np() call. The alternative approach is to explicitly set exactly the desired ACL on the target after the target is created -- this has the drawback that you would need to explicitly know the container ACLs inherited ACE list in order to aggregate it yourself, but has the advantage that you won't be denied access to the object during creation if your openx_np() ACL contains explicit rights grants for the group or user that the creating entity runs under (this should be coupled with a subsequent "deny everyone" ACE to avoid a security race, which makes this the less desirable workable solution).

    Note that the above should make it obvious why a depth-first post-application of ACLs on copied objects wouldn't work; apart from the security problems in the order of operation window, network protocols such as AFP and NFSv$ and SMB all use connection credentials rather than request credentials (NFSv3 uses request credentials), and even privileged users do not have access to other users keychains or session passwords in effect for a given copy operation.

    -- Terry

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