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Mac OS X

Mac OS X

O

S X is the tenth major version of Apple's operating system for Macintosh computers. Previous Macintosh operating systems were named using Arabic numerals, e.g. Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9.OS X introduced a number of new capabilities to provide a more stable and reliable platform than its predecessor, Mac OS 9.

History

OS X is based upon the Mach kernel. Certain parts from FreeBSD's and NetBSD's implementation of Unix were incorporated in NeXTSTEP, the core of Mac OS X. NeXTSTEP was the graphical, object-oriented, and UNIX-based operating system developed by Steve Jobs' company NeXT after he left Apple in 1985. While Jobs was away from Apple, Apple tried to create a "next-generation" OS through the Taligent, Copland and Gershwin projects, with little success.

Eventually, NeXT's OS, then called OPENSTEP, was selected to be the basis for Apple's next OS, and Apple purchased NeXT outright. Steve Jobs returned to Apple as interim CEO, and later became CEO, shepherding the transformation of the programmer-friendly OPENSTEP into a system that would be adopted by Apple's primary market of home users and creative professionals. The project was first known as Rhapsody and was later renamed to Mac OS X.

Mac OS X Server 1.x, was incompatible with software designed for the original Mac OS and had no support for Apple's own IEEE 1394 (FireWire) interface. Mac OS X 10.x included more backward compatibility through Classic and more functionality by introducing the Carbon API as well as FireWire support. As the operating system evolved, it moved away from the legacy Mac OS to an emphasis on new "digital lifestyle" applications such as the iLife suite, enhanced business applications (iWork), and integrated home entertainment (the Front Row media center). Each version also included modifications to the general interface, such as the brushed metal appearance added in version 10.3, the non-pinstriped titlebar appearance in version 10.4, and in 10.5 the removal of the previous brushed metal styles in favor of the "Unified" gradient window style.

In 2012, with the release of OS X Lion, the "Mac" prefix was officially dropped in all references to the operating system name within marketing materials - and with OS X Mountain Lion "Mac" was dropped in all references within the operating system itself. However, Apple websites and other marketing material continue use both "Mac OS X" and "OS X" interchangeably.

Features

One of the major differences between the previous versions of Mac OS and OS X was the addition of the Aqua GUI, a graphical user interface with water-like elements. Every window element, text, graphic, or widget is drawn on-screen using spatial anti-aliasing technology. ColorSync, a technology introduced many years before, was improved and built into the core drawing engine, to provide color matching for printing and multimedia professionals. Also, drop shadows were added around windows and isolated text elements to provide a sense of depth. New interface elements were integrated, including sheets (document modal dialog boxes attached to specific windows) and drawers.

The human interface guidelines published by Apple for Mac OS X are followed by many applications, giving them consistent user interface and keyboard shortcuts. In addition, new services for applications are included, which include spelling and grammar checkers, special characters palette, color picker, font chooser and dictionary; these global features are present in every Cocoa application, adding consistency. The graphics system OpenGL composites windows onto the screen to allow hardware-accelerated drawing. This technology, introduced in version 10.2, is called Quartz Extreme, a component of Quartz. Quartz's internal imaging model correlates well with the Portable Document Format (PDF) imaging model, making it easy to output PDF to multiple devices. As a side result, PDF viewing and creating PDF documents from any application are built-in features.

Features introduced in version 10.4 include Automator, an application designed to create an automatic workflow for different tasks; Dashboard, a full-screen group of small applications called desktop widgets that can be called up and dismissed in one keystroke; and Front Row, a media viewer interface accessed by the Apple Remote. Moreover, the Sync Services were included, which is a system that allows applications to access a centralized extensible database for various elements of user data, including calendar and contact items. The operating system then managed conflicting edits and data consistency.

Finder is a file browser allowing quick access to all areas of the computer, which has been modified throughout subsequent releases of Mac OS X. Quick Look is part of Mac OS X Leopard's Finder. It allows for dynamic previews of files, including videos and multi-page documents, without opening their parent applications. Spotlight search technology, which is integrated into the Finder since Mac OS X Tiger, allows rapid real-time searches of data files; mail messages; photos; and other information based on item properties (meta data) and/or content. Mac OS X makes use of a Dock, which holds file and folder shortcuts as well as minimized windows.

Software

The APIs that OS X inherited from OpenStep are not backward compatible with earlier versions of Mac OS. These APIs were created as the result of a 1993 collaboration between NeXT Computer and Sun Microsystems and are now referred to by Apple as Cocoa. This heritage is highly visible for Cocoa developers, since the "NS" prefix is ubiquitous in the framework, standing variously for Nextstep or NeXT/Sun. The official OpenStep API, published in September 1994, was the first to split the API between Foundation and Application Kit and the first to use the "NS" prefix. Apple's Rhapsody project would have required all new development to use these APIs, causing much outcry among existing Mac developers. All Mac software that did not receive a complete rewrite to the new framework would run in the equivalent of the Classic environment. To permit a smooth transition from Mac OS 9 to (Mac) OS X, the Carbon Application Programming Interface (API) was created. Applications written with Carbon can be executed natively on both systems. Carbon was not included in the first product sold as "Mac OS X": Mac OS X Server (now referred to as Mac OS X Server 1.x).

OS X also used to support the Java Platform as a "preferred software package" – in practice this means that applications written in Java fit as neatly into the operating system as possible while still being cross-platform compatible, and that graphical user interfaces written in Swing look almost exactly like native Cocoa interfaces. Traditionally, Cocoa programs have been mostly written in Objective-C, with Java as an alternative. However, on July 11, 2005, Apple announced that "features added to Cocoa in Mac OS X versions later than 10.4 will not be added to the Cocoa-Java programming interface."

Since OS X is POSIX compliant, many software packages written for the *BSDs, Linux, or other Unix-like systems can be recompiled to run on it. Projects such as Homebrew, Fink, MacPorts and pkgsrc provide pre-compiled or pre-formatted packages. From version 10.3 to version 10.7, OS X included X11.app, Apple's version of the X Window System graphical interface for Unix applications, as an optional component during installation. Up to and including Mac OS X v10.4 (Tiger), Apple's implementation was based on the X11 Licensed XFree86 4.3 and X11R6.6. All bundled versions of X11 feature a window manager which is similar to the OS X look-and-feel and has fairly good integration with Mac OS X, also using the native Quartz rendering system. Earlier versions of OS X (in which X11 has not been bundled) can also run X11 applications using XDarwin. With the introduction of version 10.5 Apple switched to the X.org variant of X11. Version Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" use X.org Server version 1.10.x Starting with OS X Mountain Lion, X11 is not bundled in OS X; instead, it has to be installed from, for example, the open source XQuartz project.

Applications

Applications are usually developed in the Java language using the Android Software Development Kit, but other development tools are available, including a Native Development Kit for applications or extensions in C or C++, Google App Inventor, a visual environment for novice programmers and various cross platform mobile web applications frameworks.

Applications can be acquired by end-users either through a store such as Google Play or the Amazon Appstore, or by downloading and installing the application's APK file from a third-party site.

Apple–Intel transition

In April 2002, eWeek announced a rumor that Apple had a version of Mac OS X code-named Marklar, which ran on Intel x86 processors. The idea behind Marklar was to keep Mac OS X running on an alternative platform should Apple become dissatisfied with the progress of the PowerPC platform. These rumors subsided until late in May 2005, when various media outlets, such as the The Wall Street Journal and CNET, announced that Apple would unveil Marklar in the coming months.

On June 6, 2005, Steve Jobs confirmed these rumors when he announced in his keynote address at the annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference that Apple would be making the transition from PowerPC to Intel processors over the following two years, and that Mac OS X would support both platforms during the transition. Jobs also confirmed rumors that Apple had versions of Mac OS X running on Intel processors for most of its developmental life. The last time that Apple switched CPU families—from the Motorola 68K CPU to the IBM/Motorola PowerPC—Apple included a Motorola 68K emulator in the new OS that made almost all 68K software work automatically on the new hardware. Apple had supported the 68K emulator for 11 years, but stopped supporting it during the transition to Intel CPUs. Included in the new OS for the Intel-based Macs is Rosetta, a binary translation layer which enables software compiled for PowerPC Mac OS X to run on Intel Mac OS X machines. Apple dropped support for Classic mode on the new Intel Macs. Third party emulation software such as Mini vMac, Basilisk II and SheepShaver provides support for some early versions of Mac OS. A new version of Xcode and the underlying command-line compilers support building universal binaries that will run on either architecture.