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OS 9 Businesses OS X Operating Systems Apple

A History of Apple's Operating Systems 334

jpkunst writes "Amit Singh of has written A History of Apple's Operating Systems. From the introduction: 'This document discusses operating systems that Apple has created in the past, and many that it tried to create. Through this discussion, we will come across several technologies the confluence of which eventually led to Mac OS X'."
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A History of Apple's Operating Systems

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  • apple //e - DOS 3.3 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chuck Bucket ( 142633 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:10PM (#8481299) Homepage Journal
    all I know is at the time I could do everything with my Apple //e, word processing, visicalc, Apple BASIC. Hell, I even had the orig Castle Wolfenstein! Wow, those were the days.

  • Powerstack (Score:5, Funny)

    by tcd004 ( 134130 ) * on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:10PM (#8481303) Homepage
    I'd like to remind everyone that the greatest computer [] ever created runs Mac osX native. As if it woudn't.

  • by baryon351 ( 626717 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:16PM (#8481339)
    The screenshot of rhapsody [] makes me think something rather neat was lost to the world. While the inner workings of os9 hold no appeal for me I REALLY adored the look and feel of the UI. the simple raised grey windows and 'platinum' themed buttons/menus.

    Personally, I'd prefer working in an environment with those windows/gui elements and the cartoonish crisp simple icon style, than that of OSX. I realise it's very much a subjective thing - pity we don't have the choice of looks in OSX to go back to that platinum look

    (and no, shapeshifter themes are nothing like the real thing)
    • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:24PM (#8481375) Homepage Journal
      I agree. I love OS X for its power and stability, but on the rare occasions I find myself looking at a Mac running OS 9 or previous, I remember how much better it looked. At those who discount aesthetics in OSs are idiots; when you're staring at a screen all day, you'd better hope it's easy on the eyes.

      Any iteration of the Mac OS, of course, is better-looking than anything that's ever come out of Redmond. ;)
      • by Dukael_Mikakis ( 686324 ) <> on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:55PM (#8481537)
        Yeah, Bill Gates never promised that you'd want to "lick" anything. But Microsoft doesn't make hardware.

        Apple had long been lauded for it's ease of use (read: intuitive and friendly UI), and for hardware that favored graphics processing, from what I could tell. Fair or not, Apple is regarded as the best platform for image/media/graphics processing and rendering (I'm not so familiar with the Apple hardware config, so verification, anybody?).

        It seems that pulling away from the good old intuitive interface and heading for a sleeker interface, and one that is based off of FreeBSD nonetheless, seems to indicate that they want to capture the trendier, more tech-savvy crowd. They've got their rep as the media processor of choice, so now they're trying to grab the cool hackers and developers who are sick of Windows and are tired of the command line.

        And I guess it's working. My roommate last year got a G4 running OSX and he loves it. This is after years of dealing with various versions of windows and trying over and over to get Mandrake on his system.

        Me? I'm still running a PC with Redhat, though.
      • by stewby18 ( 594952 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @10:23PM (#8481680)

        To each his own, I guess. On the rare occasions I see an OS 9 system, I think "I used to like that interface? It's ugly!" I'm an OS X convert, look and all.

      • by llin ( 54970 )

        There are plenty of retro themes out there. I've personally found Max Rudbergs's themes to be some of my favorites. Check out his Rhapsodized and Classic Platinum skins at his site []. [] is a good site w/ both theme reviews, news, and links to theming software.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:36PM (#8481439)
      Alot of people don't understand the principle reasons for the GUI change. One was to make certain that people would see the distinction between the OS X and Classic modes. It was very important for Apple to get programmers to write native software that they make it very clear that the program they are using is not OS X native. Also, there was the necessity that older users be made constantly aware that this was a new OS and that it had very different capabilities. Apple wanted people to learn to use it differently. These are all really more important than the attractiveness of the UI. I really think they blew it on the way textures changed and a few other things. But, for the most part it is very good.
      • by Bishop ( 4500 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @10:34PM (#8481741)
        This highlights one of the problems I have with KDE GNOME. Both projects had the misguided idea that a gui that looked like Windows would be easier for users switching from Windows. Ofcourse the opposite is true. If a gui looks like Windows users are going to expect it to act exactly like Windows. When the behaviour is a little different users get frustrated and confused. It would be far better to have a completely different UI that is userfriendly.

        That said, I am not sure that Apple switched the UI for reasons of useability. There are so many UI mistakes in OSX compared to MacOS9 that I not sure if Apple was ever thinking about good UI when designing OSX. ;-)
        • Re:I'd believe it. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Bastian ( 66383 )
          There are so many UI mistakes in OSX compared to MacOS9 that I not sure if Apple was ever thinking about good UI when designing OSX

          I'd totally believe it. I love a lot of things about my Powerbook and OS X, but I'm also constantly reminded that, in the Jobs era, apperances reign supreme and intelligent design takes second seat. How else can you explain horrible blunders like Apple's mice, the "See-through" screen on newer PowerBooks, 'drawers' that can only be opened with a keyboard combo or the menubar
          • Re:I'd believe it. (Score:4, Informative)

            by tyrione ( 134248 ) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:37AM (#8482819) Homepage

            Sorry but alot of time has been wasted spent on taking Carbon and making it a first-class citizen with Cocoa instead of focusing on Cocoa.

            That is changing with each revision as more Cocoa is implemented and the OS becomes more seemless.

            Politics played the most important part of the direction OS X has taken.

            • Re:I'd believe it. (Score:4, Informative)

              by ZackSchil ( 560462 ) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:01PM (#8484970)
              Oh COME ON! If you even read the article you are claiming to comment on, you'd know that Carbon and Cocoa are complementary APIs, created as peers around the same time. There are still some very basic features in carbon that cocoa does not have, and there are still a vast numbers of cocoa calls that are just wrappers for carbon calls. They are two different and perfectly valid APIs. People are just jaded about carbon because it's responsible fro the "bad carbon port." Essentially a Mac OS 9 application with all of the Macintosh Toolkit (the Classic API) bits worked out and holes barely filled with Carbon calls. It's unfair to denounce an API because a lot of developers were lazy. Look how good Carbon apps can be. iTunes anyone?

              And before you complain about the Finder's being Carbon, remember that a lot of its troubles are due to the fact that it was a 1.0 release in 2000. While far from perfect, Panther's Finder is a perfect example of how good threading can pay off (except for Networking, my God, what were they thinking!).
          • Re:I'd believe it. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by HeghmoH ( 13204 ) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @03:04PM (#8486093) Homepage Journal
            It may be Jobs's fault, but in any case, the issue is moot. The choice is not between Aqua and the Classic look-and-feel. The choice is between Jobs and OS X or a dead-in-the-water Apple still making incremental upgrades to OS 9 and getting less relevant by the second. Regardless of Jobs's faults, he did save the company, and I prefer a modern OS with a good GUI to an ancient OS made by a dead company with a great GUI.

            Although, for me, I prefer OS X in every way except for the Finder, including appearance and interface. It might help that I studiously avoid Carbon apps (except for the Finder). And of course I like UNIX, which helps. But on the rare occasion that I boot back into OS 9, I feel very constrained and limited.
        • by wfolta ( 603698 ) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:47PM (#8485185)
          Most of the "mistakes" I've read about boil down to simply operating differently.

          Remember, the OS 9 GUI was originally designed for a uni-tasking computer with a tiny screen. It was brilliant. But over the years, more and more features were welded on, Frankenstein-style and it ended up being inconsistent and unwieldy. Curmudgeons now bitterly complain that it was better, but it sucked in so many ways...

          For example, the Apple menu which became the dumping grounds for anything that didn't fit elsewhere. It was originally meant to be a place where mini-applets resided to provide you with a tiny bit of multitasking. (The calculator, Chooser, etc.) And let's not even mention that the Apple menu could change on a per-program basis even though it was supposed to be independent of the currently-running program.

          How about the File menu which is featured in every program and mostly contains functions that don't have anything to do with files, or even the program in which it is featured. Then we have the much-vaunted Finder which does things absolutely inconsistent with all other apps. (I.e. CMD-N creates a new folder, not a new window/document.)

          How about another OS 9 Finder gem: go to one window and select some files, go to another ans select some more files. Guess, what, the files in the first window are no longer selected. Would you put up with this in any other app? NO. You'd complain about Apple's GUI guidelines, and rightly so.

          But OS 9's GUI has achieved sacred status in the minds of the inflexible and so you can't argue with them.\

          (The most prominent curmudgeon is the Applelinks guy, who has become a parody of himself with all of his protestations about being a MacOS X guru yet wanting his old kludgy and inconsistent OS 9 back. Sort of like the sports "expert" who complains about the end zone in baseball. He bitterly complained about performance for a long time, but it turns out he had all kinds of "haxies" to make OS X look like OS 9, then he ran in a tiny partition without enough RAM.)
    • by Senjutsu ( 614542 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:41PM (#8481472)
      I had some of the early developer betas for Mac OS X, which used the Rhapsody UI.

      Trust me, it would have elicited far more complaints than the OS X gui ever did. It was just a poorly thought out (with good reason, all the effort was going in to aqua) mismash of OpenStep and OS 9 concepts.
    • by ( 463190 ) * on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:56PM (#8481545) Homepage
      I was given a rhapsody developer's release for x86 some time in 1998.

      I was astonished at how easy it was to install on a PC, and how flawlessly all of the (supported) hardware worked. It was just bizarre to install an OS on a PC and have it work right the first time. I had never seen windows/linux/freebsd install that easily, but Apple managed to get it working just fine on an OS that they never even shipped!
      • BeOS installed 'smooth and easy' like that on my x86 box. Because I was lucky enough to have the right hardware. I tried it again, another time, with the wrong hardware. Boy was it a mess.

        What graphics hardware did that release support? Possibly it had limited 'demo grade' support for moderatly high resolution generic SVGA that would have crapped out if you tried to do anything fancier. That's my experience with the BeOS installer.

        Apple isn't particularly good at supporting third party hardware on th
    • You can get that 'simple' look with WindowMaker or any of the other lightweight window managers. I run WindowMaker and some selected bits of KDE for better menus and a 'taskbar'
    • I get nostalgic, too -- here's proof []. But using OS9 is just so painful in other ways, it's not worth it anymore. The biggest thing I can say is that OS9 is much better if you don't have a hi-res monitor. My toilet-seat iBook was fine at 800x600 under OS9, but a royal pain under OSX. I replaced it with a newer one mainly for that reason.
  • by n3m3sis ( 756566 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:19PM (#8481352)
    While using unstable Windows 95 at home, I admired apple for creating stable operating systems such as Macintosh OS, which I used in my university. Yes I believe Apple has always been better at making OSs than microsoft
  • Plagiarism (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:27PM (#8481390)

    Why are a large number of slashdot stories directly copied off other sites? They give no credit to the original site at all.

    This story could have easily said: "jpkunst noticed over at [] they are running a story about an article on kernelthread by Amit Singh etc etc...

    In many cases these are copied word for word from the originating site, however thankfully our submitter took the time to rewrite a different summary for this particular story.

    Isn't one of the main points of the GPL et al that you have to give credit to the original authors? How very hypocritical of the Slashdot editors to let things like this through.

    • Re:Plagiarism (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Stubtify ( 610318 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:43PM (#8481480)
      As an avid reader of macslash, and knowing how slow the site can be on a normal day of the week, do you really want a link on the frontpage of slashdot? I mean I know it came from macslash earlier this week, and so do you, I think for me thats enough.
    • by spood ( 256582 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:47PM (#8481500) Homepage Journal
      In other news, bloggers' plagiarism scientifically proven.

      "Wired has up a story about HP, as part of a larger drive to figure out how ideas ideas 'infect' large groups of people, scientifically proving what most people already knew: bloggers steal their ideas from other bloggers."
    • Re:Plagiarism (Score:3, Insightful)

      by damiam ( 409504 )
      Slashdot didn't steal this from MacSlash any more than CBS "steals" news from ABC. Something happened, both sites report on it. The article submitters are two different people who wrote two different summaries. What the fuck are you ranting about?
    • by Gorimek ( 61128 )
      Why are a large number of slashdot stories directly copied off other sites? They give no credit to the original site at all.

      This story could have easily said: "jpkunst noticed over at [] they are running a story about an article on kernelthread by Amit Singh etc etc...

      In many cases these are copied word for word from the originating site, however thankfully our submitter took the time to rewrite a different summary for this particular story.

      Isn't one of the main points of the GPL et al that you
  • Newton OS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ichijo ( 607641 ) * on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:29PM (#8481400) Journal
    I don't see it on the list.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:32PM (#8481417)
    Apple started with a decent OS for the Mac, given the hardware at the time. No innovation to the kernel happened afterward throughout the nineties, resulting in the worst modern OS on the planet by MacOS 9. Steve Jobs comes back, identifies how aweful the OS is, and rightly abandons the horrible piece of software. Apple creates MacOS X to replace it out of Mach, and BSD, resulting in a decent OS.
    • by groomed ( 202061 )
      Not really. Apple bought NeXT at the end of 1996 under leadership of Gil Amelio, with the express purpose of using NeXTStep as the basis of the new OS (or whatever the proper capitalization is). This was perhaps a year or so after they dumped their ill-fated Copland next-gen OS project and needed a new OS fast. Be was the other company that was rumored for an Apple buy-out.
    • by Gorimek ( 61128 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @11:01PM (#8481917) Homepage
      Really, don't be surfing Slashdot when you have two companies to run!

      In reality, Steve Jobs came back as part of the deal when Apple bought Next. So his return didn't start the move for a new OS, it was a side effect of the end result of it.
    • Mostly Wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MarcQuadra ( 129430 ) * on Friday March 05, 2004 @11:01PM (#8481919)
      Well Apple had been making serious attempts to get away from the classic codebase since System 7 came out. Everyone knew that the fundamentals were way behind where they should be. There was a team-up with IBM, Copland, Rhapsody, and who KNOWS what else was happening 'in the basement'. The on-campus attitude was quite snooty, from my understanding, and that makes innovation difficult.

      The problem seemed to me to be that Apple really wanted to remain 'true' to their die-hards while reimplementing the entire OS around them. It just couldn't happen that way.

      Overall I think Apple did well with OS X, I wish it were a little more lightweight and zippier, but it's poky because the fundamental technologies behind it are much more extensible than any other OS. The filesystem overhead in OS X (which seems to really slow things down) provides for single-icon cross-platform binaries. The OpenGL display system brings scaled displays much closer.
  • by TheTranceFan ( 444476 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:33PM (#8481425) Homepage
    I worked on System 7 at Apple (on TrueType), and besides my regular job, did two things that stuck around for a long time:
    • At the very last minute I personally made the Geneva 9 Italic bitmap font and put it into the build, which was important because the (then) new feature of Aliases showed up in italics in the Finder. (I made a Chicago 12 Italic too, which got cut from the installer when it pushed the install onto one more floppy *sigh*.)
    • There was this fat-plus-shaped cursor, used by spreadsheets, that had a mangled mask, which I had noticed years before but could never get Apple to fix. So I fixed it myself :-)

    And I guess TrueType worked out pretty well, but I was a pretty small part of that. Still System 7 was quite a big deal back then and was fun to work on.

  • by TylerL82 ( 617087 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:34PM (#8481431) Homepage
    Copland never went "beta". It never even went Dev Release. It was cancelled almost immediately before the Dev Release was scheduled. Gershwin was nothing more than the successor of Copland. When Copland died, Gershwin died. This isn't in any way a definitive collection of Apple systems, let alone an accurate one.
    • Pre-release Copland (Score:4, Informative)

      by MarcQuadra ( 129430 ) * on Friday March 05, 2004 @11:07PM (#8481953)
      I clearly recall a pre-release version of Copland running on my well-connected buddie's PB 3400. I remember him trying to boot it, but it pretty much crashed whenever you tried to DO anything (open two windows, copy files, rebuild desktop, etc.).

      This was the same guy who showed me OpenFirmware, Linux (pre 1.0, may I add), and South Park. He's quite responsible for the geek I've become.

      Apparently he's the author and number-one on the Kismet wireless project.
    • Where do you see "beta" in the article? As far as I can see, the only Copland releases he mentioned were "Driver Development Kits," which are described as being essentially prototypes, which does not in my mind imply "beta," or even "alpha."
  • intel (Score:3, Informative)

    by minus_273 ( 174041 ) <> on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:49PM (#8481506) Journal
    notice how some of the earlier incarnations of what became OSX show the about box and has teh words "pentium" on them .. i wonder... also i wonder where the windows version is of some of the stuff is now. This guy is obviously using it on win xp.
  • by bodrell ( 665409 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:52PM (#8481518) Journal
    I think I'm part of a new subcategory of Mac owners--I didn't get one until OS X 10.1, and so have no desire to run OS 9 or Classic apps. There were three factors that made me get my Powerbook:

    1 -- Finally can have a multi-button mouse (though it is a Logitech, and the trackpad still only has one button)

    2 -- Protected memory. I was so freaking sick of ol' Crashy McGee, as I nicknamed my Windows 2000 box (and that was WAY better than 98). I took care of that machine, too, but every so often the kernel seemed to spontaneously get corrupted. That's a hell of a lot worse than the proverbial BSOD. I'd have to boot into Linux just to fix Windows! But before OS X, Macs didn't have such great stability, either.

    3 -- Built-in command-line-interface. There's nothing I hate more than being slave to my mouse. If your Windows mouse doesn't work, you're screwed. Try navigating and performing normal tasks with only the keyboard. Unless you have the foresight to enable all that handicapped-access stuff, which most people don't. And I can ssh into my shell account, where I still check my mail with pine. Not that I'm some spectacular programmer (I tinker with stuff for fun, but no formal experience), but pine works just fine for email. Why does everything need to be in HTML? Why do I need stupid pictures or e-cards?

    Anyway, not all Mac users are nostalgic for the old OSes; some of us just want a Unix box with a consistent and functional GUI. Not that the history wouldn't be of interest to any long-time Mac user, but it isn't interesting to me except as a curiosity.

    • I am far from screwed on a mouseless Windows box. In fact, I can navigate just about anything using the keyboard. The keyboard in windows can be made to do anything the mouse can, if you know how. And often does so with greater speed and precision, especially if you're computing on a surface that is poorly suited to mousing.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 05, 2004 @10:05PM (#8481597)
      "I'm part of a new subcategory of Mac owners--I didn't get one until OS X 10.1"

      You latecomer. You poser. You'll never be part of the club. NEVER!

      Resentfully yours,

      The Mac Elite
    • 3 -- Built-in command-line-interface. There's nothing I hate more than being slave to my mouse. If your Windows mouse doesn't work, you're screwed. Try navigating and performing normal tasks with only the keyboard. . . .

      CTRL-ESC R CMD works fine for me. Windows was originally designed to follow the IBM CUA guidelines, which required that the UI could be operated mouseless. Certainly, some apps stray from that, but you'd be amazed at what you can do in Windows, even today, with only the keyboard shortcuts.

    • 1 -- Finally can have a multi-button mouse (though it is a Logitech, and the trackpad still only has one button)

      Multi-button mouse have been available on the Macintosh for at least 10 years.

    • by gobbo ( 567674 ) <> on Friday March 05, 2004 @11:50PM (#8482145) Journal
      1 -- Finally can have a multi-button mouse

      Eh, what's that sonny? I used a 6-button turbo trackball on the mac from system 8 on. But you're right about the crashy business, some machines just kept chuggin' along, and some just wouldn't go for more than a few minutes. System 7 - 9, any flavour of windows and NT, they all worked like a charm or had gremlins ('winfax' --- shudder). But we still got the work done.

      There's nothing I hate more than being slave to my mouse.

      I agree that having to hack the system (see above re: stability) folder in order to get full keyboard navigation was boneheaded design. But it didn't really matter after I got Keyquencer, which as an OS X'er I miss, since most important operations got reduced to a key combination macro -- fast, rock solid, make the machine do backflips, really, anything nearly, one program saved me months. But this newfangled 'nixy goodness is like being young again, roaming through the university network, even if the interface isn't as productive to old farts like me (I still boot up the old toastermac for fun sometimes), running with no reboot for 5 months at a time makes up for it.

    • by Endive4Ever ( 742304 ) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:27AM (#8482354)
      I think I'm part of a new subcategory of Mac owners--I didn't get one until OS X 10.1, and so have no desire to run OS 9 or Classic apps.

      And I go completely in the opposite direction. I used to revile Macs and Apple. My first Mac experience was poking around on a Mac Plus I got at a thift store long after it was obsolete, and then awhile later running NetBSD on an SE/30.

      Now I'm becoming sort of an after-the-fact semi-expert on old Apple hardware. Primarily because it's been showing up at local surplus equipment auctions and I'm figuring it out, shining it up and testing it, and selling it to people on eBay and locally. I seldom have more than one or two machines on hand that I can run anything newer than OS9 on. And I've come to have a lot of affection for one machine in particular, my PowerBook 165c, which I paid $5 for and which is a great little machine for OS 7 but since it's completely unsalable (people don't buy anything older than 7300s unless there's 'classic' interest, like SE/30s, Classics, maybe nicer Quadras) I am keeping it around. It's a really nice little system for getting away from the modern madness of today, to retreat to Claris Works and do some writing.

      So I'm a new Mac convert, someone who didn't 'see the light' until after OSX came out, who doesn't run, and in fact has never touched the keyboard on a Mac running OSX.

  • Frameworks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lank ( 19922 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:53PM (#8481525)
    So was the term "frameworks" coined at Taligent? I couldn't determine from the story. For those of you that don't know, a framework is like a library bundled with the headers, and so instead of installing multiple objects (the library file(s), the headers, etc.) you can just copy over one framework and have the same functionality. Pretty clever actually. Never knew where the name came from, though.
  • Mac OS 2 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zhevek ( 147623 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @09:53PM (#8481531) Homepage
    I remember running Mac OS 2 through 4(!) on my Mac 512. Ah, back in the day when you could run your OS off of a floppy... and a 512k floppy no less ;)
  • by Roadkills-R-Us ( 122219 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @10:01PM (#8481577) Homepage
    Wow. While I've always like the Macs, I've never tried to build much of my career on them. And yet, between hobby and career, I have used nearly every version that saw the light of day, and read voraciously about the others.

    A couple of tidbits he left off.

    Secure A/UX. I forget what it was called, but a DOD-compliant (I forget the Orange Book classification) version of A/UX was developed by an Atlanta company called SecureWare, later bought by HP. It was one of the first (if not the first) Unix variant to get that classification.

    X11 for NEXTSTEP. An Austin company called Pencom Software (later PSW Technologies) developed a version of X11 for NEXTSTEP, called co-Xist. It was never blindingly fast, but then a lot of things were that way on NeXT platforms. As more of the server was ported to a lower level, performance got better. Steve Jobs hated X11. It didn't fit in with his vision of the "perfect OS". I suspect he felt it sullied his beloved DPS. So NeXT never was interested in bundling co-Xist with NS. (There were a couple of other NS X companies as well, but co-Xist was the better product in my admittedly biase view. 8^)

    Alas, the only Mac I personally own is a dead one I keep in my cube for visitors to sit on. No idea what the OS is on it, but the rounded top is more comfy than the typical, flat PC. 8^)
  • by Qweezle ( 681365 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @10:04PM (#8481589) Journal
    Hey, I loved OS 9 too, and even the older Mac OS' got my heart beating fast.

    But I mean, OS X just has to be the next step. There's only so much Apple could have improved OS 9. I do VERY much agree with some here about the way OS 9 looked, I like it as much as/more than I like the look of OS X. If Windows XP is the "Playschool" interface, then OS X is the "Mattel" interface.

    I really, really wish Apple would provide ways to completely skin the OS from System Preferences, such as making it look like OS 9 while keeping the features set. That would be nice. Even though some programs now can do that, I'd love Apple to do it.

    In the future I can only see good things for Apple. And who knows, maybe they will get closer and closer to integrating Linux, though BSD isn't a bad option as it stands.
  • Most evil.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by xzoon ( 728128 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @10:08PM (#8481616) Homepage
    It was introduced at a price of $666 that included 4K bytes of RAM and a tape of Apple BASIC.

    And you all thought Microsoft was the evil company. ;)
  • NeXT (Score:4, Informative)

    by bsd4me ( 759597 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @10:10PM (#8481628)
    I really liked NEXTSTEP, and the NeXT cubes were pretty nice machines. They were the first I had worked with that supported dual monitors, and true color.
  • I miss (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pvt_medic ( 715692 ) on Friday March 05, 2004 @10:39PM (#8481773)
    my mac IICX, we tweaked the thing up to 32 megs of ram, 1.1 gig hard drive (80 interneral, 1.1 external), and os 7.5 The thing worked like a beaute, would boot up in 30 seconds and did fine on word processing and the occasional sim city. Ah good old times.
  • by notchcode ( 747923 ) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:24AM (#8482740) Homepage
    I enjoyed learning more than I ever thought possible about the evolution of the MacOS, but as a graphic designer, I felt myself wanting to know more about the evolution of the visual interface side, like: what other fonts were designed for the Mac besides Chicago, back in the day? And: why put the "Close" window button in the upper left corner?
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @02:01AM (#8482952) Homepage
    The Lisa was a nice little machine. It was just too early. It had a hard drive and a protected mode OS, which wasn't bad for early 1983. You could actually get work done on a Lisa. It just cost far too much.

    The original Macintosh (128K, one floppy, and no hard drive) wasn't very useful. You spent most of your time looking at the watch icon and changing floppies. Not until Macs with hard drives came out was it good for much. And that took years. Apple even fought a company that managed to put a third-party hard drive into original Macs.

    Technically, the big problem with the Lisa was that Motorola was years late with the MMU chip for the M68000. The Lisa had an MMU that Apple put together out of register-level parts. This ran up the parts count and the cost. Worse, the M68000 didn't do instruction resumption after page faults correctly. So code for a M68000 with an MMU had to avoid all instructions that could cause page faults after they'd already changed the machine state. This meant avoiding the use of increment bits to increment index registers. If a load with increment page-faulted, the increment would be done twice. So the compiler had to generate code which incremented the index register in a separate operation. This produced code bloat and a slowdown.

  • by Duty ( 731705 ) <> on Saturday March 06, 2004 @03:14AM (#8483313) Journal

    I have not yet found a theming engine for Windows an Linux that even comes close to what was done with that little CDEV, especially in regard to irregular window shapes.
  • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @05:09AM (#8483679) Homepage Journal
    until I read this.

    My first "modern" computer was a Mac Plus. 1 MB or Ram and a 20 MB HDD that connected throught the external floppy port. I didn't even have HFS support until I cobbled together a system from the files on a few game disks that I had lying around. Falcon 2.0 provided me with a newer "System" file than I had before and I believe that I ripped off a new "Finder" from my HS. Oh, nostalgia, back in the days when I paid $80+ per month for Compuserve at home and had free internet access (FTP+Gopher+Usenet) access at college.

  • by kisrael ( 134664 ) * on Saturday March 06, 2004 @02:03PM (#8485694) Homepage
    Huh, looking at the screenshots, I realize I think System 7 really look the best to me. I'm mostly a Windows on the desktop guy, but when I was first introduced it to it was on System 7, and that's probably what I used at the School of the MFA. It captured the elegance of the early Mac but wasn't so starkly monochromatic. OS 8 still looks about the same, but then 9 starts to get into that "ooh look shiny metal crap" that was the prelude to the Fisher Price look that is so dominant these days.

    Similarly, I think I'll always dial down Windows XP and whatever comes next to as close to Windows 95/98 in appearance as possible. The boring parts of an OS should look as boring and grey and consistent as possible, that way you can more easily tell what's boring and what might be interesting and new.

    (This from a guy who invented gamebuttons [], javascript games where the sole input and output is a single javascript button)

I took a fish head to the movies and I didn't have to pay. -- Fish Heads, Saturday Night Live, 1977.