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Process Management

In Chapter 6, “Native Utilities and Applications,” you were introduced to the way that OS X is composed of many different cooperating processes. This is not particular to OS X, but instead is also the norm for Unix. Instead of a monolithic OS and user interface environment, Unix and (even more so) the Mach kernel on which OS X is based both operate as collections of a large number of cooperating programs. These programs create the illusion and functional experience of a seamless interface, but provide considerably more flexibility in the user's ability to modify things to suit his or her particular needs.

For example, with Mac OS, you're used to having a clock in the menu bar, and having the option to turn it on or off and perhaps set the font. This functionality is a built-in part of the OS and user interface. With Unix, if you want a clock, you run a separate program that displays a clock. Because the clock is a program and not an integral part of the OS, it can be any program. By selecting different programs, the clock can be made to appear as any type that you choose, anywhere on the screen that you choose.


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