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Introduction

Introduction

When the Macintosh was introduced in 1984, it came with the most revolutionary operating system anyone had seen. Built on the desktop metaphor, the Macintosh quickly became known as the most advanced and easy-to-use personal computer available. Over the years, the Macintosh continued to do well, but Apple fell into the same line of thinking that many of us do: “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” The Mac OS worked, but it had a number of problems that prevented it from advancing at the same rate as other operating systems. Apple continued to add features to the OS, but didn’t address the underlying deficiencies. By 1994, Apple had been running for 10 years on the same base operating system with only minor core changes.

With the release of Windows 95, Microsoft began to push ahead of the Mac OS with features such as preemptive multitasking and memory protection. Apple finally realized it was in a bind and needed to produce a version of the Mac OS that would again revolutionize the desktop operating system industry. Unfortunately, its problems were just beginning.

What happened next kicked off a nightmarish sequence of events that would change the “face” of the Macintosh forever.

Apple announced that it would be creating a new system for the Macintosh called Copland. Copland (originally known as Mac OS 8) was to turn the Macintosh into a fully modern operating system with multiple users and true multitasking capabilities. Mac users rejoiced at the news and began what they assumed would be a relatively short wait for the long-overdue upgrade.

Months passed. Then a year.

Finally, in 1996, just weeks after the yearly Apple developer conference, Apple announced that the Copland project was officially cancelled. The Macintosh had become a platform without a future. During this time, Microsoft released Windows NT, using the same interface as Windows 95. The NT operating system provided many of the same features as Copland, but was available immediately—on the PC platform.

As the desperation of its situation sank in, Apple looked for another solution to its problem. Two companies sprang to the forefront of Apple’s attention: Be Inc. and NeXT Computer, both run by ex-Apple employees. Although BeOS was attractive and already ran on the Macintosh, Apple decided to go with a time-tested solution: NeXT’s OpenStep operating system. In December 1996, as a last-ditch effort to save the Macintosh, Apple purchased NeXT Computer for 400 million dollars.

Unfortunately, the problems didn’t end there. The OpenStep operating system was extremely mature, but it didn’t run on the Macintosh platform. At the 1997 developer conference, Apple announced Rhapsody as the future for the Mac OS, yet it would be another year before the first product based on Rhapsody would start shipping.

To make matters worse, Apple also announced that developers would need to completely rewrite their software for it to work on Rhapsody. This infuriated programmers, who threatened to drop support for the Macintosh platform unless they could use their existing source code with Rhapsody.

Apple set its engineering teams to work on a solution that would make everyone happy. Finally, another year later, at the 1998 developer conference, Apple announced Mac OS X. Based on the original foundation in Rhapsody, Mac OS X promised to enable developers to easily port their existing software to the new operating system. Things were finally looking up.

Three years later, in September 2001, the Mac OS X project was fully realized. Mac OS X 10.1 delivered everything that Apple originally set out to create. It provided a powerful modern core and a revolutionary user interface that was easy to use.

Mac OS X 10.2 picks up where the original Mac OS X left off, with attention to both the technical and usability requirements of its users. Jaguar, as it’s affectionately known, includes improved versions of old favorites as well as entirely new and exciting components, including built-in capacity for handwriting recognition and messaging.

The future for the Macintosh has never been better.

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