Part One - History and Evolution

By: Mike Yocom - Revised: 2014-01-27 richard

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This class will introduce the student to the history of the technologies within the Mac OS X operating system. This will include a discussion of the evolution of old Apple technologies and UNIX technologies, how these two sources are combined, and also new technologies Apple is currently developing. Apple's involvement in the Open Source community through its Darwin project will be  discussed. Some of the in-depth technologies reviewed are: preemptive multitasking, virtual memory, protected memory, Carbon, Classic, Cocoa, and Java.

Table Of Contents
    The Macintosh provided the world with the first computer affordable by average people that used a Graphical User Interface (GUI). UNIX is a standard operating system on mainframes and within research centers because of its robust resource management, open source nature, and availability on a wide range of hardware. Mac OS X combines both of these to produce an operating system that is robust, but also easy to use.

    A graphical user interface (GUI) uses graphical elements, instead of text, for the input and output of a program. A pointing device — mouse, trackball, trackpad, writing tablet, etc. — is used to move a pointer around on the screen, as opposed to typing in a series of commands in command-line interfaces.

    The Mac OS was not the first graphical user interface, but it was the first successful one. The reason for this is simple: affordability. The Xerox Alto cost $32 000 to build, the Xerox Star retailed for $16 600, and the Apple Lisa retailed for $10 000. The first Macintosh, on the other hand, retailed for $2 500. Because it was affordable by average people, it was immediately much more attractive than the GUI computers that came before it.

    By the end of 1994 it was clear that Apple needed to release a new operating system. System 7, although rather advanced in many ways, was starting to show its age. A lot of features and technologies that were becoming standard couldn't be supported in the Mac without major re-writes of a huge portion of the operating system.

    Covers the history of UNIX including pre-UNIX chaos, Multics, BSD, Mach, and NeXT.

    Mac OS X, despite its similar name and superficial resemblance to the classic Mac OS, is a new operating system — one that embodies a number of excellent technologies.

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