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Chapter 7. Installing and Using Mac OS X... > Understanding Applications You Can R...

Understanding Applications You Can Run Under Mac OS X

You can run the following types of applications under Mac OS X:

  • Classic applications— Classic applications are those designed to run under previous versions of the Mac OS; however, because of Mac OS X's Classic environment, you can also run these applications under Mac OS X. Because Mac OS X has been around for a while, there are Mac OS X versions of almost all Mac applications. You should use Classic applications only when there isn't a Mac OS X version available to you.

  • Unix applications— Because Mac OS X is based on Unix, you can run many Unix applications on your Mac. Some of these applications have to be recompiled to run on the Mac, but most will work as they are. Of course, you will need to run them from the command line (unless you find and install a graphical user interface for the Unix subsystem). Because Unix is such a prevalent OS, thousands of Unix applications are available for you to use.


    The X11 environment that you can choose to install when you install Mac OS X provides a graphical interface for Unix applications. If you run Unix applications regularly, you should install and use this environment.

  • Java applications— You can run applications written in the Java and Java 2 programming languages. Because Java is a platform-independent programming language, the same applications work on Windows, Macintosh, and other platforms. You mostly encounter Java applications on the Web, but you will find some standalone Java applications as well.

  • Carbon applications— These applications are written using the Carbon programming environment, which is designed to take advantage of the Mac OS X architecture. Many are Classic applications that have been ported over to Mac OS X—in Mac OS X-lingo, they have been carbonized. Because carbonizing an application requires considerably fewer resources than does creating a Cocoa application, most Mac OS X applications were carbonized Mac OS 9 applications early in Mac OS X's life. As Mac OS X has continued to mature, most applications have been written or rewritten specifically for Mac OS X (using Carbon or Cocoa).

  • Cocoa applications— These applications are written using the Cocoa programming architecture, which means they take full advantage of all the advanced features Mac OS X provides. Cocoa applications have to be written from the ground up in the new environment rather than being ported over as carbonized applications can be. Most new Mac OS X applications are based on Cocoa and many applications written for previous versions of the Mac OS have been rewritten in Cocoa.



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