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Classic

The next step in the OS X layered model is the APIs that can be used to create applications. Classic, although lumped into this group, is truly an amazing piece of engineering. When Apple released Mac OS X, the company knew that it would be several months before native applications started to appear. Many developers, burned in the past, wanted to see a real shipping product before they committed to porting their applications to Mac OS X. So, how could Apple ship an OS that didn't have any native applications? By creating an environment that would allow any existing Mac OS application to run transparently under Mac OS X.

What makes this truly astounding is that in no way is Mac OS X's foundation even remotely similar to the traditional Mac operating system. Luckily, Apple has a bit of experience with similar situations. In 1994, when Apple made the transition to the PowerPC processor, it knew that none of the existing software could run on the system—including portions of the operating system itself! To get around this, Apple built a dynamic recompiling emulator that, on the fly, would turn existing Motorola 68000-series code into native PowerPC code. It worked flawlessly. When faced with a similar problem in Mac OS X, Apple worked another miracle and created a transparent environment capable of running early Mac OS software.


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