Friday, November 25, 2005

Mac OS X - Part One
"A Brief History"

Mac OS X (pronounced O.S. ten) is the operating system designed for Macintosh computers, and is often hailed as the world's most advanced. When I got my iMac G4 back in 2002, it came with Mac OS X v10.1 (internally codenamed Puma). This is the second release of OS X, the first one being Mac OS X v10.0 (internally codenamed Cheetah). The first thing that struck me about Mac OS X was how much cooler it looked compared to Windows. It uses a highly functional and stunning user-interface known as Aqua. You will notice that the icons have a surprising amount of detail, while the window panels appear sleek and have smooth, rounded edges. It provides a visual feast to an environment that is user-friendly and seamlessly interconnected. I have to admit that, in the beginning, I was still very much within the Windows frame of mind. I was looking at the various OS X elements and trying to figure out what their Windows equivalencies were (such as the Finder being like Windows Explorer and Macintosh HD being like my Drive C). It wasn't long before I stopped doing that, and eventually, using OS X became second nature. I just love how easier it is to use compared to Windows. And this is something I am constantly reminded of. Today, for instance, it took me two restarts and a couple of error messages before I could get my dad's brand new Windows laptop connected to our wireless home network.

But many largely criticized the first release of OS X for poor performance. In fact, the second release, v10.1, was made available as a free update to v10.0 users because of the first release's poor reputation. This new release introduced performance enhancements and other features such as DVD playback.

Then, less than a year after v10.1's introduction, v10.2 was released. "Jaguar", as it was publicly known was marked with numerous enhancements. Among other things, it increased support for Microsoft Windows networks, and Microsoft Windows sharing protocols, making it easier to share files with other Windows PCs. "Jaguar" also introduced the first version of iChat - an instant messaging program that allowed Mac users to chat with each other as well as with other AOL Instant Messenger users.

"Jaguar" was then followed by "Panther". This new release introduced FileVault, an encryption and decryption system that keeps all your valuable files safe from unwanted access by others. "Panther" also included a new version of iChat with video-conferencing capabilities called iChat AV.

continue to Part Two

*Note: This entry is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mac OS X".
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