The Power of Mac

OS X a Superb Successor

Eric Schwarz - 2002.03.26

Well, it's been exactly one year since OS X came out, and a lot has changed in the Macintosh platform. Apple now makes all new Macs boot into OS X, not to mention offering less and less new stuff for OS 9.

Mac OS X is now almost as easy to use as OS 9, but it is many times more stable. There are plenty of tweaks for OS X, as well as many add-ons. OS X can be customized almost as much as the previous OSes without much trouble.

When I got my iBook a few weeks ago, I decided I would try to stay in OS X and use Classic as little as possible. So far, I've only had to use Classic once, and that's been replaced with an OS X counterpart. I've found that using OS X has been a very good experience.

Scared Mac Users - Rest Assured

I remember last March, before I was writing for LEM and doing a lot of the other Web-based Mac things I was doing, I had heard about Mac OS X being released and completely changing people's Macs. I was scared - was this the final nail in the coffin for Macs that were in the OS 8-and-below range, like my two '040 Macs?

I wanted to replace my PowerBook 540c, but I didn't want a toilet-seaty iBook, and the TiBook was too expensive for my liking. That May, the new iBook came out, and I was impressed. I decided to wait (I never buy a revision 1 of anything) to see what bugs Apple had to iron out. Waiting paid off - I got the boxy power adapter instead of the yo-yo, a better bus speed and faster processor, and other advances for less than the price of the original 500 MHz iBook with Combo drive.

But getting back to March 2001 - I had written a few articles and posted them on my own Web site, since I was getting a few hits, more as a soapbox for me to share my thoughts on the Mac world. For some reason I can't find them on any of the archives, but I'm sure they'll turn up later. Anyway, to sum up what they had said was that OS X seemed like a good operating system, but was it going to sacrifice all the history and work behind the classic Mac OS?

After seeing that Apple decided to include an option that allowed OS X to work like the "old" Finder, rather than column-view, I was a little less concerned, as were many other Mac users.

But what about our control panels and extensions? What would happen to them? Gone, plain and simple.

By the time 10.1 came out, a nifty little feature called "menulets" came out, and we now have the key control strip goodies up on our menu bar. PPP Menu, which I used a lot with my PowerBook 540c (it put a little phone icon in the menu bar to connect and disconnect from the internet), even has a counterpart built into X.


Well, it seems that Mac OS X is an entirely new operating system, which it is. Of course, it's got to ancestors: the Mac OS and Unix. Besides the actual core of OS X being Unix, it works more like the previous Macs.

Even though commands are different, things are in different locations, and everything looks photorealistic, OS X does have subtle hints of its heritage. The System Preferences app resembles System 6's Control Panel all too closely. I think we're going to see Mac OS X follow a similar history of improvements as Mac OS 6 through 9. (Remember how many 6-point-0-point-something versions there were?) We're going to gradually see more and more innovations and familiar features from earlier versions find their way back "home" in OS X.

A Superb Successor

I started with a Mac SE with System 6.0. It was upgraded all the way up to System 6.0.8, and then I made the jump to System 7. After that, many Macs followed, each running different OSes. My newest, my iBook with OS X, still keeps the Mac-like interface but also adds features to make it the most stable computer I've had (besides the SE with 6.0.8).

By Mac OS XI, I think that every company will have versions of their software ready, and everyone who has a newer Mac will be running it. Mac OS X has a little ways to go, but it will carry the torch for the next generation of Mac computing. LEM

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