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Chapter 12. Process Management > Understanding Process Management

Understanding Process Management

Tiger is composed of many different cooperating processes. This is not particular to Mac OS X, but 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 Mac 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 particular needs.

For example, with Classic 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 operating system 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 operating system, 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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