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Chapter 1. ✓ Start Here > Coming from Mac OS 9

Coming from Mac OS 9

Many die-hard Macintosh users see Tiger's predecessor, Mac OS 9, as the ultimate expression of the purity of vision that was the original Macintosh; they claim that Mac OS X is a travesty, a sellout, a mongrel that never should have been. Although there is something to be said for some of the classic Macintosh's admirable design goals, it has to be acknowledged that times have changed. It's not the same computing world that it was in 1984. Most people know basic computing concepts nowadays, such as files and folders and dragging-and-dropping. Moreover, it's a Windows world now; and although no dyed-in-the-wool Mac user will admit to Windows having any technical advantages over the Mac, there is one Windows advantage that cannot be denied: ubiquity. That being the case, the Macintosh must evolve or die.

Fortunately, the compromises that Mac OS X has had to make are of minimal impact, and the advantages it provides are very tangible. For instance, Mac OS X no longer uses the venerable Type and Creator codes to identify (respectively) what kind of file a document is, and what application created it. Instead, Mac OS X uses filename extensions to determine the file type (the extension can be hidden, simply by renaming the file, or by using a check box in most Save panels). Mac OS X also provides a global “opener application” framework that allows you to specify the application in which a file will open. This might seem less symmetrical and elegant than the old way, but in practice it's a lot more flexible.


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