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Mac OS 9
Part of the Mac OS family
Mac OS 9 screenshot 2.png
Screenshot of Mac OS 9
Developer
Apple Computer Inc.
Website http://www.apple.com/support/macos9/
Releases
Release date October 23, 1999 (info)
Current version 9.2.2 (December 5, 2001) (info)
Source model Closed source
License Proprietary
Kernel type nanokernel
Support status
Unsupported

Mac OS 9 is the final major release of Apple's "Classic" Mac OS. Introduced on October 23, 1999, Apple positioned it as "The Best Internet Operating System Ever," highlighting Sherlock 2's Internet search capabilities, integration with Apple's free online services known as iTools, and improved Open Transport networking.

While Mac OS 9 lacks the functionality of a modern operating system, such as protected memory and full pre-emptive multitasking[1], lasting improvements include the introduction of an automated Software Update engine and support for multiple users.

Apple discontinued development of Mac OS 9 in 2002, transitioning all future development to Mac OS X. Since that time, no updates have been released. The final updates to Mac OS 9 addressed compatibility issues with OS X while running in the Classic Environment and compatibility with Carbon applications. At the 2002 World Wide Developers Conference Steve Jobs began his keynote address by staging a 'funeral' for OS 9.[2]

Steve Jobs pitched OS 9 as the best "Internet OS ever". Users of Mac clones were left out as OS 9 was a "Made by Apple" affair. [3]

Contents

Features

Apple billed Mac OS 9 as including "50 New Features" and heavily marketed its Sherlock 2 software, which introduced a 'channels' feature for searching different online resources and introduced a QuickTime-like metallic appearance. Mac OS 9 also featured integrated support for Apple’s suite of Internet services known as iTools (later re-branded as Mac.com, then .Mac, which is now known as MobileMe) and included improved TCP/IP functionality with Open Transport 2.5.

Other features new to Mac OS 9 include:[4] [5]

  • Integrated support for multiple user accounts without using At Ease.
  • Support for voice login through VoicePrint passwords.
  • Keychain, a feature allowing users to save passwords in protected keychains.
  • A Software Update control panel for automatic download and installation of Apple system software updates.
  • A redesigned Sound control panel and support for USB audio.
  • Speakable Items 2.0, also known as PlainTalk, featuring improved speech synthesis and recognition along with AppleScript integration.[6]
  • Improved font management through FontSync.
  • Remote Access Personal Server 3.5, including support for TCP/IP clients over Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP).
  • An updated version of AppleScript with support for TCP/IP.
  • Personal File Sharing over TCP/IP.
  • USB Printer Sharing, a control panel allowing certain USB printers to be shared across a TCP/IP network.
  • 128-bit file encryption in the Finder.
  • Support for files larger than 2 GB.
  • Unix volume support.
  • CD Burning in the Finder (introduced in Mac OS 9.1).
  • Addition of a 'Window' menu to the Finder (introduced in Mac OS 9.1)

Mac OS 9 (System 9) and Classic

PowerPC versions of Mac OS X prior to 10.5 include a compatibility layer called Classic, enabling users to run applications and hardware requiring Mac OS 9 from within Mac OS X. This is achieved through booting a full Mac OS 9 system. As a result, Mac OS 9 must be installed on the computer for Classic to function. Most Mac OS 9 applications run well in Classic, although some applications demonstrate screen redraw problems. In addition, scanner drivers and many other utilities no longer work.

In May 2002, at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, Steve Jobs, accompanied by a coffin, held a mock funeral[7] to announce that Apple had stopped development of Mac OS 9. Mac OS 9.2.2, introduced in December 2001, was the final version of Mac OS 9, and the end of the classic Mac OS.

In June 2005, Jobs announced that the Macintosh platform would be transitioning to Intel x86 microprocessors. Developer documentation of the Rosetta PowerPC emulation layer revealed that applications written for Mac OS 8 or 9 would not run on x86-based Macs. The Classic Environment remains in the PowerPC version of Mac OS X 10.4; however, x86 versions of OS X do not officially support Classic.

As a workaround for Intel-based Macs, Mac OS 9 can be emulated up to version 9.0.4 by using SheepShaver, a PowerPC emulator. It cannot emulate above 9.0.4 because SheepShaver does not emulate a memory management unit. The PearPC PowerPC emulator does not support Mac OS 9.[8]

Version history

Version Release Date Changes Codename Computer Price
9.0 October 23, 1999 Initial release Sonata N/A 99 USD
9.0.2 February 2000

(Shipped with Macs)

Bug fixes. N/A PowerBook (FireWire) Only shipped with referred Macs
9.0.3 March 2000

(Shipped with Macs)

Bug fixes. N/A iMac/iMac DV/iMac DV SE Only shipped with referred Macs
9.0.4 April 4, 2000

(download)

Improved USB and FireWire support.

Other bug fixes.

Minuet iMac G3 (slot loading) Free Update
9.1 January 9, 2001 (download) Integrated Disc Burning within Finder.

Implementation of Finder 'Window' menu.

Improved stability.

Fortissimo iBook 14 inch panel Free Update
9.2 June 18, 2001

(Shipped with Macs)

G3 processor as minimum system requirement.

Improved speed and Classic Environment support.

Moonlight Power Mac G4 (QuickSilver) Only shipped with referred Macs
9.2.1 August 21, 2001 (download) Minor bug fixes. Limelight iBook (Late 2001), PowerBook G4 (Gigabit Ethernet) Free Update
9.2.2 December 5, 2001 (download) Bug fixes relating to Classic Environment. LU1 eMac Free Update

Updates to Mac OS 9 include 9.0.4, 9.1, 9.2.1, and 9.2.2. Mac OS 9.0.4 was a collection of bug fixes primarily relating to USB and FireWire support. OS 9.1 included integrated CD burning support in the Macintosh Finder and added a new Window menu in the Finder for switching between open windows. Mac OS 9.2, which required at least a G3 processor, increased performance noticeably.

Compatibility

Macintosh Model 9.0[9] 9.1[9] 9.2.1[9] 9.2.2[9]
Power Macintosh 6100 Yes Yes: Must install from CD No No
Power Macintosh 7100 Yes Yes: Must install from CD No No
Power Macintosh 8100 Yes Yes: Must install from CD No No
PowerBook 2300 Yes Yes No No
PowerBook 5300 Yes Yes No No
PowerBook 1400 Yes Partial: Password Security unsupported No No
PowerBook 3400 Yes Yes: Hard disk driver must not be updated No No
Power Macintosh 5200 Yes Yes No No
Power Macintosh 5300 Yes Yes No No
Power Macintosh 5500 Yes Yes No No
Power Macintosh 4400 Yes Yes No No
Power Macintosh 6200 Yes Yes No No
Power Macintosh 6300 Yes Yes No No
Power Macintosh 6400 Yes Yes No No
Power Macintosh 6500 Yes Yes No No
Power Macintosh 7200 Yes Yes No No
Power Macintosh 7300 Yes Yes No No
Power Macintosh 7500 Yes Yes No No
Power Macintosh 8500 Yes Yes No No
Power Macintosh 7600 Yes Yes No No
Power Macintosh 8600 Yes Yes No No
Power Macintosh 9600 Yes Yes No No
Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh Yes Yes No No
PowerBook G3 Yes Yes No No
PowerBook G3 Series Yes Yes Yes Yes
PowerBook (FireWire) Yes: Machine-specific version only Yes Yes Yes
PowerBook G4 No Yes: Machine-specific version only Yes Yes
PowerBook G4 (Gigabit Ethernet) No No Yes: Machine-specific version only Yes
PowerBook G4 (DVI) No Yes: Machine-specific version only Yes Yes
PowerBook G4 (1GHz/867MHz) No No No Yes: Machine-specific version only
PowerBook G4 (12-inch) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
PowerBook G4 (17-inch) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
PowerBook G4 (12-inch DVI) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
PowerBook G4 (12-inch 1.33GHz) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
PowerBook G4 (12-inch 1.5GHz) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
PowerBook G4 (15-inch FW 800) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
PowerBook G4 (15-inch 1.5/1.33GHz) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
PowerBook G4 (17-inch 1.33GHz) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
PowerBook G4 (17-inch 1.5GHz) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
iBook Yes Yes Yes Yes
iBook (FireWire) Yes: Machine-specific version only Yes Yes Yes
iBook (Dual USB) No Yes: Machine-specific version only Yes Yes
iBook (Late 2001) No Yes: Machine-specific version only Yes Yes
iBook (14.1 LCD) No No No Yes
iBook (16 VRAM) No No No Yes
iBook (Opaque 16 VRAM) No No No Yes
iBook (32 VRAM) No No No Yes
iBook (14.1 LCD 32 VRAM) No No No Yes
iBook (Early 2003) No No No Yes: Machine-specific version only
iBook G4 No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
iBook G4 (14-inch) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
iBook G4 (Early 2004) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
Power Macintosh G3 All-In-One Yes Yes Yes Yes
Power Macintosh G3 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Power Macintosh G3 (Blue and White) Yes Yes Yes Yes
iMac G3 Yes Yes Yes Yes
iMac G3 (266 MHz, 333 MHz) Yes Yes Yes Yes
iMac G3 (Slot Loading) Yes Yes Yes Yes
iMac G3 (Summer 2000) Yes: Machine-specific version only Yes Yes Yes
iMac G3 (Early 2001) No Yes: Machine-specific version only Yes Yes
iMac G3 (Summer 2001) No Yes: Machine-specific version only Yes Yes
iMac G4 No No No Yes
iMac G4 (February 2003) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
iMac G4 (17-inch 1 GHz) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
iMac G4 (USB 2.0) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
eMac No No No Yes
eMac (ATI Graphics CD-ROM drive) No No No Yes: Machine-specific version only
eMac (ATI Graphics Combo drive) No No No Yes: Machine-specific version only
eMac (ATI Graphics SuperDrive) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
Power Mac G4 (PCI Graphics) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Power Mac G4 (AGP Graphics) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Power Mac G4 (Gigabit Ethernet) Yes: Machine-specific version only Yes Yes Yes
Power Mac G4 Cube Yes: Machine-specific version only Yes Yes Yes
Power Mac G4 (Digital Audio) No Yes: Machine-specific version only Yes Yes
Power Mac G4 (QuickSilver) No No Yes Yes
Power Mac G4 (QuickSilver 2002) No No No Yes: Machine-specific version only
Power Mac G4 (Mirrored Drive Doors) No No No Yes: Machine-specific version only
Power Mac G4 (FW 800) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
Power Mac G4 (Mirrored Drive Doors 2003) No No No Yes: Machine-specific version only
Power Mac G5 No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
Power Mac G5 (June 2004) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
Power Mac G5 (Late 2004) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
Power Mac G5 (Early 2005) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
Power Mac G5 (Late 2005) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only
Mac mini (G4) No No No Partial: Classic Environment only

Availability

Retail copies of Mac OS 9 are still available from several Internet businesses at varying prices. Mac OS 9 is no longer available from Apple. Although now classified as abandonware, as development on it has ended, it is still in use by those who cannot upgrade to Mac OS X due to hardware limitations, or prefer it to Mac OS X. Mac OS 9 is also a popular choice for retrocomputing hobbyists. Mac gamers also sometimes revert to Classic in order to play some of the earlier, nonsupported games, for example, Civilization II, and the Marathon Trilogy.

References

External links

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