Mac OS X

Its History and Why It Is Important


have to confess: growing up in a world of computers, I have a bias towards the Mac. The first computer my family ever owned was an Apple IIc, a computer that served us well for many years, allowing my siblings to type their homework out and play Lode Runner on a color TV. Ah, good times. But it really wasn’t until my school started to create computer labs full of Macintosh LCIIs that I really started to grow a fascination with this thing called the Macintosh. At an early age (let’s say, 5), I became absolutely obsessed with everything produced by Apple Computer. It didn’t matter whether I was making something on Kid Pix or Adobe Photoshop, I wanted to use the Mac to create.

Though it has been fifteen years since I first touched a Mac and created something on it, and multimedia had evolved immensely since that time, the same principles for the Mac still hold true today: it is an easy platform to simply create. Take a look around the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences at RIT. The entire college is filled with Macs for Video Production, Web Design, Printing, or Audio Production. This paper will examine the history of the Mac OS, its influences, and its effects on modern multimedia.

Origins of the Mac OS
One of the core elements of the Mac OS is its ease for people to use through its Graphic User Interface (GUI). Previous personal computers used command line based operating systems such as DOS (Disk Operating System) owned by Microsoft. Apple themselves licensed a version of DOS for their very popular Apple II line. Let it be told, the Macintosh was the not the first computer ever implement a GUI. In 1973, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (Xerox PARC) developed a computer called the Xerox Alto. The Xerox Alto laid the foundation for a number of things that we
Mac OS X: Its History and Why It’s Important 1

When I was five years old, my father and I would scan in pages from my coloring book. We would then open up Adobe Photoshop, and I would go through and fill in the pictures using the Paint Bucket tool. At age 8, I designed and published my own newsletter in Aldus PageMaker entitled “Newsamania” which covered events pertaining my school and the city I lived in, Vienna, Austria. Though I only published three issues, it goes to show that the Macintosh was a platform that makes it so easy for people to produce something and publish it.

Mac OS 1.0

Mac OS 9

take for granted in the modern GUI today, such as the “desktop” metaphor, and the computer mouse. In 1979, Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs made a visit to Xerox PARC to see the new technologies that the company was implementing. Following Steve Job’s visit, a number of Xerox PARC employees left PARC to join Apple “Lisa” project. Lisa was a project by Apple much like the now familiar Macintosh. It implemented a GUI similar to the Macintosh, incorporating office applications including a word processor, a spreadsheet, and a drawing application. It introduced the mouse to the world as an interface. The operating system even supported multi-tasking, something that did not occur until the mid to late 90s again in a personal computer. The machine was released in 1983 as a computer for business, priced at $9,995 (equivalent of $20,893 in modern time). No matter how revolutionary the product was, it was too expensive to be adopted by many businesses. Many developers of Apple’s complained that Apple was developing their own software that competed with 3rd party developers. While the Lisa project was happening, Apple also began devel2 Mac OS X: Its History and Why It’s Important

oping the Macintosh, which was designed as the GUI personal computer for normal people. Similar to its sibling Lisa, it did not implement all of the same technologies as the Lisa, such as multitasking. These features were omitted due to memory constraints. Unlike the doomed Lisa project, Apple chose to leave the applications to 3rd party developers to develop for the platform. Microsoft created Excel and PowerPoint first on the Mac (both were acquired by other small developers, but were first on the Macintosh platform.) With the development of the LaserWriter in 1985, Apple became the default platform for desktop publishing. This allowed users to easily use Adobe PostScript Type1 typefaces to print their documents. The system’s dependence on the 68000 Motorola processor divided the Macintosh from the rest of the industry for years to come. It would not join the Intel x86 bandwagon for another twenty years.

The Finder
Since the very beginning, the Mac OS has included an application called the Finder. The Finder is the system’s file browser that allows us to navigate and access files visually. The original

NeXT Step

Mac OS X Leopard

Macintosh was only able to run one application at a time. When one application was open, the Finder would quit. An Apple programmer named Andy Hertzfeld created an application called the “Switcher” that allowed users to switch between applications. In Mac OS 6 they implemented the MultiFinder, which allowed multiple programs and windows to run co-currently. Between the release of Mac OS 7 in 1991 and Mac OS 9 in 1999, tweaks were made, but the Finder did not drastically change. As it came to the mid-90s, Apple began to look for its next generation operating system, which will be covered in more detail in “Rhapsody: Too Bohemian for the Rest of Us.”

platform. The platform was the first platform to implement object oriented programming environment, a trait that was not popularized until Java was released by Sun Microsystems Inc.. The system was based on the Mach kernel developed at Carnegie Mellon, and a UNIX platform, as well as a full-fledge GUI that pushed the limits of graphics cards at the time. Like the Macintosh, the NeXT computers were based on the Motorola 68000 processors. NeXT computers never were popular in the mainstream. NeXT dropped their proprietary hardware and switched to purely a software company, re-titling the company NeXT Software Inc. NeXT Step operating system to x86, as well as PA-RISC, SPARC, and continued support for its 68000 NeXT machines. The NeXT Step platform helped create significant advances to our world today. The world’s first WYSIWYG HTML web browser, editor, and web server, “World Wide Web” was first developed on NeXT Step. The famous games Wolfenstein 3D and Doom were created by John Carmack on a NeXT machine.

What’s NeXT for Apple?
After leaving Apple in 1985, Steve Jobs invested seven million dollars to found a new company called NeXT Computer Inc., with him went a number of the key architects that created the Apple Lisa. Jobs set out to create an ideal platform for higher education computing needs. To meet their needs, they realized no current operating system could fulfill their needs. The company would have to develop both the software and the hardware for their

Mac OS X: Its History and Why It’s Important 3

On December 20, 1996, as Apple Computer was desperate to develop their failing developing effort “Copland.” Apple purchased NeXT Software for $400 million. This brought Steve Jobs back to the company he helped found, bringing a bullet proof grounding for a new operating system.

Rhapsody: Too Bohemian for the Rest of Us
Apple’s failed efforts to create an in-house next generation operating system led Apple to purchase NeXT. Work began immediately to merge the powerful framework of NeXT Step with the usability of the Macintosh. This was called Rhapsody. As it happened, it was very difficult for them to produce a new operating system. Many developers were unwilling to adopt the APIs that Apple was proposing. Developers were not convinced, and it was back to the drawing boards for Apple. Apple released their Rhapsody efforts as Mac OS X Server 1.0. Apple then took all the code and released it as Darwin, the opensource core of Mac OS X. Rhapsody was a stepping stone for the development of Apple’s riskiest and most revolutionary operating system: Mac OS X.

by Adobe’s resolution independent PDF engine and OpenGL. It introduced two segments of its Quartz graphic engine: Core Graphics rendering for drawing and Core Graphics services to render layer effects. The operating system could natively render graphic effects like transparencies, and other visual effects. Critics criticized these features for being unnecessary and overbearing on their CPUs, but it gave more human feel to the operating system, and gave the system a more human feel. Another trait that the new interface added was the Dock. The Dock was a toolbar placed at the bottom of the screen, replacing the Launcher application and Control Strip that was used in later versions of the previous Mac OS. This allowed for users to access their currently active applications, their commonly used applications, and their commonly accessed system preferences. There were several criticisms that were made with the Public Beta. Fortunately, Apple took this feedback and used it to further improve Mac OS X. Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah and 10.1 Puma On March 24, 2001,
MacOS X Leopard in its childhood years.

The Evolution of Cats
Mac OS X was the biggest risk Apple could ever make. Apple had lost a lot of market share in the early 90s due to mismanagement and poor leadership. Jobs sought to create the next generation of operating system. However, he did not see the Macintosh as a computer simply for productivity. He saw the computer as a lifestyle. He saw it as a means to create media and become the “center of the digital lifestyle.” This revolution started with the introduction of the iMac in 1998. New iMacs in 1999 came standard with an application called iMovie, allowing consumers to affordably edit and publish their home movies. As digital cameras and camcorders became more affordable, Jobs wanted the Macintosh to be the center of it all. Jobs wanted the ease, style, and power of the iMac in the operating system. MacOS X Public Beta In the core level, Mac OS X was heaps and bounds better than the Mac OS that it was replacing. Much like its NeXT roots, it was based on UNIX, had protected memory, native multi-tasking, resources were based on system libraries, Mach kernel, file extensions, memory management, and for the first time in the history of the Macintosh, a command line! Core services and other services could run real-time in the background. Initial critics criticized it required more system resources, but it laid further potential for the uses of the operating system. In Mac OS X Beta, the biggest reaction came from the interface. The interface was based on a GUI called Aqua. Aqua gave the entire interface a very liquid natural feel, ran on a graphics engine called Quartz, developed by Apple that was heavily influenced
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Apple released the first commercial release of Mac OS X: Mac OS X 10.0 (codenamed Cheetah, but not marketed that way,) Many criticized it as not ready as a main operating system. On that note, however, Apple was commended for releasing the operating system, as it had been working on the project for five years. It added support for “Classic,” which ran Mac OS 9 within the framework of Mac OS X, allowing users to use their old applications. This was an important transitional technology for early adopters to use their familiar applications while developers continued to work on native applications for Mac OS X. The minimum system requirements to run Mac OS X were significantly higher than that of Mac OS 9. People who had bought computers in the last three years were fine, while many of the older machines would be left behind. It recommended 128Mb of memory, and required 1.5Gb of hard drive space, and at least a G3 processor. The operating system included features such as an Address Book for organization of contacts that could be universally accessed by all applications, a basic email client called Apple Mail,

native PDF support, and the ability for any native application to output to PDF. At this point, the major developers such as Adobe and Microsoft were working on their porting their software to Mac OS X. Cheetah was shipped with every Macintosh as an optional install. On September 25th of the same year, Apple released a free update to 10.1 (codenamed Puma, though again, not marketed with the codename.) It tightened many loose screws that existed in Cheetah, and added several new features. It allowed the Dock to be placed on different sides of the screen. CD and DVD burning support and DVD playback support was also added. It added further support with CUPS for over 200 different printers natively, and ColorSync 4.0 for color management. On August 23, 2002, Apple announced that Mac OS X 10.1 would be the default operating system on all shipping Macs. Adobe released Adobe Photoshop 7 for Mac OS X. Microsoft released Microsoft Office for Mac X. Mac OS X was now ready to leap into action. Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar On August 23, 2002, Apple released its new cat, Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar. This time, Jaguar was part of the name branding. This version was heaps and bounds better than its predecessors, adding dozens of features, and optimizing the system further. It introduced a number of new features including full native Bluetooth support, allowing users to connect their PDAs and Mobile Phones to their computers. It added Rendezvous (later renamed), an implementation of the IETF zero configuration protocol that allowed the computers to interact with peripherals and other computers without configuration. It added easy search in each Finder window, allowing users to search the contents of directories and files easily and conveniently. It added Samba server support, allowing the Macintosh to become interoperable with Windows servers. It further advanced the Quartz rendering engine, allowing graphics to be processed directly on supported graphics cards. Apple also introduced three new applications: iChat, iSync, and iCal. iChat was an AIM-client that allowed users to chat using AOL’s large instant messaging network. They added the calendar organizer application iCal, as well as iSync, allowing users to synchronize their information with all their peripherals. In January 2003, Apple released a public beta of their new web browser based on the KHTML rendering engine, Safari. This new was extremely fast compared to its main competitor, Internet Explorer 5 for Macintosh. It would become version 1.0 in the next revision of the OS. MacOS X 10.3 Panther In October 24, 2003, Panther was released. The release provided a new interface for its Finder, adding the Brushed Metal look that people grew familiar with in QuickTime and iTunes. It allowed users to access their connected drives, network volumes, and most commonly accessed files directly in the Finder window. It also added an application called
Mac OS X: Its History and Why It’s Important 5

Expose which allowed users to view all of their active windows at the stroke of a button. Fast User switching was added, allowing multiple users to use the same machine without inconveniencing each other. iChat was updated to iChat AV, allowing users interact with other users using high quality video conferencing. The FontBook application was added for typographers. It added the development suite Xcode, making it simple and easy for developers to produce native applications for the Macintosh. They also added support for X11, allowing savvy users to use the large collection of applications made for the Xsystem. Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger While Microsoft was still trying to get Longhorn out the door, Apple released Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. While it was taking Microsoft seven years to produce their operating system, Apple was releasing a major update almost every year, constantly remaining one step ahead of Microsoft development. Posters in the lobby of Worldwide Developer’s Conference 2004 stated: “Redmond, start your photocopiers” and “Introducing Longhorn.” Tiger was a significant update to Mac OS X. It added Spotlight, a search utility to search the entire computer categorize the results for easy access. Spotlight also had the ability to search metadata. Frequent search queries could be saved and as “smart folders” that update live according to the search parameters. Similar to the program Konfabulator, Apple introduced a feature called Dashboard that allowed users to run several small applications, such as weather, a calculator, etc.. Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard is the latest cat in town. It has only been out since October. It is the first operating system to come from Apple after its transition to the Intel x86 architecture, allowing it to take full advantage of all the services that the x86 architecture has to offer. Almost every piece of the operating system seems to have been improved in this revision. Among some of the major additions include Time Machine, a very graphical and convenient way to backup files. Apple integrated a feature called Boot Camp that allows user to dual boot both Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows XP or Vista. The Finder was redesigned to be faster and more efficient. Screen sharing and other document sharing support has been added to the system through the application iChat AV. Apple once-again stepped ahead of Microsoft with this release, adding features beyond or
6 Mac OS X: Its History and Why It’s Important

on par with the offerings from Microsoft. Apple manages to do an amazing job of making something that can seem intimidating and implement it in a way that even a child can do it. Apple created a very strong set of tools for developer’s to create applications for the platform called Xcode. Initially, Apple supported the Carbon and Cocoa applications. Carbon was an easy way for developers for the classic Mac OS to recompile their applications for the new OS. These applications, however, did not take full advantage of the resources of the operating system. When

Apple shifted their architecture to Intel x86, it was no longer possible for Carbon-based applications to run natively. Apple developed an emulator called Rosetta that allowed the old code to be emulated on new machines. In order to run at full potential, all developers were required to recode their software and all future software in Cocoa. Cocoa was the native coding language that was designed for Mac OS X.

Developing for Mac OS X
Xcode compiles in C, C++, Objective C, Objective C++, Java, and AppleScript. Because of the transition to Intel x86, Xcode allows code to be easily compiled in a universal binary that is able to be run on both PowerPC chipsets as well as Intel x86 chipsets.

iLife: The Center of the Digital Hub
People buy Macs because of the operating system and the software that it offers. iLife is a bundle of applications for the Mac

that is included with every new Mac sold. These applications are the core of why so many people switch to the Mac. iLife includes applications such as iMovie, iPhoto, iDVD, GarageBand, iTunes, and iWeb All of these applications took production that was previously expensive and put it within clicking distance of its Mac users to create professional quality content. iMovie iMovie was the first application of the suite to be created. In 1999, it was originally made for the classic Mac OS and came bundled with the new iMac DVs that were released that

organize their digital photos (sadly, on the PC, there are still millions of people that still don’t organize their photos.) iDVD As DVD burners began to become affordable and standard in computers, Apple released iDVD. iDVD allowed for quick and easy creation of professional looking DVDs. This program would take people’s iMovie projects and place them into predefined DVD menus so that the user can burn not just their movie to DVD, but have the entire experience on the DVD as well. Along with video content, it allows for chapters to be produced for easy scene skipping, and the creation of slideshows for photos. Before GarageBand, the cost to create an equivalent professional quality would have made the average home bankrupt. This was the first DVD producing software on the market that produced content at such a high caliber at such a low price. GarageBand Like the other innovations, GarageBand did to music what iMovie did to movies: it brought the music studio into the home. Average to professional musicians could now record their music at home, without paying several hundreds of dollars for studio time. The program was recording studio all in one. It allowed for multi-track recording. It came with a large collection of sound loops so musicians could easily add drums or other instruments to their music. It added several MIDI instruments, so musicians with MIDI keyboards could simulate other instruments. The quality was not poor either. The technology used for GarageBand came from its high-end recording software Logic Pro. People could produce professional sounding recordings free with their new Mac. GarageBand was designed so simply that even users that have no musical experience can still create music by mixing different sound loops around. In later versions, GarageBand now has several features to allow users to easily produce a Podcast and publish it. iWeb iWeb is a program that allows users to easily create professional looking websites and post them via Apple’s .Mac online subscription service. The program allowed users through predefined templates create different elements of a website, such as a blog, or a photo gallery, without having to know a single line of HTML. It also allowed for easy publishing of podcasts or videos that can be downloaded directly into iTunes.

year. It popularized the idea of using your home computer to edit and publish your home videos, adding transitions and titles. It did this through the industry adoption of FireWire (IEEE1394) on the new consumer digital camcorders. Anyone with one could come home and start creating professional looking movies. As the program evolved, it added more sound features, more effects to give movies the extra little touch. iPhoto What iTunes was for music organization is what iPhoto was meant to be for photos. As Mac OS X was becoming more popular at the beginning of the 21st century, so was the use of digital cameras. Unfortunately, many consumers never really had a good organization for their photos. Often they would be lost in random folders on a computer. Worst yet, unknowing consumers would write over their files, destroying valuable data in their images. To help organize the chaos, in January 2002 Apple released iPhoto. The program organizes the photos, allows users to create fancy slideshows, create web galleries, email photos, create photo albums, and touch photos non-destructively. It gave a solution to all the disorganized people in the world that never

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iTunes Everyone in the western world I would imagine these days has heard of iTunes. Why? The iPod of course. iTunes is necessary for computers to interact with iPods to add music or remove music. When iTunes was first introduced in 2001, it offered superior organization to any other jukebox music player. It made it easy for users to rip their music off their CDs onto their computers, and have all the artist and album information with the file so organization is a breeze. In 2003, Apple added the iTunes Music Store, allowing customers to download music directly from the store at 99 cents per song without any hassle and put them on their iPod or CD. In later revisions, they also added downloadable TV shows and feature length movies. iTunes has become the center media.

Final Cut Studio an entire all in one postproduction suite, capable of creating all the things necessary to develop a movie. As things have progressed Apple has won a number of awards as well as been influential in a number of blockbuster movies. In 2002, Final Cut Pro received the Primetime Emmy Engineering Award for its on the television industry. Popular TV show Scrubs is edited entirely on Final Cut Pro. Graphic intensive movie 300 was created with help of Apple’s advanced compositing software Shake. 2003 hit Cold Mountain was also produced using Final Cut Pro. It has also grown great popularity among independent film makers for its functionality at a reasonable cost. Logic Studio While Logic was owned by eMagic, Logic was the tool of choice in professional studios for producing high-quality MIDI for recording on both the Mac and the Windows PC. Several additional plug-ins were created for Logic to add functionality and instruments to the software, such as software instruments, the EXS sampler, and other plugins. When Apple purchased Logic in July 2002, it quickly dropped support for the Windows platform with the release of Logic 6. When Apple released Logic Pro 7 in 2004, it integrated a number of the most common plug-ins for Logic as well as additional support for ProTools configurations into one application suite. It also included a number of additional plug-ins including Guitar Amp Pro, and over seventy new plugins. Like its other professional applications, it allowed musicians and studios to create high-level results without the need of renting a full studio always.

Apple’s Professional Applications for Mac
The following applications are not standard on Macs, however they are pieces of software created by Apple that are available on Mac OS X only. Each of these products are leaders in their industry, despite the limitations of being on a minority platform. Final Cut Studio Final Cut Pro, originally a Macromedia project that was never released, Apple purchased the application in 1998 following the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) exposition. Apple added support for FireWire DV into the application and released at the NAB expo the following year. Similar to its work with consumer products, made tools available for one thousand dollars what would have been available for fifty thousand previously. The product quickly picked up momentum as a strong alternative to Adobe Premiere, as well as the offerings from Avid. It is a non-linear editing system, allowing users to stack different layers of scenes on top of each other much like Adobe Photoshop. It supports a number of different video formats such as DV, HDV, DVCProHD, XDCAM, and IMAX. Quickly growing momentum, Adobe Premiere eventually was dropped from the Mac OS because of being unable to compete with Apple’s superior product. Apple also added a number of complementary applications, eventually titling the software suite Final Cut Studio. These include DVD Studio Pro, Shake, LiveType, Cinema Tools, Compressor, Soundtrack Pro, Motion, and Color. DVD Studio Pro is extensive DVD authoring software, allowing for easy creation of advanced DVD menus and features. Shake is an advanced compositing software much like Adobe’s After Effects, allows for high end movie animations to be created. Cinema Tools is a helpful tool to help organize where different bits of footage came from. Compressor is a highly functional application to compress movies into a variety of different formats for a variety of different markets. Soundtrack Pro allows for editors to create quick royalty-free background music for their movies using an extensive collection of sound loops, much-like GarageBand. Users can then synchronize their music up directly with their movies, so the music goes exactly in cue with the music. These additional applications make
8 Mac OS X: Its History and Why It’s Important

At the end of this entire paper, one goes back to the original question: how has Apple contributed to multimedia? My response would be in every way. Apple popularized the Graphic User Interface, making it easy for anyone to create visually on the Macintosh. Every standard personal computer today comes with an operating system with a GUI. It founded desktop publishing, as we know it today with the implementation of Adobe PostScript and the first laser printers, the LaserWriter. Its NeXT roots helped build the first web browser, which is the center of most of our media today. It made several expensive medias such as Audio Production, Video Production, and Web production accessible to the public. It brought the visual interface to a new standard with the creation of Mac OS X, influencing operating systems such as Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows Vista, as well inspired certain styles for internet web pages that wanted to simulate the look and feel of their operating system. All major vendors produce versions of major software for the Mac. The Mac OS set the benchmarks for operating systems today, and creates the ideal and powerful platform for creative professionals to create content, as well as everyone else. •BV