View Full Version : some thoughts and questions on osx..

01-13-2002, 10:14 PM
ok well maybe i'm catching on to osx a little late, but i'm still a bit confused about some thingz..

does osx essentially mean apple has abandoned their operating system completely and simply created a unix interface?

how much unix will i need to learn to use the new os..? (i.e. where's the system folder?)

and what exactly prevented apple from creating an aqua interface and implementing all the unix traits (preemptive mulitasking, protected memory..ect..) on the mac os..?? (i.e. couldn't all of this have been done based on the mac os instead of unix?)

i love the mac os..and i haven't really had a chance to mess with osx yet..i understand the (apperant) stabilaty and power of unix, but i feel my mac has always been stable..and extremely easy to learn and use..i'm afraid this will change...and something just tells me..why buy a mac? when it's not really a mac...i dunno..


01-13-2002, 11:59 PM
You are not really late. X has been out about a year - it still needs some work to get where 9/Classic is. That said system 10.1 is very nice in many ways.

1) Apple has been trying to 'abandon' their 16+ year old operating system for the last 8 years. One the main reasons why it has taken Apple so long is because they are working hard to make sure Mac OS 10 is as easy to use as 9/Classic. For the past 6 months (or so) Apple has shipped its system with both 9 & 10. Now Apple is shipping system 10 as the default system to boot. You can still boot into classic if you wish. I would give 9/Classic about one more year at most. So in '03 you will HAVE TO use X or MonopolySoft.

2) I do not know squat for Unix. I did a bit of 'unix' in my early college days - on a VAX (old main frame). I did not like it much, but there were some cool things about it.

3) A lot of things and nothing in particular - really. The original Apple Macintosh OS was designed to run on a 400K floppy - and remember all your applications and files would fit on this too. Some of the OS from the LISA made it the Mac as well - so we are going back to the early 80's, when a 16-bit computer was HIGH END. I think the 68K chip was 24bit and it has a high resoultion display of 512x384pixels. The OS was highly extensible and it served Apple and its users well until the early to mid 90's.

Apple had been trying, unsuccesfully, to develop a 'modern' OS. There was something called PINK that never saw the light of day. I think Apple sold this a few years back for a small fee, $300M? Then there was Copeland (or maybe Copland?). This was back in '95~'96 and was supposed to be the modern OS everyone dreamed about. I remember getting a PB 5300cs because it uses the 601PPC chip and at that time Apple was saying it would no longer support 68K for Copeland. Copeland was a disaster. John Scully (IIRC) was fired and Gil Amelio took over and salvaged Copeland into Mac OS 8.0. This added cool things like a multi-tasking finder. You could finally copy multiple things and do several things at once - within the limits of cooperative multitasking. You could not, however, delete/format a floppy and do something else. System 8.1 added HFS+ to utilize 'large' (4GB and higher) drives more efficiently for small files (< 128KB). Virtual memory was also improved. Gil also helped to trim the massive array of models and he cut some non performing research. He also introduced the G3PPC systems [gossamer).

Apple was still in trouble (arent they always?) and Gil was looking for a modern OS. It was clear that Apple was not able (at the time) to build its own system. They looked at BeOS and NeXT Inc. You probably know NeXT was the company Jobs created after he was kicked out of Apple by John Scully. NeXT was a unix based corporate SERVER system that was used by many large companies - Chrylser is one I remember - but I never used the system. BeOS was started by another ex-Apple partiot named Jean Louise Gassie (spelling?) and was more or less and Apple OS done right. It had all the features that Mac OS was lacking and it was a cool interface that kept many of the old Mac keyboard short cuts. It was never really finished though. Be (like NeXT) made some of its old boxes. It eventually discontinued hardware production since that was expensive and risky. This was way back in '95 when the clones were appearing. PowerComputing liked BeOS and they encouraged Be to build an OS for the clone Macs. With the help of PC Be was able to make an OS that would work on just about any 604/604e PPC system from Apple. Be's original boxes ran on 603PPCs (IIRC), so they did not have to re-invent the wheel. NeXT had been around for several years and Be had only been around for several months and Gil Amelio wanted Jobs back. Jobs still had something for his old company - after all it was his baby and 1st success. It made him a billionaire and he took pride in the ground breaking work that Apple started. However Jobs did not was to be part of the Amelio team. In fact Jobs was probably a bit parnoid about being stabbed in the back again. Apple bought NeXT and its OS and top tech people. If you look back its more like NeXT took over Apple some how - even though Apple was the bigger company and bought NeXT. There were stories of former Apple execs hiding under desks (before they purchased NeXT) so there were major leadership issues. Gil was a good turn around man and he did get Apple pointed in the right direction, but it was time for him to go.

Steve Jobs fired Gil and started to work on his baby - to nurse it back to health. At this time Michael Dell said he would never wish anyone to be in Jobs position and he indicated that there was no hope for Apple (dont they always say this?). Steve came up with the idea for a 'space aged' computer, something that would be like the Jetsons and out of this came the iMac. They also got to work integrating and tweaking NeXT OS for the Macs & PPC systems. Previously NeXT ran on x86 hardware and they were working to make the Mac OS run on Intel compatibles. This was next gen OS was called Rhaposdy and it was a milestone, but there were issues.

Nobody wanted to write code for it. The venerable MacOS had thousands of applications, but all those developers and all that code would have to be tossed out the window and programs such as Photoshop and everything else would have to be rebuilt from the ground up. This would most likely have cost billions and more and also carry a huge risk - what if the OS and/or Apple failed? Big companies would face lay offs. Small companies would go under. There were some NeXT developers but they were mainly in the high end corporate world - not really Apple's core customer. Apple had hit the brick wall. They had a completely modern OS. The interface was not the best, but even worse, they had NO applications. It seems Steve came to the resque again - Apple shelved Rhapsody - well mostly. They decided that that they had to make it as easy as possible more developers to port and write applications for the MacOS. This is when Carbon came into the picture. Now developers needed to only spend a few months porting their applications to 10. If they wanted they could make applications completely native in 10 with the Coca builder (developer environment) but the big risk was over and everyone started to flock to the system. Of course there were still doubts and questions - after all this was Apple's third (maybe fourth) and probably last attempt at creating a modern OS.

The Mac OS can be very stable, especially if you do not use the Finder. That is if you set the Mac up as a server and let it run. I have had Macs run for months on end like this - and only have to restart because of
a) power outtage
b) network outtage (on their end)
c) company going bankrupt
d) phone/data lines coming down
e) network 'upgrade' (on their end)

The mac can be brought down fairly easily, but it does handle graphics much better. Of course Windows can be brought down easily too and it is the Virus king. Windows/NT/2K is suppose to be a modern OS, but it does have some oddities and it can crash easily. Memory protection and pre-emptive multi-tasking ONLY protect the system from bad applications (most of the time). Bad drivers, dlls and other low level executables can crash Windows in a heartbeat. This can also happen in Linux or Unix, but since Unix is a server OS and Linux has roots in Unix - these people put stability over features. That is why there is a STABLE version of the Linux kernal and a beta/experimental version. Hardware can also cause problems for any of these applications. NT4 is not 'plug&play' while NT5/2K is. Still there are limits and many people had issues with drivers and support for their legacy hardware in 2K - in fact many people still have issues, but 2K is much more usable now that 12 months ago. In fact I am sure NT5/Xp is simply NT5 service pack 3 (there are 6~7 service packs for NT4).

i'm afraid this will change...and something just tells me..why buy a mac? when it's not really a mac...i dunno..
Fear of change if fairly normal. If it aint broke, why fix it? Well MacOS was broke and it desperately needed fixing. System 10 is a TOTAL Apple OS - because it is built around a good interface and it is all about the graphics. Apple did not simply put a lot of eye candy on X. They invented their own and a superior display post script. You are probably familiar with post script printer fonts - and Adobe Reader & Acrobat. NeXT OS used display postscript. The main reason why nobody else has done this is two fold:
1) it costs a ton of money to license post script from Adobe. To much for a consuer level system anyway.
2) it is very expensive CPU wise to run with display postscript.

This is one reason why you NEED a RAGE128 or newer to get good 2D acceleration in Quartz - Apple's 2D display engine.

That new iMac - iLamp ROCKS!
You can get a Free Copy of Maya!
You will be able to get Adobe apps native to 10!
You can get those Windows IDIOTS to SHUTUP when you tell them you are running UnixBSD/Mach 3.5MicroKernel.
System X is a fully PPC native OS - Apple's first.
Unix 'POSIX' apps can be ported to X.
It is Linux with an easy to use interface.
You can still run classic on a new Mac.
You can even run Classic in emulation in X.

Guess that was more than you wanted to know but you questions were kinda vague http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

To boldly go where no english professor has gone before! -)

01-14-2002, 12:09 AM

01-14-2002, 12:33 AM
>does osx essentially mean apple has abandoned their operating
>system completely and simply created a unix interface?

To put is very simply, yes. The way the Classic MacOS communicates with software & hardware has changed completely.

There are three main parts to the New Mac Order.

Classic is an emulation environment which boots inside of OSX, it is similar to Virtual PC, but it does not need its own window (know as rootless window management).

Carbon is a way to migrate from Classic to OSX. Carbon applications work 'natively' in both X and 9.x, however, there is compromise. In X Carbon apps don't utilize all the power and functionality available to them. In 9, these applications rely on an extension for compatibilty, which means that they use functionality which is not part of the core OS (I assume Carbon apps won't work with extensions off).

Cocoa is the API for the future of the Mac. Cocoa takes full advantage of the abilities of OSX, and Cocoa apps are better integrated with the OS. They will not run under 9.

>how much unix will i need to learn to use the new os..? (i.e. where's the
>system folder?)

Quote from Apple employee at MWSF 'If you have to use the command line, tell us!'

In theory, you need to know no unix whatsoever, and for consumers, this may hold true. For the type of power users that hang around here, the command line (UNIX sans GUI) is often helpful. For instance, instead of buying a Shareware title to change every .mp3#1 to .mp3, I wrote a command line script that renames 3600 files, in 6 minutes.

If you have never used anything but a Mac, the command line is confusing, perhaps daunting. Shareware titles will put GUIs on most shell commands for you. For those who have ever used unix, having a command line 'under' you Mac is a Godsend!

>and what exactly prevented apple from creating an aqua interface and
>implementing all the unix traits (preemptive mulitasking, protected
>memory..ect..) on the mac os..?? (i.e. couldn't all of this have been done
>based on the mac os instead of unix?)

Unix 'traits' were simply not desinged into System 1-OS9. To add them would have been an enormous undertaking (Copland tried pre-emptive multitasking). By building on top of BSD/Darwin, Apple saves much of the R & D costs, while making the Mac more powerful for developers, science users, and modelers. For intance, literally thousands of apps have been ported to OSX/XonX/Darwin/etc.

Initially, this means little, as most users can't configure or don't need them, but over time, MacOSX should do what Linux has tried for years to do:
Bring Unix to the masses.

>i love the mac os..and i haven't really had a chance to mess with osx yet..i
>understand the (apperant) stabilaty and power of unix, but i feel my mac
>has always been stable..and extremely easy to learn and use..i'm afraid
>this will change...and something just tells me..why buy a mac? when it's
> not really a mac...i dunno..

You still get a Mac. It is just sitting on top of unix. If you never had problems with crashes, Type 1, 10, 11, etc errors under 9, you're a luckier soul than I .

Add to that, if you don't buy a Mac, you get either Windows, or unix/Linux, and Windows is known to crash when the cat walks by, is prone to virii, and offers 250,000 software titles (of which 245,000 are poorly coded garbage!).

Unix/Linux without Aqua (the G in MacOSX's GUI) WILL require a command line, no matter which flavor.

01-14-2002, 01:39 AM

thankz for clearing that up..

i would never in a gazillion years switch back to windoze..and your right in that i haven't had many problems with my mac os..i bought my 8600/200 about 4 years ago, and it has only crashed on me once (knock on wood)..and that is with heavy audio/cubase, photoshop, running server,..ect..all on a daily basis..so thats the school i'm coming from..

i think i'll prolly stick with what i got for now..considering i'll prolly need newer hardware to run osx effeciantly..

my main worry was having to learn unix in the long run..i mean when something is wrong on the mac os, the answer is somewhere on the screen, most likey in the system folder..or whatever..it didn't require learning unix..so i really hope this is the case..if so i will glady support apple in their transition to a more stable platform, as long as they intergrate the percieved ease of use to the user, including when something goes wrong..(i've already read reports from people flipping out over kernal attacks, or whatever they are..this is why i'm getting put off)..

but duh, i'd never switch to windoze..i'd prolly just end up sticking with 9.1...i mean i got everything i need (cubase, photoshop, itunes, ect..)..although it would be cool if someone came up with aa aqua emulator for 9.1...anywayz..thankz..


01-14-2002, 01:43 AM
Chris and dragon_x,
I gotta say that I knew most of what you guys wrote and yet what you wrote is fascinating! Really well done, thanks.

You get to using OSX, even just switching over and browsing on the web once a day or so, and you'll be a OSX fan in no time.

The GUI is the part that the User sees and it's gorgeous! Installing OSX and running OSX WON the C-Net editors challenge over the new winders (XP). These guys are Wintel Weenies and they gave OSX the win.

You, as a experienced mac user will find the OS to be familiar yet different. Not just different and scary. Apple has done very well with their work in progress OS making the usage of it fairly intuitive as well as keeping enough similariries to the Mac OS for a little comfort by the new user like us.

I would expect the ease of use to go way up with the release of OS10.2. Each release so far has filled the gaps that make it hard to do what we're used to doing on the Mac. 10.2 will be awesome.

Get yourself into OSX and start playing in it and soon you'll be touting its capabilities like Jobs, his highness hisself does.


01-14-2002, 02:14 AM
yeah..actually i borrowed a copy of osx from my boss, and plan on intalling it with that unsupported utillity as soon as my new HD arrives..i'm actually very much looking forward to playing with it..

i just like the fact that at the moment i can count on myself, a manual, and the internet to fix it when something goes wrong, and not have to to call in a unix specialist..i just hope this stays the case..thankz for all the input.. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif


01-16-2002, 11:16 AM
I found some more info!
From http://www.macwindows.com

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>MacWindows

Mac OS X Cross-Platform Special Report

Last updated January 15, 2001
On this page:

* Introduction
* Version history
* Notes of interest
* Reader reports


Mac OS X was released on March 24, 2001&emdash;exactly two years and a day after OS 9.0. Mac OS X is the result of nearly 10 years of research, planning, engineering, and strategy revisions in an effort to create a new generation of operating system for Macintosh. These efforts include Pink, Taligent, Copland, and Rhapsody. (Apple also briefly considered buying BeOS before bout NeXT and OpenStep.) In the end, Apple decided to go with the open source BSD Unix as the core of Mac OS X, running on a Mach kernel. Apple calls this first version an "early adopters" version. It is very stable and a good start, but is not quite finished. (See the John Rizzo's review at CNET.)

Steve Jobs predicted that by they end of the year 2001, Mac OS X would be largest Unix distribution in terms of volume, as well as the largest Java 2 distribution. We asked Jobs about the extent of BSD Unix that is available to the user OS X user. He described OS X as a robust and complete Unix environment. BSD in OS X provides uses with an FTP server and an Apache web server which can be turned on in the Sharing pane of the System Preferences window. The Terminal application, which provides a command line shell, is installed in the Applications/Utilities/ directory. Avie Tevanian, Apple's Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, said that most Linux software should run unaltered on OS X after a recompile. A server based on Mac OS X 10.1 shipped in September.

Though there is little new in the way of Windows integration in OS X 10.0. Cross-platform compatibility suffered in the short term, but bodes well for the long term. It suffers short-term because much of the most popular cross-platform software for the Mac does not yet run on Mac OS X, even under the Classic mode. We should see most of these products ported to OS X by the end of the year.Mac OS X 10.1 improved cross-platform compatibility (see Version history below).<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Direct Link to article - http://www.macwindows.com/MacOSX.html#010802

01-16-2002, 10:47 PM
I am very much *not* a mac os power user, but one comment in the article dragon quoted made my ears perk up:

>Avie Tevanian, Apple's Senior Vice President of Software Engineering,
>said that most Linux software should run unaltered on OS X after a recompile.

does this mean that I can download any program written for Linux and run it on my mac?!? And if so, what does the "recompile" comment refer to? Is this something that can be accomplished by using the developers tools CD that was shipped with 10.1? If you all could help my wondering mind out, that would be excellent.


01-18-2002, 04:44 AM
does this mean that I can download any program written for Linux and run it on my mac?!?

Sorry. No. It does mean that many packages written for UNIX/Linux may be relatively easily ported to run in the Darwin environment, but this usually requires the installation of XFree86 into Darwin along with OS X's Quartz environment.

And if so, what does the "recompile" comment refer to? Is this something that can be accomplished by using the developers tools CD that was shipped with 10.1?

The Developers CD does install the necessary compiling package to allow doing the above. After running the Installer on the Developers CD, check out Fink (http://fink.sourceforge.net/) and XonX (http://sourceforge.net/projects/xonx/).

[This message has been edited by lasvegas (edited 18 January 2002).]

01-19-2002, 07:50 AM
You get to using OSX, even just switching over and browsing on the web once a day or so, and you'll be a OSX fan in no time.

Amen to that. That's exactly what happened to me.

01-19-2002, 07:38 PM
well i got around to playing with it for the last few dayz, so here's my impression...

it's sllllooooooowwwwww..ok, granted i'm trying to run it my 8600/200, but still, basic stuff like browsing takes 2-3 times longer than os9..not even to mention window resizing..and i couldn't even get cubase to run in classic..although i'm sure much of this could be cured by forking out for a new computer, which i plan on anyway eventually, but should i really "have" to when everything runs perfect now, and do it just because apple decides to make a graphic heavy interface?..but i will be forced to just to stay with the times i guess..and i've still read reports of it being slow on g4's..so i dunno..

and the gui is like going to a circus on acid..woh!..i think it's a little too much for me..i mean, i feel half my proccessing power is going to the freaking gui..what about when i just need to get stuff done..?..i guess if i didn't already love os9, i'd think it's cool, but i feel it's not so much a new os, as a "tottally" new os..made for kidz or something...everything is different..

i mean in os9..i like the upper right button on a browser window where it clicks up to a stripe...now the page goes into an unreadable little icon in the dock instead..what about when i have ten pages like that?..it's get's a bit crammped..why??..

and i suppose it'll just take some getting used to the new organizational methods and menus...and i'm sure 3rd party stuff will cure alot of what ails me, but the classic mac os is the culmination of years of great experience, and they just through much of it out the door it seems..

maybe i missed some stuff, and i'm whining about features that are already there, but i couldn't find them..and i think it would be really cool if they could just put os9 on a unix shell..so it looked and worked exactlly like os9, but with the benifits of unix..not to say they shouldn't also keep osx, but it's such a big change it scares me a bit..i dunno..i suppose it'll grow on me in time..but i don't feel at home there yet..oh well..my 2centz..


01-20-2002, 04:32 AM
Yeah, running OS X on a 200 MHz 604e can be an exercise in frustration, especially if you don't have a good (>= 256 MB) amount of RAM. I upgraded my 8500 to a G3/400 and upped the RAM to 704 MB and it feels really snappy (one of my friends commented that my upgraded 8500 was faster than his iBook - i think it's because I have so much RAM). However, I do boot into OS 9 quite frequently because, as you mention, screen redraws are bad (I was hoping to rectify that with a Radeon 7000, but alas it looks like ATI still can't make a video card properly) and also because I use the AV capabilities of my 8500 to watch TV on my 20" monitor. Aside from those times, I prefer to have my 8500 under X because it's so much more stable and crashproof when I'm browsing (browsers account for most of my crashes under 9).

[This message has been edited by ICCAFSN (edited 20 January 2002).]

01-20-2002, 07:30 AM
Like ICCAFSN said - you really need a good video card. I have run X on a G4/466 with the old ix3D 8MB PCI card (as a secondary video) - man it is S L O W and it also can slow down the main video.

Speedwise - I have tried 10.1 on a G4/466, G3/500 and a G4/867. Dual monitor support in 10.1 is not the best. Hopefully it will get better. Some things work as fast on a G3/500 as on a G4/867. I had dual RADEONs on my G3/500 and there were nice. I could run two full screen MPEG videos at the same time with little to no frame lose. I could NOT do that in MacOS 9.

The G4/466 has 384MB of RAM and it runs fine. Running Photoshop 5 in classic mode is slow. I even have run PS6 in classic mode on my 867 with 768MB of RAM and it is fairly slow vs. 9. The good news is that PS 7 should be coming out soon and this wil be native to X and 9. It should run very nicely - esp since Adobe has DELAYED its release to make sure Mac OS X is PERFECT for them. It better run well!

On my G4/867 i get about double the frame rates in UT on my PCI RADEON in Mac OS 9, but there are not any good games out for 10.1 yet that I can test on. I have run the beta (alpha) UT on X, but it is very glitchy. I am trying to mess with iDVD2 - to see how fast this puppy really is...

One other great feature of X is the file I/O and pre-emptive multi-tasking. File IO is faster and clicking on a menu does not bring your 4 drive x15 Cheetah RAID to a screaching halt! http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

In Mac OS 9, browsers were crash occasionally, but would rarely take down the system.

As for Linux apps running in X. Well I used to hang out around a bunch of linux geeks. The funny thing is they would ALWAYS be recompiling applications to run on Linux or their version of the Linux kernal or whatever. To do this I think you need to download the 'binaries' and then run them through a compiler. I get the impression it could be link making an apple script or compiling C++ code into a working app? The thing with X is that you can pretty much do ANYTHING - but you NEED to know the command line to do this. Apple has provided many user interfaces to make it mostly Mac like - and for the Mac things it is very Mac like - but for some hard core unix things it is not quite there yet.

To get a better idea of things - in a non-geek kind of way - check this QT Streaming video out http://www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/powerofx/

You will probably want a G3/300Mhz, ATI RAGE128 or better and a broadband connection to watch this.