History of Mac OS
On January 24, 1984, Apple Computer Inc. (now Apple Inc.) introduced the Macintosh personal computer, later retroactively renamed to the Macintosh 128K model. The operating system of early Macintosh is named "System Software" or "System", and its ensuing series was later renamed to Mac OS after 7.5. The Macintosh platform is credited with having popularized the concept of the graphical user interface.
The original Macintosh system software was partially based on the Lisa OS, previously released by Apple for the Lisa computer in 1983. As part of an agreement allowing Xerox to buy shares in Apple at a favorable price, it also used concepts from the Xerox PARC Xerox Alto, which Steve Jobs and several other Macintosh team members had previewed. Mac OS has been pre-installed on every Macintosh computer made, and has been sold separately in retail stores until being distributed exclusively online.
Early history 1
- Development 1.1
- Release 1.2
- System 1, 2, 3 and 4 2
- System Software 5 3
- System Software 6 4
System 7 5
- Mac OS 7.6 5.1
- Version history 5.2
- Mac OS 8 6
- Mac OS 9 7
- OS X 8
- Timeline 9
- See also 10
- References 11
- Further reading 12
- External links 13
The Macintosh project started in late 1978 with Jef Raskin, who envisioned an easy-to-use, low-cost computer for the average consumer. In September 1979, Raskin began looking for an engineer who could put together a prototype. Bill Atkinson, a member of the Apple Lisa team, introduced Raskin to Burrell Smith, a service technician who had been hired earlier that year.
In January 1981, Steve Jobs completely took over the Macintosh project. Jobs and a number of Apple engineers visited Xerox PARC in December 1979, three months after the Lisa and Macintosh projects had begun. After hearing about the pioneering GUI technology being developed at Xerox PARC from former Xerox employees like Raskin, Jobs negotiated a visit to see the Xerox Alto computer and Smalltalk development tools in exchange for Apple stock options. The final Lisa and Macintosh operating systems use concepts from the Xerox Alto, but many elements of the graphical user interface were created by Apple including the menu bar, pop-up menus, and the concepts of drag and drop and direct manipulation.
Unlike the IBM PC, which uses 8 kB of system ROM for power-on self-test (POST) and basic input/output system (BIOS), the Mac ROM is significantly larger (64 kB) and holds key OS code. Much of the original Mac ROM was coded by Andy Hertzfeld, a member of the original Macintosh team. He was able to conserve some of the precious ROM space by interleaving some of the assembly language code. In addition to the ROM, he also coded the kernel, the Macintosh Toolbox, and some of the desktop accessories (DAs). The icons of the operating system, which represent folders and application software, were designed by Susan Kare, who later designed the icons for Microsoft Windows 3.0. Bruce Horn and Steve Capps wrote the Macintosh Finder, as well as a number of Macintosh system utilities.
Apple was very aggressive in advertising their new machine. After it was created, the company bought all 39 pages of advertisement space in the 1984 November/December edition of Newsweek magazine. Apple was so successful in its marketing for the Macintosh that it quickly outsold its more sophisticated predecessor, the Lisa. Apple quickly developed a product called MacWorks, which allowed the Lisa to emulate Macintosh system software through System 3, by which time it had been discontinued as the re-branded Macintosh XL. Many of Lisa's operating system advances would not appear in the Macintosh operating system until System 7 or later. The system was renamed Mac OS when the company began licensing clones and needed a clear product name for the OS.
The first version of Mac OS (simply called System) is easily distinguished between many other operating systems from the same period because it does not use a command line interface; it was one of the first operating systems to use an entirely graphical user interface or GUI. Additional to the system kernel is the Finder, an application used for file management, which also displays the Desktop. The two files were contained in a folder directory labeled System Folder, which contained other resource files, like a printer driver, needed to interact with the System.
System 1, 2, 3 and 4
These releases can only run one application, except for desk accessories, at a time, though special application shells such as Servant, MultiMac, or Switcher (discussed under AppleTalk and the newly introduced LaserWriter to use it. System 2.1 (Finder 5.0) introduced the HFS (Hierarchical File System) which has real directories. This version was specifically to support the Hard Disk 20 and only implements HFS in RAM; startup and most floppy disks remain MFS 400 K volumes. System 3.0 (Finder 5.1) was introduced with the Mac Plus, officially implementing HFS, 800K startup drives, support for several new technologies including SCSI and AppleShare, and Trash "bulging" (i.e., when the Trash contains files, it gains a bulged appearance). System 4.0 was released with the Mac SE and System 4.1 first shipped with the Macintosh II—these new machines required additional support for the first expansion slots, the Apple Desktop Bus (ADB), internal hard drives and, on the Mac II, lighter, color, larger displays and the first Motorola 68020 processor.
Changes in early Macintosh operating systems are best reflected in the version number of the Finder, where major leaps are found between 1.x, 4.x, 5.x, and 6.x.
|System Software Release||System Version||Release Date||Finder Version||LaserWriter Version||Release Information|
|Mac System Software||1.0 (.97)||January 24, 1984||1.0||Initial Release|
|Mac System Software (0.1)||1.1||May 5, 1984||1.1g||Maintenance Release, Added Mountain scene, About box, Clean Up Command|
|Mac System Software (0.3 & 0.5)||2.0||April 1985||4.1||
Finder Update: Introduced multiple folders, "Shut Down" command, and installation of a "MiniFinder" application for quickly launching any of the chosen applications
System: Introduced screenshots using ⌘ Command+⇧ Shift+3
|2.1||September 1985||5.0||Release for Hard Disk 20 support|
|Mac System Software (0.7)||3.0||January 1986||5.1||1.1||Introduced with Mac Plus|
|System Software 1.0||3.1||February 1986||5.2||1.1|
|System Software 1.1||3.2||June 1986||5.3||3.1||Fixed problems with data loss, system crashes; updated Chooser and Calculator.|
|AppleShare 1.0||3.3||January 1987||5.4||AppleShare 1.0 Work Station Installer disk (for the Macintosh 512K)|
|AppleShare 1.1||3.3||1987||5.5||AppleShare 1.1 Work Station Installer disk (for the Macintosh 512K)|
|AppleShare 2.0||3.4||1988||6.1||AppleShare 2.0 Macintosh 512Ke Work Station Installer disk|
|System Software 2.0||4.0||January 1987||5.4||3.3||Introduced AppleShare|
|System Software 2.0.1||4.1||March 2, 1987||5.5||4.0||Release for Macintosh II and SE. Updated LaserWriter Driver|
System Software 5
System Software 5 (also referred to as "System 5") added MultiFinder, an extension which lets the system run several programs at once. The system uses a cooperative multitasking model, meaning that time was given to the background applications only when the running application yielded control. A change in system functions that applications were already calling to handle events makes many existing applications share time automatically. Users can also choose not to use MultiFinder, thereby sticking with using a single application at a time as in previous releases of the system software.
System Software 5 is the first Macintosh operating system to be given a unified "Macintosh System Software" version number, as opposed to the numbers used for the System and Finder files. It was available for a very short time and only in some countries, including the United States, Canada and some European countries.
|Software version||Release information|
|5.0||4.2||October 1987||6.0||1.0||5.0||Initial Release|
|5.1||4.3||November 1987||6.0||1.0||5.1||Updated LaserWriter Driver and new version of Apple HD SC Setup|
System Software 6
System Software 6 (also referred to simply as System 6) is a consolidation release of the Mac OS, producing a complete, stable, and long-lasting operating system. Two major hardware introductions requiring additional support under System 6 are the 68030 processor and 1.44 MB SuperDrive debuting with the Macintosh IIx and Macintosh SE/30. Later, it would include support for the first specialized laptop features with the introduction of the Macintosh Portable. From System 6 forward, the Finder would have a unified version number closely matching that of the System, alleviating much of the confusion caused by the often considerable differences between earlier Systems.
|System Version||Release Date||Finder Version||MultiFinder Version||LaserWriter Version||Release Information|
|6.0||April, 1988||6.1||6.0||5.2||Initial Release|
|6.0.1||September 19, 1988||6.1.1||6.0.1||5.2||Release for Macintosh IIx (1988)|
|6.0.2||Late 1988||6.1||6.0.1||5.2||Maintenance Release|
|6.0.3||March 7, 1989||6.1||6.0.3||5.2||Release for Macintosh IIcx (1989)|
|6.0.4||September 20, 1989||6.1.4||6.0.4||5.2||Release for Macintosh Portable and IIci (1989)|
|6.0.5||March 19, 1990||6.1.5||6.0.5||5.2||Release for Macintosh IIfx (1990)|
|6.0.6||October 15, 1990||6.1.6||6.0.6||5.2||Not released because of AppleTalk bug |
|6.0.7||October 16, 1990||6.1.7||6.0.7||5.2||Official release for Macintosh LC, IIsi and Classic (1990)|
|6.0.8||May 13, 1991||6.1.8||6.0.8||7.0||Updated printing software to match software of System 7.0|
|6.0.8L||March 23, 1992||6.1.8||6.0.8||7.0||Limited maintenance release for Pacific customers|
On May 13, 1991, System 7 was released. It is a major upgrade to the Mac OS, adding a significant user interface overhaul, new applications, stability improvements and many new features. Its introduction coincides with the release of and provided support for the 68040 Macintosh line. The System 7 era saw numerous changes in the Macintosh platform including a proliferation of Macintosh models, the 68k to Power Macintosh transition as well as the rise of Microsoft Windows, increasing use of computer networking and the explosion in popularity of the internet.
One of the most significant features of System 7 is virtual memory support, which previously had only been available as a third-party add-on. Accompanying this was a move to 32-bit memory addressing, necessary for the ever-increasing amounts of RAM available to the Motorola 68030 CPU, and 68020 CPUs with a 68551 PMMU. This process involves making all of the routines in OS code use the full 32-bits of a pointer as an address—prior systems used the upper 8 bits as flags. This change is known as being "32-bit clean". While System 7 itself is 32-bit clean, many existing machines and thousands of applications were not, so it was some time before the process was completed. To ease the transition, the "Memory" control panel contains a switch to disable this feature, allowing for compatibility with older applications.
Another notable System 7 feature is built-in cooperative multitasking. In System Software 6, this function was optional through the MultiFinder. System 7 also introduced aliases, similar to shortcuts that were introduced in later versions of Microsoft Windows. System extensions were enhanced by being moved to their own subfolder; a subfolder in the System Folder was also created for the control panels. In System 7.5, Apple includes the Extensions Manager, a previously third-party program which simplified the process of enabling and disabling extensions.
The Apple menu, home only to desk accessories in System 6, was made more general-purpose: the user could now make often-used folders and applications—or anything else they desired—appear in the menu by placing aliases to them in an "Apple Menu Items" subfolder of the System Folder. System 7 also introduced the following: AppleScript, a scripting language for automating tasks; 32-bit QuickDraw, supporting so-called "true color" imaging, previously available as a system extension; and TrueType, an outline font standard.
The Trash, under System 6 and earlier, empties itself automatically when shutting down the computer—or, if MultiFinder is not running, when launching an application. System 7 reimplements the Trash as a special hidden folder, allowing files to remain in it across reboots until the user deliberately chose the "Empty Trash" command.
System 7.1 is mainly a bugfix release, with a few minor features added. System 7.1 is not only the first Macintosh operating system to cost money (all previous versions were free or sold at the cost of the floppies), but also received a "Pro" sibling with extra features. System 7.1.2 was the first version to support PowerPC-based Macs. System 7.1 also introduces the System Enablers as a method to support new models without updating the actual System file. This leads to extra files inside the system folder (one per new model supported).
System 7.5 introduces a large number of new features, many of which are based on shareware applications that Apple bought and included into the new system. On the newer PowerPC machines, System 7.5 may have stability problems partly due to a new memory manager (which can be turned off), and issues with the handling of errors in the PowerPC code (all PowerPC exceptions map to Type 11). These issues do not affect 68k-architecture machines. System 7.5 is contemporary with Apple's failed Copland effort as well as the release of Windows 95, which coincides with Apple's purchase of several shareware system enhancements to include as new system features.
Mac OS 7.6
Stability improves in PPC Macs with Mac OS 7.6, which drops the "System" moniker as a more trademarkable name was needed in order to license the OS to the growing market of third-party Macintosh clone manufacturers. Mac OS 7.6 required 32-bit-clean ROMs, and so drops support for every Mac with a 68000, as well as the Mac II, Mac IIx, Mac IIcx, and Mac SE/30.
- System 7.0 (integrated MultiFinder always enabled)
- System 7.0.1 (introduced with LC II and Quadra series)
- System 7.0.1P
- System 7 Tuner (update for both 7.0 and 7.0.1)
- System 7.1
- System 7.1P
- System 7.1P1
- System 7.1P2
- System 7.1P3 (last release with new features)
- System 7.1P4
- System 7.1P5
- System 7.1P6
- System 7.1 Pro (version 7.1.1, combined with PowerTalk, Speech Manager & Macintalk, Thread Manager)
- System 7.1.2 (first version for Macs equipped with a PowerPC processor)
- System 7.1.2P (only for Performa/LC/Quadra 630 series, very quickly replaced by 7.5)
- System 7.5
- System 7.5.1 (System 7.5 Update 1.0—the first Macintosh operating system to call itself "Mac OS")
- System 7.5.2 (first version for Power Macs that use PCI expansion cards, usable only on these Power Macs and PowerBooks 5300, 190, and Duo 2300)
- System 7.5.3 (System 7.5 Update 2.0)
- System 7.5.3L (only for Mac clones)
- System 7.5.3 Revision 2
- System 7.5.3 Revision 2.1 (only for Performa 6400/180 and 6400/200)
- System 7.5.4, withdrawn within hours of release and replaced by 7.5.5
- System 7.5.5 Last to support non-32-bit-clean Macs, including all with less than a 68030 CPU except the Macintosh LC.
- Mac OS 7.6 (name formally changed because of the experimental clone program, although System 7.5.1 and later used the "Mac OS" name on the splash screen)
- Mac OS 7.6.1 Proper PowerPC error handling introduced.
Mac OS 8
Mac OS 8 was released on July 26, 1997, shortly after Steve Jobs returned to the company. It was mainly released to keep the Mac OS moving forward during a difficult time for Apple. Initially planned as Mac OS 7.7, it was renumbered "8" to exploit a legal loophole and accomplish Jobs's goal of terminating third-party manufacturers' licenses to System 7 and shutting down the Macintosh clone market. 8.0 added a number of features from the abandoned Copland project, while leaving the underlying operating system unchanged. A multi-threaded Finder was included; files could now be copied in the background. The GUI was changed in appearance to a new shaded greyscale look called Platinum, and the ability to change the appearance themes (also known as skins) was added with a new control panel (though Platinum was the only one shipped). This capability was provided by a new "appearance" API layer within the OS, one of the few significant changes.
Apple sold 1.2 million copies of Mac OS 8 in its first two weeks of availability and 3 million within six months. In light of Apple's financial difficulties at the time, there was a large grassroots movement among Mac users to upgrade and "help save Apple". Even some pirate groups refused to redistribute the OS.
Mac OS 8.1 sees the introduction of an updated version of the Hierarchical File System called HFS Plus, which fixed many of the limitations of the earlier system (HFS Plus continues to be used in OS X). There are some other interface changes such as separating network features from printing, and some improvements to application switching. However, in underlying technical respects, Mac OS 8 is not very different from System 7.
Mac OS 8.5 focuses on speed and stability, with lots of old 68k code replaced by modern code native to the PowerPC. It also improved the appearance on the system, although the theming feature was cut late in development.
- Mac OS 8.0 (first version to require a 68040 processor, dropping support for the remainder of the Macintosh II series and other 68030 Macs, added support for the PowerPC G3 processor)
- Mac OS 8.1 (last version to run on a 68K processor, added support for USB on the Bondi iMac, added support for HFS+)
- Mac OS 8.5 (first version to run only on a PowerPC processor, added built-in support for Firewire ,added Sherlock on the PowerMac G3)
- Mac OS 8.5.1 (bug fixes that were causing crashes)
- Mac OS 8.6 (included a new nanokernel for improved performance and Multiprocessing Services 2.0 support, added support for the PowerPC G4 processor)
Mac OS 9
Mac OS 9 was released on October 23, 1999. It is generally a steady evolution from Mac OS 8. Early development releases of Mac OS 9 were numbered 8.7.
Mac OS 9 adds improved support for AirPort wireless networking. It introduces an early implementation of multi-user support. Though not a true multi-user operating system, Mac OS 9 does allow multiple desktop users to have their own data and system settings. An improved Sherlock search engine adds several new search plug-ins. Mac OS 9 also provides a much improved memory implementation and management. AppleScript is improved to allow TCP/IP and networking control. Mac OS 9 also makes the first use of the centralized Apple Software Update to find and install OS and hardware updates. Other new features included its on-the-fly file encryption software with code signing and Keychain technologies, Remote Networking and File Server packages and much improved list of USB drivers.
Mac OS 9 also adds some transitional technologies to help application developers adopt some OS X features before the introduction of the new OS to the public, again easing the transition. These include new APIs for the file system, and the bundling of the Carbon library that apps could link against instead of the traditional API libraries — apps that were adapted to do this can be run natively on OS X as well. Other changes were made beginning with the Mac OS 9.1 update to allow it to be launched in the "Classic Environment" within OS X. This is a compatibility layer in OS X versions prior to 10.5 (in fact an OS X application, originally codenamed the "blue box") that runs a nearly complete Mac OS 9 operating system, allowing applications that have not been ported to Carbon to run on OS X. This is reasonably seamless, though "classic" applications retain their original Mac OS 8/9 appearance and do not gain the OS X "Aqua" appearance.
OS X (pronounced ; originally Mac OS X) is the line of graphical operating systems developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc. which succeeds the original Mac OS, which had been Apple's primary operating system since 1984. Unlike the earlier Macintosh operating system, OS X is a Unix-based operating system built on technology developed at NeXT from the second half of the 1980s until early 1997, when Apple purchased the company.
The first version was OS X Server 1.0 in 1999, which retains the earlier Mac operating system's "platinum" appearance and even resembles OPENSTEP in places. The desktop-oriented version, OS X, followed in March 2001 supporting the new Aqua user interface. Since then, seven more distinct "end-user" and "server" versions have been released. In July 2011 OS X v10.7 was released with new features, such as Launch Pad, which is a springboard-style home for applications, similar to the iPad, iPod and iPhone; and Mission Control, a functionally improved replacement for Exposé. Releases of OS X up to v10.8 are named after big cats. For example, Apple calls OS X v10.5 "Leopard", while its previous release is called "Tiger". Starting with v10.9, Apple's operating system has switched to a new naming scheme, based on locations in California.
Versions of OS X:
- Mac OS X v10.0 (Cheetah)
- Mac OS X v10.1 (Puma)
- Mac OS X v10.2 (Jaguar)
- Mac OS X v10.3 (Panther)
- Mac OS X v10.4 (Tiger)
- Mac OS X v10.5 (Leopard)
- Mac OS X v10.6 (Snow Leopard)
- Mac OS X v10.7 (Lion)
- OS X v10.8 (Mountain Lion)
- OS X v10.9 (Mavericks)
- OS X v10.10 (Yosemite)
- OS X v10.11 (El Capitan)
|A graphical timeline of Macintosh models|
- Apple DOS
- Apple GS/OS
- Apple Lisa OS
- Apple ProDOS
- Apple SOS
- Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp.
- Comparison of operating systems
- History of the graphical user interface
- Inside Macintosh
- List of Macintosh software
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QuickDraw GX is the big draw for System 7.5.
Apple has added a few features to spruce up the interface in System 7.5, although these have previously been available as utilities or shareware for quite some time.
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- Latest Mac OS pleases end-users.
"Where do you want to pirate today?". Forbes. August 8, 1997.
the latest word out in the Macwarez scene is that pirates shouldn't copy Apple's OS8—Mac's latest operating system—they should buy it, since Apple so desperately needs the money.
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- Older Macintosh System Software from Apple.com
- Bibliography—A list of links to the history of GUIs
- Apple Macintosh before System 7—A comprehensive guide to Mac OS software releases prior to System 7
- OS X history
- Mac OS 1.0 simulator