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Mac OS
Mac OS logo
Company / developer Apple
OS family Apple OS (1-9) ,UNIX (10)[1][2][3]
Working state Publicly released
Source model Closed source (with open source components)
Latest stable release 10.6.2

 (November 9, 2009; 4 month(s) ago (2009-11-09))

4 months ago [+/−]
License Proprietary EULA
Official Website www.apple.com/macosx/

Mac OS is the trademarked name for a series of graphical user interface-based operating systems developed by Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) for their Macintosh line of computer systems. The Macintosh user experience is credited with popularizing the graphical user interface. The original form of what Apple would later name the "Mac OS" was the integral and unnamed system software first introduced in 1984 with the original Macintosh, usually referred to simply as the System software.

Apple deliberately downplayed the existence of the operating system in the early years of the Macintosh to help make the machine appear more user-friendly and to distance it from other operating systems such as MS-DOS, which was more arcane and technically challenging. Much of this early system software was held in ROM, with updates typically provided free of charge by Apple dealers on floppy disk. As increasing disk storage capacity and performance gradually eliminated the need for storing much of the advanced GUI operating system in the ROM, Apple explored clones while positioning major operating system upgrades as separate revenue-generating products, first with System 7.1 and System 7.5, then with Mac OS 7.6 in 1997.

Early versions of the Mac OS were compatible only with Motorola 68000-based Macintoshes. As Apple introduced computers with PowerPC hardware, the OS was upgraded to support this architecture as well. Mac OS 8.1 was the last version that could run on a 68000-class processor (the 68040). Mac OS X, which has superseded the "Classic" Mac OS, is compatible with both PowerPC and Intel processors through version 10.5 ("Leopard"). Version 10.6 ("Snow Leopard") supports only Intel processors.

Contents

Versions

The early Macintosh operating system initially consisted of two pieces of software, called "System" and "Finder", each with its own version number.[4] System 7.5.3 was the first to include the Mac OS logo (a variation on the original Happy Mac startup icon), and Mac OS 7.6 was the first to be named "Mac OS".

Before the introduction of the later PowerPC G3-based systems, significant parts of the system were stored in physical ROM on the motherboard. The initial purpose of this was to avoid using up the limited storage of floppy disks on system support, given that the early Macs had no hard disk. (Only one model of Mac was ever actually bootable using the ROM alone, the 1991 Mac Classic model.) This architecture also allowed for a completely graphical OS interface at the lowest level without the need for a text-only console or command-line mode. Boot time errors, such as finding no functioning disk drives, were communicated to the user graphically, usually with an icon or the distinctive Chicago bitmap font and a Chime of Death or a series of beeps. This was in contrast to PCs of the time, which displayed such messages in a mono-spaced font on a black background, and required the use of the keyboard, not a mouse, for input. To provide such niceties at a low level, Mac OS depended on core system software in ROM on the motherboard, a fact that later helped to ensure that only Apple computers or licensed clones (with the copyright-protected ROMs from Apple) could run Mac OS.

Mac OS can be divided into two families:

  • The Mac OS Classic family, which was based on Apple's own code
  • The Mac OS X operating system, developed from the Mac OS Classic family, and NeXTSTEP, which was UNIX-based.
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"Classic" Mac OS (1984–2001)

Original 1984 Macintosh desktop

The "classic" Mac OS is characterized by its total lack of a command line; it is a completely graphical operating system. Noted for its ease of use and its cooperative multitasking, it was criticized for its very limited memory management, lack of protected memory, and susceptibility to conflicts among operating system "extensions" that provide additional functionality (such as networking) or support for a particular device. Some extensions may not work properly together, or work only when loaded in a particular order. Troubleshooting Mac OS extensions could be a time-consuming process of trial and error.

The Macintosh originally used the Macintosh File System (MFS), a flat file system with only one level of folders. This was quickly replaced in 1985 by the Hierarchical File System (HFS), which had a true directory tree. Both file systems are otherwise compatible.

Most file systems used with DOS, Unix, or other operating systems treat a file as simply a sequence of bytes, requiring an application to know which bytes represented what type of information. By contrast, MFS and HFS gave files two different "forks". The data fork contained the same sort of information as other file systems, such as the text of a document or the bitmaps of an image file. The resource fork contained other structured data such as menu definitions, graphics, sounds, or code segments. A file might consist only of resources with an empty data fork, or only a data fork with no resource fork. A text file could contain its text in the data fork and styling information in the resource fork, so that an application, which didn’t recognize the styling information, could still read the raw text. On the other hand, these forks provided a challenge to interoperability with other operating systems; copying a file from a Mac to a non-Mac system would strip it of its resource fork, necessitating such encoding schemes as BinHex and MacBinary.

PowerPC versions of Mac OS X up to and including Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger (support for Classic was dropped by Apple with Leopard's release and it is no longer included) include a compatibility layer for running older Mac applications, the Classic Environment. This runs a full copy of the older Mac OS, version 9.1 or later, in a Mac OS X process. PowerPC-based Macs shipped with Mac OS 9.2 as well as Mac OS X. Mac OS 9.2 had to be installed by the user — it was not installed by default on hardware revisions released after the release of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Most well-written "classic" applications function properly under this environment, but compatibility is only assured if the software was written to be unaware of the actual hardware, and to interact solely with the operating system. The Classic Environment is not available on Intel-based Macintosh systems due to the incompatibility of Mac OS 9 with the x86 hardware.

Users of the classic Mac OS generally upgraded to Mac OS X, but many criticized it as being more difficult and less user-friendly than the original Mac OS, for the lack of certain features that had not been re-implemented in the new OS, or for being slower on the same hardware (especially older hardware), or other, sometimes serious incompatibilities with the older OS. Because drivers (for printers, scanners, tablets, etc.) written for the older Mac OS are not compatible with Mac OS X, and due to the lack of Mac OS X support for older Apple machines, a significant number of Macintosh users have still continued using the older classic Mac OS. But by 2005, it has been reported that almost all users of systems capable of running Mac OS X are doing so, with only a small fraction still running the classic Mac OS.[citation needed]

In June 2005, Steve Jobs announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote that Apple computers would be transitioning from PowerPC to Intel processors and thus dropping compatibility on new machines for Mac OS Classic. At the same conference, Jobs announced Developer Transition Kits that included beta versions of Apple software including Mac OS X that developers could use to test their applications as they ported them to run on Intel-powered Macs. In January 2006, Apple released the first Macintosh computers with Intel processors, an iMac and the MacBook Pro, and in February 2006, Apple released a Mac mini with an Intel Core Solo and Duo processor. On May 16, 2006, Apple released the MacBook, before completing the Intel transition on August 7 with the Mac Pro. To ease the transition for early buyers of the new machines, Intel-based Macs include an emulation technology called Rosetta, which allows them to run Mac OS X software that was compiled for PowerPC-based Macintoshes. Rosetta runs transparently, creating a user experience identical to running the software on a PowerPC machine, though execution is typically slower than with native code.

Mac OS X (since 2001)

Mac OS X is the newest of Apple Inc.'s Mac OS line of operating systems. Although it is officially designated as simply "version 10" of the Mac OS, it has a history largely independent of the earlier Mac OS releases.

Star Trek

One interesting historical aspect of the classic Mac OS was a relatively unknown secret prototype Apple started work on in 1992, code-named "Star Trek" (as in "to boldly go where no Mac has gone before"). The goal of this project was to create a version of Mac OS that would run on Intel-compatible x86 personal computers. The project was instigated by Novell, Inc., who were looking to integrate their DR-DOS with the Mac OS UI as a retort to Microsoft's Windows 3.0. The Apple/Novell team (fourteen engineers from the former, four from the latter) was able to get the Macintosh Finder and some basic applications, like QuickTime, running smoothly on a PC. Some of the code from this effort was reused when porting the Mac OS later to PowerPC.[5]

The project was short lived, being canceled only one year later in early 1993. There are two theories for the cancellation: the first is that Apple's board canceled further development upon realizing that going with Star Trek would mean an entirely new business model and one that would likely see a notable drop in Apple's lucrative hardware sales; and the second is that an x86 Mac OS was not commercially viable in the early nineties because Microsoft's contracts for Windows 3.1 forced PC manufacturers to pay a royalty to Microsoft for every computer shipped, regardless of what operating system it contained.[6]

A further complication was that Star Trek was designed to be source-level compatible, not binary compatible, with the Mac OS. Mac applications would therefore have to be recompiled or rewritten by their developers to run on the x86 architecture, and there was much skepticism as to exactly how much work this would entail.

Fifteen years after Star Trek, support for the x86 architecture was officially included in Mac OS, and then Apple transitioned all desktop computers to the x86 architecture. This was not the direct result of earlier Project Star Trek efforts. The Darwin underpinning used for Mac OS X 10.0 and later included support for the x86 architecture. The remaining non-Darwin portion of Mac OS X (based on OPENSTEP, which ran on Intel processors) was released officially with the introduction of x86 Macintosh computers.

68000 emulation

Although the Star Trek software was never released, third-party Macintosh emulators, such as vMac, Basilisk II, and Executor, eventually made it possible to run the classic Mac OS on Intel-based PCs. These emulators were restricted to emulating the 68000 series of processors, and as such most couldn't run versions of the Mac OS that succeeded 8.1, which required PowerPC processors. Most also required a Mac ROM image or a hardware interface supporting a real Mac ROM chip; those requiring an image are of dubious legal standing as the ROM image may infringe on Apple's intellectual property.

A notable exception was the Executor commercial software product from Abacus Research & Development, the only product that used 100% reverse engineered code without the use of Apple technology. It ran extremely quickly but never achieved more than a minor subset of functionality. Few programs were completely compatible and many were extremely crash-prone if they ran at all. Executor filled a niche market for porting 68000 classic Mac applications to x86 platforms; development ceased in 2002 and the source code was released by the author in late 2008.[7]

Emulators using Mac ROM images offered near complete Mac OS compatibility and later versions offered excellent performance as modern x86 processor performance increased exponentially.

Most of the Mac user base had already started moving to the PowerPC platform that offered backward compatibility on 8.xx & 9.xx operating systems along with faster PowerPC software support. This helped ease the transition to PowerPC-only applications while prematurely obsolescing 68000 emulators and the Classic-only applications they supported well before these emulators were refined enough to compete with a real Mac.

PowerPC emulation

At the time of 68000-emulator development PowerPC support was difficult to justify not only due to the emulation code itself but also the anticipated wide performance overhead of an emulated PowerPC architecture vs. a real PowerPC based Mac. This would later prove correct with the start of the PearPC project even years later despite the availability of 7th & 8th generation x86 processors employing similar architecture paradigms present in the PowerPC. Many application developers were also creating and releasing both 68000 Classic and PowerPC versions concurrently helping to negate the need for PowerPC emulation. PowerPC Mac users who could technically run either obviously chose the faster PowerPC applications. Soon Apple was no longer selling 68000-based Macs and the existing installed base started to quickly evaporate. Despite the eventual excellent 68000-emulation technology available they proved never to be even a minor threat to real Macs due to their late arrival and immaturity even several years after the release of much more compelling PowerPC based Macs.

The PearPC emulator is capable of emulating the PowerPC processors required by newer versions of the Mac OS (like Mac OS X). Unfortunately, it is still in the early stages and, like many emulators, tends to run much slower than a native operating system would.

During the transition from PowerPC to Intel processors, Apple realized the need to incorporate a PowerPC emulator into Mac OS X in order to protect its customers' investments in software designed to run on the PowerPC. Apple's solution is an emulator called Rosetta. Prior to the announcement of Rosetta, industry observers assumed that any PowerPC emulator running on an x86 processor would suffer a heavy performance penalty (e.g., PearPC's slow performance). Rosetta's relatively minor performance penalty therefore took many by surprise.

Another PowerPC emulator is SheepShaver, which has been around since 1998 for BeOS on the PowerPC platform, but in 2002 was open sourced with porting efforts beginning to get it to run on other platforms. Originally it was not designed for use on x86 platforms and required an actual PowerPC processor present in the machine it was running on similar to a hypervisor. Although it provides PowerPC processor support, it can only run up to Mac OS 9.0.4 because it does not emulate a memory management unit.

Other examples include ShapeShifter (by the same programmer that conceived SheepShaver), Fusion and iFusion. The latter ran classic Mac OS with a PowerPC "coprocessor" accelerator card. Using this method has been said to equal or better the speed of a Macintosh with the same processor, especially with respect to the m68k series due to real Macs running in MMU trap mode, hampering performance.

Macintosh clones

Several computer manufacturers over the years have made Macintosh clones capable of running Mac OS, notably Power Computing, UMAX and Motorola. These machines normally ran various versions of classic Mac OS. Steve Jobs ended the clone-licensing program after returning to Apple in 1997.

In 2008, a manufacturing company in Miami, FL called Psystar Corporation, announced a $499 clone that comes with a barebones system that can run Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Threatened with legal battles, Psystar originally called the system OpenMac and have since changed it to Open Computer. Apple is still in a lawsuit with the company and says it wants Psystar to pay for damages, recall every clone ever sold, and pay Apple's legal bills. [8]

A/UX

In 1988, Apple released its first UNIX-based OS, A/UX, which was a UNIX operating system with the Mac OS look and feel. It was not very competitive for its time, due in part to the crowded Unix market. A/UX had most of its success in sales to the U.S. government, where UNIX was a requirement that Mac OS could not meet. Mac OS X later incorporated code from the UNIX-based NeXTStep after Steve Jobs rejoined Apple in 1997.

MkLinux

Announced at The 1996 World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), MkLinux is an open source computer operating system started by the OSF Research Institute and Apple Computer in February 1996 to port Linux to the PowerPC platform, and thus Macintosh computers. In the summer of 1998, the community-led MkLinux Developers Association took over development of the operating system. MkLinux is short for "Microkernel Linux," which refers to the project's adaptation of the Linux kernel to run as a server hosted atop the Mach microkernel. MkLinux is based on version 3.0 of Mach.

Mac OS on non Apple-labeled computers

Though a violation of Apple's EULA, [9] running Mac OS X operating systems compiled for x86 on a non-Apple PC is possible using various kernel modifications, third-party and community drivers, and emulation methods. For example, the PC-EFI[10] project emulates the Extensible Firmware Interface that is normally present on Apple's Intel-based Macs, allowing Mac OS X to be installed on non-Apple hardware.

References

Bibliography

See also

External links


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Wikipedia-logo.png
Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Proper noun

Singular
Mac OS

Plural
Mac OSes

Mac OS (plural Mac OSes) uncountable

  1. (operating systems, trademark) Apple Inc. Macintosh Operating System.

Related terms

  • Mac OS X
  • OS 8
  • OS 9

Anagrams

  • Anagrams of acmos
  • comas

Wikibooks

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Mac OS X Tiger article)

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

A Macintosh 128k running Finder 4.1 This wikibook contains characters (such as the Apple logo) that display only on Apple Macintosh computers. These characters will not appear on computers running Microsoft Windows.
Info Symbol NOTE: Please help by contributing to this wikibook. Chapters are labeled with small "stage" indicators to show how far along they are on their way to being complete. Participate!
Wikibook Development Stages
Sparse 00%.svg Developing 25%.svg Maturing 50%.svg Developed 75%.svg Comprehensive 100%.svg
  1. About this Wikibook Development stage: 100% (as of )
    The scope and motivation behind this Wikibook.
  2. Using this Wikibook Development stage: 100% (as of )
    Quick guide on how to use and participate in this book elaboration.
  3. Introduction Development stage: 100% (as of )
    Introduction to the OS X Tiger.
  4. The Desktop Development stage: 100% (as of Aug 1, 2006)
    A gentle first lesson in using your Mac.
  5. A Quick Look Under the Hood Development stage: 25% (as of )
    A simple view of what is lurking beneath the UI.
  6. The Mac Interface Development stage: 100% (as of Aug 1, 2006)
    A follow-up to the first chapter that finishes explaining the Mac Interface.
  7. Using the Finder Development stage: 75% (as of Aug 1, 2006)
    An introduction to browsing files on your Mac using the Finder.
  8. Advanced Finder Tricks Development stage: 25% (as of Aug 1, 2006)
    An advanced chapter that helps you get the most out of the Finder.
  9. Meet the Applications Development stage: 25% (as of Aug 1, 2006)
    A complete look at all of the applications included with Tiger.
  10. Utilities Development stage: 00% (as of Aug 1, 2006)
    Instructions for using the various Utilities included with Mac OS X.
  11. System Preferences Development stage: 25% (as of Aug 1, 2006)
    Learn how to adjust your Mac's settings to your liking.
  12. User Accounts Development stage: 00% (as of Aug 1, 2006)
    Learn about accounts and understand the Mac OS X account system.
  13. Networking your Mac Development stage: 00% (as of Aug 1, 2006)
    A guide to connecting your Mac to other Macs, PCs, and the Internet.
  14. Using your Mac as a Web Server Development stage: 75% (as of )
    Guide to using Mac OS X as a web server.
  15. Printing, Faxing, and Scanning Development stage: 00% (as of Aug 1, 2006)
    Connect a printer and scanner to your Mac and learn how to send faxes.
  16. Handwriting and Speech Development stage: 00% (as of Aug 1, 2006)
    Teach your Mac how to recognize your voice and your writing.
  17. Installing Tiger Development stage: 75% (as of Aug 1, 2006)
    Learn how to upgrade an older version of Mac OS X to Tiger.
  18. Appendices
  19. Glossary Development stage: 00% (as of Aug 1, 2006)
    Find a term you don't know? You might find it in the glossary.
  20. Pages to be incorporated (or deleted) Locally increased lead, Spaces disappear

External Links


Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Category:Mac OS article)

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

Mac OS
The console image for Mac OS.
Manufacturer Apple
Active 1984—present
Total Games unknown (281 present)
← (none) (none) →
Popular guides
  1. Dominions 3: The Awakening
  2. Command & Conquer: Generals - Zero Hour
  3. Battlestations: Midway
  4. Halo: Combat Evolved
  5. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
  6. StarCraft
  7. Rise of Nations
  8. America's Army
  9. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
  10. EverQuest
For Mac hardware, see Category:Mac.

Mac OS is the proprietary operating system designed by Apple for their Mac computer systems. It was also used in the short-lived Apple Pippin. Its tenth iteration, OS X, has helped the Mac increase in popularity. Due to Microsoft's dominance of the home computing market very few commercial games are released for Mac OS. In the early days of Mac OS some games were exclusive (such as Myst and Marathon), but most of these were later ported to Windows due to its large and eager player base. Some developers still actively support Mac OS alongside Windows (such as BioWare and Epic Games); Mac ports of Windows games are often handled by a different developer, and tend to be released much later (sometimes as much as six months after the original Windows release).

In addition to official releases many Windows games can be played under OS X using Darwine or CrossOver Games; Intel-based Macs can also use programs such as Apple's Boot Camp to run Windows on a Mac and gain access to all of its games and applications.


(previous 200) (next 200)

Pages in category "Mac OS"

The following 200 pages are in this category, out of 281 total.

A

B

C

D

D cont.

E

F

G

  • Gato
  • Gish
  • Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
  • Guitar Hero: Aerosmith

H

I

J

K

  • King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder!
  • King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow
  • King's Quest: Quest for the Crown

L

M

M cont.

  • Max Payne
  • MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat
  • MechWarrior 2: Ghost Bear's Legacy
  • MechWarrior 3
  • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
  • Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World
  • Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge
  • The Movies
  • Multiwinia
  • Myst
  • Myst V: End of Ages
  • Myth II: Soulblighter

N

O

  • On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode One
  • On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode Two
  • Oni
  • The Oregon Trail

P

Q

R

S

(previous 200) (next 200)

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