MacOSX

Apple's latest operating system

Apple's latest operating system for the 21st century

Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) has been in the business of building and selling its own brand of computers to run its original classic Macintosh operating system (MacOS) ever since the first Macintosh computer was sold in 1983.

Throughout this time, the MacOS evolved from the simple point-n-click with basic Finder commands to a sophisticated multitasking system, more colourful fancy interface, and slightly better stability, for doing essentially, well, the same thing as before except with more bells and whistles.

Sometimes the MacOS had no choice but to improve simply because it had to handle new hardware features such as the PowerPC processor in 1995-96 and to make life easier for customers such as the multifinder capabilities of System 7. At other times, Apple's marketing and accounting arms saw the need to make improvements to MacOS because it needed to make a serious profit after 1996 thanks to its large base of shareholders demanding to see improvements in their dividends. So they tried ways to force people to buy the latest technology from Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.).

Then came the concerns of software piracy and copying commercial DVD movies to name a few at the turn of last century which saw the need for Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) to improve the MacOS to handle this situation. Another issue for Apple was the way the company was lagging behind in creating a stable OS compared to its major competitor known as Microsoft (through its Windows NT/2000 and latest XP version).

OS X is no exception to this philosophy. Apple has seen the need to create a new OS capable of handling all these situations in one relatively easy to use and fancy-looking software known simply as OS X.

What will I find in OS X?

You will get a fancy interface for organising your files and folders and accessing your applications. If nothing else, you can let it show fancy "photographic-like" screensavers and so make everyone who sees it think you are doing something professional with it. Why else would the average user spend US$129 (A$229) for it?

Below this fancy stuff, OS X's reliance on the UNIX-based operating system known as Darwin means it comes with reasonable improvements in the areas of memory protection, pre-emptive multitasking and advanced memory management:

Memory protection

A feature designed to protect the memory allocated to applications such that in the event one application crashes, all the other applications including OS X does not crash as well. Although the classic MacOS8.6 had some ability to do this, OS X is the true OS capable of doing this properly.

Preemptive multitasking

This feature is about allowing a number of applications to run at the same time by allocating processor cycles to each application as they are needed. It is something that was borne out of a desire by business professionals to use their time wisely by achieving more things at once with their computers. For most others, it is a fancy technology.

Advanced memory management

This feature is primarily to protect the operating system's space and keep it separate from a user's space. In this way, the operating system can never be trashed accidentally or deliberately by a user. The user can only work in the space allocated to him/her by the computer's memory management system.

And, of course, you will get to enjoy some animated icons and ready-to-use applications in OS X such as AppleWorks, iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes and QuickTime.

Makes you want to run out to your nearest Apple store to buy a copy! Now where's that Windows XP CD...

The hidden features of OS X — logs, caches and preference files

But beyond these features are extra things you might have second thoughts about having the latest OS from Apple.

For example, OS X is designed to store all sorts of potentially incriminating things you do with your computer inside log, preferences and cache files. The log files considered important for Apple are usually invisible and tend to be held in the private>var>log folder. Cache files can be held in various visible and invisible folders. For example, the invisible secure.log file stores information about all your successful and unsuccessful attempts at login. One can understand from a security point-of-view why someone would want to know when and who unsuccessfully made a login if you have multiple users. But why successful logins as well? How many people would want to know this unless you work for a clandestine organisation or for the purposes of incriminating people for certain actions (what is Apple trying to figure out)? Consequently, your hard disk will quickly get filled up with logs, caches and other files explaining your exact activities you were performing on your OS X computer.

Other ways to incriminate people if they are not doing the right thing (e.g. software pirates) or people who are doing the right thing by testing some software and then removing them, is how OS X now stores details of all the software you use since OS X was installed in various different files. For example, when installing new software, information about the software gets stored in a number of files such as:


.GlobalPreferences.plist

com.apple.finder.plist

com.apple.help.plist

com.apple.recentitems.plist
 

Also check the invisible Private folder at root level.

The hidden features of OS X — delays in responding to your actions

Because of this updating of logs and checking things, OS X is a rather unresponsive or slow operating system between actions. You can select a command in the Finder or try to launch an application and there would be a delay before it finally gets going.

You will need a minimum of 1GB and preferable 1.5GB or more to make OS X seem relatively fast again.

And consider using the Activity Monitor utility in OS X to inspect hidden processes running in the background and give them the flick with the old magic quit button. But be careful not to quit critical system processes (process names with lower case letters or where the Information Panel does not reveal the "Open Files and Ports" message next to them). Choose only those processes such as PowerPC applications on Intel machines, processes whose names are the same as the parent applications you have installed, diskimages processes, and those taking up very high CPU usage. If you are not sure, you should leave the processes alone.

The hidden features of OS X — security risks with Apple

You will also get increased security against third party hackers but lower security for the makers of OS X and the major software applications (e.g. Adobe) until the hackers realise how it is done.

For example, OS X is forcing users to accept the existence of a Documents folder at the root level of the Macintosh file directory. This means you can no longer tell OS X where you want to place this Documents folder (or whether it should exist at all). This is actually a dangerous precedence in the IT industry because all it takes nowadays is for an unsuspecting computer user to place important documents inside the Documents folder because it makes sense to do so. Then some smart arse in the world could send the user a special Word document that will attach some of the important files in the Documents folder without the user being aware of it. And when you send the Word document back to the sender, your privacy will be seriously compromised. For further information about this security issue, click here.

The hidden features of OS X — learning UNIX

To get the most from OS X, you will also need to come to grips with UNIX. This is the foundation on which OS X is built. All the features you see on the surface through OS X's fancy interface including its underlying stability rely on UNIX to some extent. But if you want to get around certain Apple restrictions within the Finder, you will have to know something about UNIX. Nothing like typing a few useful commands on the screen to get your pleasurable hormones racing through your body once more! Really riveting stuff for the average consumer! (We suspect this was included to attract UNIX and Linux users to the OS X platform).

You will need to use the Terminal utility of OS X to type UNIX commands.

However, thanks to the UNIX underpinnings, OS X is a very stable operating system. As Boris Yamnitsky, president of Boris FX, said:

"The Unix kernel in OS X has the potential to boost the overall system performance and stability" (1)

In the early days of OS X, one of the biggest disadvantage was the sluggish performance. Now users are finding the speed of OS X increasingly more bearable thanks to the new Intel dual core processors (and throw in enough RAM). Then again you have to ask yourself just how fast OS9 could have run on the latest processors if it was recompiled?

Should I buy OS X?

If all you'll ever need to do is send emails, type a few letters on a word processor, and perform graphic designing work, MacOS8.6 or 9 is perfectly fine. OS8.6 is particularly stable whereas OS9 has been deliberately designed to have some flaws to make you upgrade to OS X (as you can't go back to OS8.6). But if you know what to do, you can solve the OS9 problems.

In a nutshell, OS X is really designed for those less-knowledgeable first-timers to the Mac world ready to splash money around and who think they are getting a better OS.

Admittedly, there are some improvements in stability (thanks to its reliance on the UNIX operating system underlying the core of OS X) and other features designed to attract publishing and design professionals. But anyone else who is on a tight budget (e.g. schools, families etc) will not find a major benefit in paying for the latest software technology and for the extra hardware requirements to run it. You are better off waiting or purchase a second-hand Mac that already comes with OS X.

NOTE: You may have no choice but to upgrade to Apple's latest OS X. However if you are smart enough to wait, you can buy heaps of second-hand Apple computers and software able to run on OS X at a very good price. There is now no need to buy the latest Apple computers and software at the full retail price.

Do we have a choice?

Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) had been nice enough to include a classic OS9 emulation environment to help users run their older software for PowerPC computers (until the Intel machines were released). Actually, Apple was nice enough to let people choose which OS to boot into on their favourite Macintosh computers (e.g. the titanium G4 laptops). But after putting in a few unspoken bugs into OS9, updated the ROM, and in building a wrath of new fancy-looking Apple desktops and laptops designed to never boot up in OS9 from September 2002, the consumer is no longer being given a choice.

"Start getting rich and upgrade to OS X, or be left behind," is the message coming out of Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.).

We say, "If you must use an Apple computer, read up on the latest news concerning Apple products and purchase the best second-hand Apple product with the least amount of problems you can find."

To make it more of an incentive to accept OS X as the default and permanent OS, more and more software manufacturers have decided to produce software products compatible with OS X only (e.g. FileMaker Pro 7). Therefore anyone with a Macintosh computer will have no choice but to either buy and run OS X, or purchase new PC software to run on their emulation program (e.g. RealPC, Insignia SoftWindows, and Microsoft VirtualPC).

UPDATE
January 2004

Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) has kept quiet on the specific models made just after May 1998 which will work under OS X. For example, the PowerBook G3 Series "Wall Street" can run OS X but many users will experience unusually high numbers of OS errors. We strongly recommend a G4 processor to solve this problem.

UPDATE
March 2004

Apple has kindly left behind numerous bugs and problems to help OS X users see the benefits of constantly updating and improving OS X (and so give Apple a more consistent level of profit). It is our recommendation that you wait long enough until an OS X version comes out which is considered stable and fast. For example, OS X 10.3.9 is a reasonable version to begin with. OS X 10.4.x Tiger stability has yet to be reached.

Is Apple selling enough OS X?

On 16 July 2002, media reports were indicating how Steve Jobs, the CEO at Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) in Cupertino, California, USA, was not quite happy with the number of OS X system software sold to consumers.

According to media analysts at the time, there was apparently an official report stating that less than half the expected number of OS X products have been sold (there is a figure floating around at the moment that as little as 20 per cent of the products have been sold).

Later evidence to support the media claims had surfaced from software manufacturers with the likes of Microsoft and Corel expressing their anger in the insufficient numbers of people using OS X given the investment they have already made to making OS X-compatible software. For example, Microsoft has managed to sell only about 300,000 copies of Microsoft Office v.X (and absolute pittance in Microsoft's language) compared to the expected 750,000 copies according to Apple marketing.

As reported in the July 2002 edition of the Wall Street Journal, the head of Microsoft Corporation's Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU) Kevin Browne said:

"If things don't dramatically turn around, we'll be evaluating this business with Apple." (2)

Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, Phil Schiller, has attemped to counter this argument by saying the high price for Microsoft Office v.X is what's stopping many people from buying the product. And to toe-the-line for Apple so to speak, Schiller has said Apple is right on target as far as selling OS X is concerned for the company. (3)

However, this seems to contradict the view that Steve Jobs is not very happy with OS X sales.

Schiller also makes the point that other software developers are happy with OS X. He mentions the software manufacturing giant Adobe Systems, Inc. as a case supporting his view. Well yes, considering that Adobe happens to develop its popular software for the Macintosh first (and thus makes most of its profit in this area) before making a PC version and with nearly all of their major flagship software such as Photoshop and Illustrator already converted to OS X native "carbonised" form, Adobe is certainly not complaining. "Bring on OS X anytime!" as they say.

But what about PC software manufacturers deciding whether to convert their software to run on either OS X or MacOS9?

As of June 2006, Apple has convinced Microsoft and Adobe to support OS X more strongly. For example, on 11 September 2002, Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) spoke of disabling the ability of Macintosh computers to fully boot up under MacOS9 at the Apple Expo in Paris. This occurred in 2003. As Steve Jobs said:

"...it's time for Apple and our third-party developers to focus all of our resources exclusively on Mac OS X, rather than dividing them between two different operating systems." (4)

Mr Jobs expected this would solve the problem of PC software manufacturers deciding whether to develop their PC software for the OS X or MacOS 9 environments.

Then Kevin Browne, general manager of the Macintosh Business Unit at Microsoft Corporation, supported the decision by saying:

"Mac OS X has really come of age with the release of 'Jaguar', and we think the combination of OS X v10.2 and Office v.X for Mac provides our customers with the power and compatibility they're seeking" (5)

Nothing like getting a little positive support from Microsoft to boost Apple sales of OS X version 10.2 in order to sell more Microsoft Office X packages to Mac users. Of course, we hope OS X will be more useful than running Office X.

Add to this the new Intel Macs, and the whole OS X experience is only now becoming bearable. Users are coming to accept it, warts and all. But at the same time, small third-party software developers are making emulation software to allow users to run their favourite software programs under the latest OS X.

Now the only issue for Apple is getting enough people to buy Intel Macs given the amount of new software some users may have to purchase to make them work on the new systems.

We do have a choice!

Since the release of the Intel-based Macintosh computers in 2006, users are being given a choice of booting into OS X or Windows XP. And with a swathe of free classic OS9 emulation programs for Windows XP (e.g. Basilisk II) and OS X (e.g. SheepShaver 2.3), you can pretty much go back to the Mac OS system you've always wanted without all the fanfare of OS X or the latest Windows OS.

History of OS X

Yes you can. There is a freeware control panel utility for installing OS X on most of the older PowerPC Macintosh computers built before May 1998. Remember, always backup everything on your hard disk before attempting to use this utility when installing OS X. And be prepared to find some problems when running your new operating system. For example, the sleep function on OS X does not work properly on PowerBooks older than May 1998 and may in fact crash the system. You have been warned!

I want to buy OS X. What's the best version?

Here is our view on the major OS X updates so far:

  1. Updates for OS X 'Puma' 10.0.1 to 10.1.5 — These updates are really designed to cover gaping and rather obvious cosmetic and underlying programming flaws in OS X, especially in network security, wake up problems for classic environment (i.e. it crashes OS X a lot) and general interface drawing problems. Clearly not designed to bring OS X to any era of real stability and speed for what is supposed to be a modern OS. Anyone who have bought OS X of this version were people who never used a Macintosh before and/or early adopters who thought Macs are the best thing since sliced bread and OS X was a good-looking piece of software to have.
  2. Updates 10.2.0 to 10.2.8 — Known as the 'Jaguar' update, version 10.2 is a big improvement. Unfortunately the responsiveness of OS X is still sluggish due to the extra processing requirements to draw the unusually complex OS X interface and other features (some hidden thanks to Apple's own agenda when handling certain users of the piracy-kind). Plenty of security problems with 10.2.x. You will need version 10.2.8 to get many of the security bugs fixed. You will also need a G5 computer (or a very fast G4) to make OS X version 10.2.x seem fast and responsive.
  3. Version 10.3.0 to 10.3.9 — The 'Panther' updates are designed to improve the responsiveness and speed of OS X and fix a plethora of yet more security bugs (you should try version 10.3.5 for fewer security problems and the least amount of restrictions from Apple and for the most stable OS X ever produced to date). Now, for the first time, OS X is capable of running at almost the speed of OS9 (even without a G5 system)! Some hidden secrets from Apple are slowly emerging from these updates. One of the biggest secrets from version 10.3.5 and up is how Apple has decided to force users to buy the latest Apple computers. How? The updates draw more power from the battery and AC power adapter to run the older Mac computers for some strange reason. This may be because some USB devices need extra power. But it is also a way to reduce the lifespan of various computer parts (mainly the TFT screen and the rechargeable batteries of Apple laptops). Networking to OS9 and 8.6 machines in 10.3.5 is still very sluggish, especially after the first time. You usually have to restart the machine to get OS X to notice other computers. Version 10.3.9 is better in this regard. But you will lose out in other areas (see this document). OS X starts to get flaky in behaviour in versions 10.3.6-10.3.9. If you're on 10.3.6, move straight to 10.3.9. Otherwise stick to 10.3.5.
  4. Version 10.4.0 to 10.4.9 — Known as OS X 'Tiger', this upgrade is characterised by new measures to record the contents of your hard disk using a new search tool, to hide from users the invisible Apple system files, to create additional hardware problems on older Macs in the hope users would return them to an Apple reseller or purchase new Macs etc. For example, the new search tool called Spotlight (to replace Sherlock) won't allow users to find invisible files. And Spotlight forces users to accept indexing of the hard disk. More bug fixes, mainly in Java as required for stability in running Safari. And Apple no longer allows users to network with Macintosh computers running MacOS8.6 (OS9 is fine for now). Tiger also comes with a new file format and certain features designed to force many users to do lots of upgrading and updating of applications including Apple's own software such as Mail.app. If you must go for Tiger, wait for a reliable and stable update (at least version 10.4.6 or 10.4.8 is reasonable).
  5. Version 10.5.0 to 10.5.9 — Known as OS X 'Leopard', this upgrade is characterised by structural changes to OS X to prevent PowerPC users from running the Classic Environment and added a wealth of new software tools such as Time Machine to attract new users to OS X. This is necessary. The ability to boot into Windows XP and Vista on Intel Macs using a hack and later Apple introduced Boot Camp means there is little incentive for users to stick to OS X except for the hardcore multimedia, graphic designing and advertising specialists. Many users can now enjoy Windows XP/Vista and perhaps use a freeware utility such as FlyakiteOS X 3.5 to turn the Windows XP interface into an OS X interface look alike. Clearly Apple needs to get its act together and supply a stable and high quality OS X by this time. Unfortunately the structural changes has also resulted in some instability and a reduction in performance, especially on older and slower machines.
  6. Version 10.6.0 to 10.6.9 —. Known simply as "Snow" or in some quarters as "Snow Leopard". Core aspects of this version of OS X begin to handle the new 64-bit architecture of Intel's Core 2 Duo processors and the new 64-bit Apple computers released in late 2010. By version 10.6.7, Apple managed to achieve a high standard of stability. By version 10.6.8, Apple started introducing means of profiling users by getting them to update software via the App Store. Performance-wise this version is not the best, but it is certainly better than all previous OS X versions.
  7. Version 10.7.0 to 10.7.5 — The beginning of a series of quick upgrades (and never reaching 10.x.9) to move the OS to the point where Apple can do a lot of user profiling by "pushing information" through to the Apple servers (on the public perception that the data is only reaching the Apple servers because it is needed to transfer it across to the Apple mobile devices). And all this has to be done without seriously affecting the performance or making it too obvious what is happening and why. Beyond that, the quick upgrades are designed to force users to pay for their third-party commercial software if it doesn't work (and they haven't paid for it) or weed out those that are a little "too powerful" so long as the developers are not around to support their apps. To make people upgrade, emphasis by Apple on how the remaining 32-bit code was removed had been mentioned more than a few times. This meant a reasonable performance boost could be achieved in a number of areas of OS X.
  8. Version 10.8.0 to 10.8.5 — Apart from OS X Snow Leopard, this is the next most popular OS X version with more professional users having the tools to handle Apple's profiling techniques while benefiting from good performance and stability (certainly on reaching version 10.8.5). This is OS X Mountain Lion. This is the last version Apple would sell its OS X to the public.
  9. Version 10.9.0 to 10.9.5 — Known as OS X Mavericks, this goes to the next level in gathering information about users and what they use and do. As users get smarter, Apple introduced a change in the memory management of OS X. More information about users and the apps they use are being kept "live" in what is called inactive RAM (the part of the RAM memory that is meant to be free for use by other apps when they are launched) without properly clearing it out even if users quit an application. Glimpses of this technique could be seen being tested in Preview.app under OS X Mountain Lion as the dot next to the Preview.app in the Dock would not always show when the app is running so users tend to forget only to discover at certain times how they cannot trash certain files until Preview is properly made the frontmost app and quit from the File menu. Now Apple explores the idea further. Because of this risky move, and realising fewer Mac users were making the effort to upgrade, the decision by Apple to offer this version of OS X for free became a reality. Apart from a departure in the OS X name from the familiar cat names, this is the first OS X version to cause significant performance downgrade issues for users having traditional magnetic hard drives in their Mac computers since the RAM kept getting filled up with information after the user has run a few large apps and quit from them forcing the computer to rely more on the hard disk for RAM storage. Only the new flash-based storage devices in the latest MacBook Pro and in the MacBook Air had a better chance of minimising the performance degradation from this new memory management approach.
  10. Version 10.10.0 to 10.10.5 — The new names of OS X now carry the theme of famous places in the U.S., with this version being called OS X Yosemite (as in the Yosemite National Park, famous for its breathtaking natural scenery and volcanic hot springs). Beyond that, Apple has mainly focussed on a facelift of the user interface to more closely match iOS — a move that has polarised many users. After finding ways to grab the icons from OS X Mavericks to bring back some semblance of the original OS X enjoyed by most users, the main concern for many has been on performance. Otherwise this is Apple's next logical refinement to OS X Mavericks providing basically more of the same with some added features to Apple's own apps. The only obvious exception to this has to be Preview.app. Given its remarkable usefulness and general popularity by many Mac users, Apple has somehow managed to put in enough bugs into it and at least one annoying new feature to reduce its usefulness. One would think this has to do with poor programming and limited testing by Apple as the reason. However, combined with the way the app retains data about the last file opened despite users closing the file and expecting the data in RAM to be cleared causing problems later such as some PDF pages in the previous opened file re-appearing in a new opened file and requires deleting and repeating the process to "wake it up", not to mention the fact that no users can run any previous Preview version to escape from the bugs, and with no effort by Apple to fix the bugs, this is really a move to encourage users to upgrade OS X to the next version in the hope these bugs will be fixed. It is the only way Apple can get users to upgrade what is essentially a free product.
  11. Version 10.11.0 to 10.11.5 — Not willing to let go of the 10.x versioning system or to find a radical and better approach (as well as a new look) to the OS, OS X El Capitan is another logical refinement of OS X Yosemite but made to look like a significant upgrade. Extra effort has been made by Apple to allegedly improve performance due to complaints about the last two versions. To a large extent this was successful in the sense that no one is saying the OS feels slower than any previous OS X version. However, a number of users are having trouble seeing any significant difference in performance. Most of the refinements were done to numerous Apple apps mainly for stability, easier use of the apps by more users, and with tighter integration with Apple mobile devices (especially in terms of seamless syncing of data). The suggestion that Apple is probably running our-of-steam in terms of finding new "transformative" ideas to push the OS to another level is definitely on the cards according to some professional Mac users.

What do other people think about OS X?

The reaction has been mixed. Some people say OS X is the best thing since sliced bread. Admittedly these people are the ones with money to splash around so they can easily afford to upgrade their software to ensure compatibility with the latest operating system. While other people supporting OS X are generally first-timers who think Apple computers today are great.

Then there are the average mums and dads, the school principal, the person who just needs to type a letter and send an email who are feeling left behind and are realising how much it costs to support the latest Apple policy on constant innovation. Many of these people are still not quite sure whether Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) did the right thing when developing and selling their latest operating system.

Then there are Macintosh experts who ask what is the benefit of moving to OS X? If the third-party software applications are stable, why do we need OS X?

Part of the problem lies in the fact that OS X is such a radical departure from any previous version of MacOS that people are now discovering how all of their investment in software running on older MacOS is quickly becoming worthless when moving onto the latest MacOS.

And with Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) determined to stop people running older software on OS X after 2003 (e.g. QuarkXPress 4.x), it would appear not enough people are embracing the new operating system with sufficient gusto as Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) would like (we can only wonder why!?).

UPDATE
June 2004

With no choice given by Apple in the type of OS available for the Macintosh, there has been a relatively large exodus of Mac users to the PC and Linux world in an attempt to gain some stability while enjoying the flexibility of choosing a larger range of increasingly cheaper PC and more open source software from shareware and freeware developers.

While other mainly experienced Mac users are learning to fix up deliberate hardware faults on older Macs and choosing to stick to them and their most important older Macintosh software for as long as the Macintosh computers can survive. For these people, PC emulator programs are integral to keeping them relatively up-to-date in the software department. Yet other Mac users are learning to buy or build emulator programs to handle all MacOS on Linux and PC systems. In fact, LInux can now emulate MacOS8/9 with the help of the ROM contents from a Macintosh computer without any problems.

For those who have never used a Macintosh computer, they will probably never know what the fuss is about (as apparent from last Christmas Mac buys and how much fewer OS9 software is on offer at places such as http://www.versiontracker.com/macos while an explosion of OS X shareware and freeware software is now coming online). It is these innocent people who appear to form a significant portion of the OS X customer base and profit for Apple. Anyone else using OS X are doing so because they have to as part of their work requirements (e.g. printing shops, multimedia studios etc).

The rest are moving onto Linux (or PC) and running all their older and newer PC and Mac software as they want.

UPDATE
June 2006

The plethora of OS emulation utilities are helping to bridge the gap between the old world OS and the latest OS X and Windows XP systems. By now you should be able to run any version of Windows from 3.1 to 2000 and MacOS6 to 9.0.1.

Can OS X run on Windows "Intel" machines?

Yes it can. Developers have tested a beta version of OS X 10.1 and realise with a little tweaking OS X can run on a PC. So why aren't consumers given a choice of machine to install OS X?

Simple. To avoid trending on Microsoft ground and to maintain profit in selling Mac computers. Apple needs to keep OS X on its own Macintosh systems to stop real competition which could get nasty and hurt Apple in the long term. But as one user said:

"I would MUCH rather run Mac OS X on a PC. I'm holding out for Apple to give their blessing. With Apple running a Intel processor now I don't see what the problem is. People that can afford a new Mac will still be buying them. Then the poor old people like me can afford a newer computer.

I remember 32 years ago when my class mate and good friend Randy Williams said, Hey man, come and work at this new place where I work, you'll get hired right away. It was a very small building on the outskirts of Santa Cruz CA across from the only other building out there, the gum factory. I thought that he was making a big mistake at a dead end job. The place looked like it would be lucky if it kept the doors open one more week.

The little building was Intel. I said no thanks cause I wanted to go do woodworking. At that time computers were evil and most hippies stayed away.

If you know anything about Intel, then you know who Randy is.

Life's a funny thing. Always think hard before you jump." (http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/29549)

He will be waiting for a long time.

What's the purpose of OS X?

Lots of young OS X fanatics appear to be touting how wonderful OS X is online as can be observed at popular software download sites such as Versiontracker.com (could some of them be working for Apple?).

One of the main arguments for moving over to OS X, according to the younger OS X user market — apart from the operating system's reasonable stability and general good looks — is because it is the only way you can enjoy one day the new 12GHz machines when they come out in around ten years from now. None of the older operating systems will run on these superfast machines (assuming no one makes an emulator to run all the older MacOS). Well, let's face it, you'll need OS X eventually!

Interesting argument. Then there are the more experienced Macintosh users who ask these young OS X fans, "What exactly will you do with a 12GHz machine running OS X in ten years time?"

It would be no surprise if the answer is, "Play more awesome and realistic 3D adventure games!" or "Watch interactive DVD movies."

The slightly more professional group of young or forceably converted OS X users will probably answer a little differently. They would probably say, "To churn out more realistic 3D animations for Hollywood films in a quicker time."

At the end of the day, it is just to see people get more entertained or to make a profit from creating the entertainment.

But what about making books designed to solve world problems, or creating simple digital designs in 3D or 2D to aid in education for the masses? Do you really need a 12GHz machine with OS X to achieve this goal?

One should bear in mind that making books using a desktop publishing software can be easily done on the earliest colour Macintosh computer (e.g. a PowerBook 540c) and a copy of Aldus PageMaker 5.0a. Creating 3D illustrations and movies can be achieved within reasonable time on a slightly more modern machine such as a PowerBook G3 Series or a titanium G4 PowerBook running OS9 and Amorphium 3.0. 2D illustrations, on the other hand, don't need this amount of modern computing power just to create top quality pictures.

Even the art of creating movies on a computer in a quick and efficient manner (and of the Hollywood-quality variety) is already possible on OS9 using a titanium powerbook or less given the quality of movie editing software today and modern hard disk storage capabilities.

The same is true of audio editing software. All you require is very precise and reliable hardware (not so much the speed of the machine) to ensure multi-channel sounds are synchronised correctly.

In the end, practically anyone can achieve all the digital visual, audio and textual information they will ever need to create in life using a 1993-1999 Apple computer and MacOS operating system if one really wanted to.

So why move over to OS X? Is it because it looks better than OS9? Is it the stability that makes OS X better (although one can argue that if software manufacturers learned to create truly stable and reliable software applications for OS9 — including Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) which has now been discovered to be deliberately removing important code in some system extensions needed to make them compatible with G3 systems in favour of G4 systems — the stability of OS9 can be as great as OS X if not greater)?

Or is it because young entrepreneurs believe their business demands the best and think the way to get ahead of the competition is to own the very latest operating system and computers?

Or is it because Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) says you should because this ultimately helps (i) the company's bottom-line; and (ii) to solve the problem of illegal activity on a computer such as software piracy etc?

And as an extra incentive for you to change, some of the big players such as Microsoft have decided to dictate to the customers which popular applications under OS9 will be ditched and which ones will continue to be developed under OS X?

According to the more experienced Macintosh users, you must decide exactly what it is you wish to achieve in life before investing in the latest technology. If your business happens to run OS X on its computers, then you may have no choice but to buy the latest stuff (now you can buy them secondhand at a fraction of the full retail price). But if all you ever want to do is create movies, draw some awesome 2D illustrations, or produce quite effective 3D pictures, as well as have access to the Internet and perhaps type up a few letters or a book, then OS9 (or OS8.6) using any of the older G4 or G3 PowerBooks or desktop machines is perfectly fine. Why would you want to move over? To give Apple more profit?

Rubbish!

Maybe Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) needs to have another reality check and start remarketing OS X and the latest Apple computers to only the young, creative multimedia professionals with more money than sense. Forget about the experienced and/or older Macintosh users who know what they are doing. They will decide when and how they wish to use Apple's new operating system.

If an experienced Macintosh user ever wanted to use an OS X machine, he/she can always get a second-hand copy of OS X (now available in abundance, probably thanks to Apple's decision to create obsolescence in its products) and install it on a partition of his/her hard disk and/or purchase a recent second-hand Macintosh computer to meet all the requirements of certain businesses. Let the young guns spend all the money they like on the latest new Apple equipment, let them resell the equipment when they've had enough (i.e. when they see the problems), and let the smarter Macintosh users purchase the equipment at ridiculously low second-hand prices (at least 60 per cent off normal RRP or more). We can be sure the younger market would be happy to help Apple make a profit.

And if having the latest software is so important to the experienced Macintosh user, then we can also be sure the user will be happy purchasing PC versions of the software and run them on RealPC 1.0.9 (which incidentally can run Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP or higher) or another PC emulator program. At the end of the day, it is the final result after using the software which really matters, not the OS.

OS X is not the goal in life. It is just wasted space designed to fill up your RAM and hard disk thereby forcing you to buy extra RAM and a new hard drive. The purpose of an OS should not be to make you spend more money to the point where you have to replace every single piece of older software and hardware you have. Rather it should be designed to let you run new features in newer third-party software on any hardware without sacrificing the ability to run the older software you may want as well.

And most importantly, it should do nothing more than organise your files and allow you to launch them and give you access in the easiest way possible to all the features on your computer.

In the end, Apple has to remember who it is helping — themselves and their shareholders, or their customers?