Why does Mac have two OSs?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by picasso_41, May 9, 2003.

  1. picasso_41 macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Why does the Apple MacIntosh have two operating systems? I'm planning to switch to a Mac whenever Apple gets its act together about the new processors, but I'm concerned about the apparent need to have two operating systems--Unix and OS-X. So the following dumb questions:

    Isn't this inefficient? Wouldn't it be better if Mac software ran directly from Unix? The desktop interface could also be a program running from Unix, like X-Windows. Any Mac software could be run from the Unix shell (shades of DOS).

    The result of having to use two operating systems is a huge memory requirement and a system slowdown, no?
     
  2. mnkeybsness macrumors 68030

    mnkeybsness

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  3. XnavxeMiyyep macrumors 65816

    XnavxeMiyyep

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    #3
    Apple does have 2 OSes. One is OS X, which is Unix based. The other is called Classic, which is their older OS. The reason they keep Classic is that some programs require Classic to run, because they have not been designed for OS X yet.
     
  4. caveman_uk Guest

    caveman_uk

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    #4
    Re: Why does Mac have two OSs?

    The GUI does run as a BSD process but it isn't X windows. It isn't really two OS's. As XnavxeMiyyep mentioned OS X contains a 'Classic' environment which is an incarnation of OS 9. This generally is only invoked when you use old apps. I personally have never used it and don't have installed at all. I'm OS X all the way
     
  5. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #5
    who said anything about classic? don't confuse him. and anyway, saying that apple has 2 OS's, classic and X, is like saying MS has two OS's... Windows XP and windows 98. classic is long dead. unfortunately there are a handful of developers who aren't on the ball.

    The finder, GUI of the system, is simply for navigating the file system. With a hack, the finder can even be quit-- it doesn't really need to run. Obviously no one wants a text-based OS. so it's very much like Xwindows. The finder cannot run without the UNIX subsystem.

    pnw
     
  6. coolsoldier macrumors 6502

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    #6
    For newbies, classic is best likened to the "MS Dos" Environment in WinXP. DOS is not typically running, but it launches when you need to use a legacy program. Classic is the same way. OS X is the operating system that the computer runs, and OS 9 launches within OS X ONLY when you need to use legacy programs. Most of the time, you are only running OS X.
     
  7. toughboy macrumors 6502a

    toughboy

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    #7
    not at all...

    They are not two operating systems..
    the question would be "why do we have os9 and osX together" instead...
     
  8. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    #8
    Re: Why does Mac have two OSs?

    he's not talking about OS 9/ classic; don't confuse the issue by even bringing that in. He is under the mistaken impression that OS X and Unix are separate operating systems. OS X is a way of talking about the interface, but Unix what underlies this interface. It's not 2 operating systems. OS X is the operating system, but it's based on a Unix structure. Ugh, I'm too tired, I'm pretty sure I'm being incoherent. :)

    Can someone please explain this to him better than I have (*without* bringing OS 9/ classic in to it because that was in no way part of the question)?
     
  9. Catfish_Man macrumors 68030

    Catfish_Man

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    #9
    Re: Why does Mac have two OSs?

    In summary of what everyone else said:

    OSX is UNIX.
     
  10. bertagert macrumors 6502

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    #10
    OK picasso_41, here it is....

    Mac doesn't have two OS's just like Windows doesn't have two OS's.

    Think about it this way:

    Take Windows 98 - You'd think Windows 98 is the OS but in reality its MS DOS with a nice graphical interface so you don't use the command line (eg: c:/programfiles/adobe). Its not two OS's, its just one with a pretty face. They just call the whole package Windows 98

    Take Mac OS X - You'd think OS X(Aqua) is the OS but in reality its Unix under the hood. Just like above, you can use the command line, but Apple combines both together and calls it OS X.

    So, to answer your question, its not two OS's. Just one.

    As for the people talking about Classic:
    Classic is basically Mac OS 9. Apple included in because there was a transition with the underlining OS. Just like Windows has MS DOS underneath it, and OS X has Unix underneath it, Classic has Mach underneath it. Unix and Mach are different creatures. So to make everyone's life a little easier and not force people to buy all new software at once, Apple emulated Mach in OS X.

    I think I did a good job but anyone please feel free to chime in.
     
  11. janey macrumors 603

    janey

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    #11
    Re: Re: Why does Mac have two OSs?

    actually unix is the foundation that OS X is built on, OS X isn't entirely Unix...
     
  12. Catfish_Man macrumors 68030

    Catfish_Man

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    #12
    Re: Re: Re: Why does Mac have two OSs?

    I'm simplifying. And iirc, anything posix compliant is unix and OSX is as posix compliant as say, Linux (I could be misremembering). If you go by that definition, then yes, OSX is unix.
     
  13. shadowfax macrumors 603

    shadowfax

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    #13
    Re: Why does Mac have two OSs?

    OS X is it's own thing, with the Unix underpinnings, but as you say, no X window system. it has, i think, a much superior one, one that's years ahead of both MS and the linux community. if you want a purebreed, so to speak, you can get mandrake-linux for PPC, i think Debian, and also Yellow Dog linux. these all use the X window system, and can run the linux apps you may be intereset in :D
     
  14. Catfish_Man macrumors 68030

    Catfish_Man

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    #14
    Re: Re: Why does Mac have two OSs?

    You can run X Windows on OSX though. Apple has a port of it, as do two other companies/organizations.
     
  15. shadowfax macrumors 603

    shadowfax

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    #15
    Re: Re: Re: Why does Mac have two OSs?

    I know. but that is exactly the opposite of what he wants. it's inefficient to run the X Server and the Finder at the same time, especially when it is all running within Finder. it's emulation, and emulation is always slower than the real deal, in the current world. you can't run linux games on apple's X11. or XDarwin. what's the other one?
     
  16. GulGnu macrumors regular

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    #16
    What you describe is Win 3.X - not Win 95+. Windows 95-98-Me had some DOS underpinnings for compatibility, as well as the option to boot into DOS (Until Me) - From Win 2000 and onwards, DOS is history.

    Regards / GulGnu

    -Stabil som fan!
     
  17. Snowy_River macrumors 68030

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    #17
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Why does Mac have two OSs?


    I've run Linux games under X11 in MacOS X. I've also run some pretty high power scientific analysis software. It works well. And, strictly speaking, it's not emulation. It is simply a different window server running on top of Darwin. (I even know someone that took Aqua off his system and ran X11 with KDE on Darwin. Don't know why he did it, though...)
     
  18. Snowy_River macrumors 68030

    Snowy_River

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    #18
    Unless I'm mistaken (boy is that a loaded statement...), at least up to Win98, Windows was really just a glorified GUI shell on top of DOS. However, as you noted, from Windows 2000 on . . .

    But, wait, it goes back before Windows 2000. Windows NT never had DOS as a part of it (except as an emulator - and boy was it a terrible emulator). The reason why Windows 2000, etc., don't have DOS anymore is because these new OSes are in the NT line, not the original Windows line.
     
  19. MacCoaster macrumors 6502a

    MacCoaster

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    #19
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Why does Mac have two OSs?

    Going by your definition of UNIX, then the Windows NT family is UNIX. Microsoft has a POSIX-compliant subsystem in Windows. I don't use Microsoft's UNIX tools for Windows because I prefer Cygwin.
     
  20. dynamicd macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Haha, i think picasso's question has been answered. You guys are probably throwing him around in circles now.
     
  21. picasso_41 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    It looks like my (picasso's) questions have been answered. Thank you for your help.

    OS-X runs in conjunction with UNIX and makes up for what UNIX lacks.

    From what John Dvorak says about PCs, MS/DOS is still there lurking underneath Windows, even XP, so it's always runnig. Windows is like a giant migrane headache on top of DOS.

    My experience with NT is that the tremendous overhead from Windows creates a lag time from when I click the mouse and when it actually does something. This may not be what's actuall happening, but it seems like it.

    I find this particularly irritating when using AutoCad. I normally use the CLI in AutoCad rather than the icons because I can work faster that way. But I have to slow down for the mouse, or I get out of synch. This may be a problem with AutoCad.

    Also scrolling with the mouse in Windows can be very frustrating, because if the pointer slips off the scroller, the screen jumps back up to the top. Maybe that's why they introduced the scroll wheel.

    I'm concerned that I'll have the same frustrations with OS-X because of the large amount of code that has to filter through UNIX on its way to the hardware. It seems that this is the reason why OS-X is noticeably slower than OS-9.

    Picasso_41
     
  22. shadowfax macrumors 603

    shadowfax

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    #22
    just when i thought there was progress being made....

    no. OS X is not "in conjunction with" Unix. it's "on top" of it, from your perspective, or perhaps "outside of" it. the main of what apple works with in OS X is it's feature apps and the User Interface. these don't run "in cuonjunction with" unix, they run Unix. at the same time, that's saying OS X is the GUI. really, OS X is the entire OS, including the Unix. Apple credits Berkeley for parts of their OS, the Unix parts. but they are still part of OS X. there is no separation here, really. Darwin, the Unix base, is OS X. it's OS X without the GUI, which many would say is what makes OS X special.

    Also, Dvorak is pretty sharp sometimes, but his articles are always pretentious, and i don't believe he always knows what he is talking about. some of his macintosh comments have struck me as extremely stupid. Windows XP really has booted DOS's 16 bit roots. windows XP is a 32-bit operating system, and not one sitting on a 16 bit one like windows 98 was. it's from Win2k which is from NT; it's NT with more drivers, basically. and no, there's not DOS in NT, to my knowledge.

    OS X's comparative (to OS 9) sluggishness has nothing to do with the Unix base. unix is very, very, very fast when you use it right. Servers with custom-compiled kernels in Linux can run, i have heard, more than twice as fast at most services than the same server with W2K Server on it. and i don't understand what you mean by code "filtering" through unix. the code is compiled for unix, inasmuch as it is for OS X's brand of unix. it's all native.

    OS X is slower than OS 9 because it's prettier, basically. the UI Apple designed is much more taxing for the processor(s) to render. still, it runs plenty fast.

    you sound like you must be working on very POS computers to be whining about mouse lag.
     
  23. picasso_41 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #23
    Thank you, Shadowfax.

    Progress is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

    I really shouldn't take anymore of your time because I'm not a programmer and am not familiar with the art or its processes. The bottom line is that when I'm able to spend some time on a Mac, I'll be able to judge its performance for myself.

    As for DOS, it may very well be gone, but when I open a DOS shell in NT, I still see the old DOS staring at me. It still doesn't understand long file names. It may be 32 bit, but it still looks and acts the same as the old DOS.

    I like Dvorak. He's entertaining, which is more than I can say for the rest of the PC Mag staff. Of course he says outrageous things, so that readers will keep coming back. Just don't take him seriously. Like the rest of us, he really loves computers.

    I could go on and on about mouse lag on PCs...
     
  24. shadowfax macrumors 603

    shadowfax

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    #24
    Dvorak is definitely entertaining--he's confrontational, which often has that effect. but it also means that a lot of people disagree with a lot of things he says, myself included. some things he says are insightful, but others, like the apple comments he's made, seem just asinine.

    DOS does look the same in NT. the difference between DOS emulation and the real thing is invisible, by and large, to the end user. the difference is that in Windows 98, the Windows OS is running on top of DOS, which slows it down considerably. in windows NT, DOS runs within NT, so when you close the emulation window, DOS is dead. on windows 98, you can't kill DOS. it's always there underneath everything, much like the linux base in OS X (though not really).

    anyways, don't worry about wasting anyone's time--participation in this forum is voluntary on all sides. we come here to learn, for the most part, so if we can clarify anything for you, just ask.

    Experience with the Mac is the best thing to have before you make any judgments, as you say. don't form opinions based on this forum. it's good for info and others' impressions, but you can't call a movie bad till you've seen it. so definitely go to an apple store or compUSA and check out the latest stuff ;)
     
  25. Snowy_River macrumors 68030

    Snowy_River

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    #25
    Quite so. The only significant difference is that NT (at least as of NT4) looses some of the compatibility and speed of DOS, because it is only an emulation.

    FYI... NT stands for New Technology, which is what MS intended the OS to be, a new level of OS tech built from the ground up to get away from the problems of building shells on top of DOS. Unfortunately, they have yet to get a good internal architecture in the system. (It's better than it used to be, but that's not saying much...)

    Uh, let's not say 'linux'. Say 'unix' or 'BSD', but 'linux' is, at least to some extent, a different beast.

    Again, I couldn't agree more. Always happy to chime in... :)

    This is something that is really hard for some Windows users to understand. Using Macs is the ultimate way to realize just how nice they are. It's best if you know someone who has a Mac, so you're not a slave to a store, but take what you can get.

    Also, about mouse lag, I've used AutoCAD through various versions (r12 to 2000i), and I think that you must have a poorly configured PC. I've never found that with a properly configured machine there was ever any noticeable lag in mouse response. If I were you, I'd talk to my boss about getting me a decent machine. (Actually, if I were you, I'd talk to my boss about switching to VectorWorks and Macintoshes, but, then, I'm a Mac Advocate...)

    Regarding processing structure, here's a picture that should give you some idea of how there are 'parallel' processes that function inside of OS X, including the BSD process (unix), the Cocoa process (NeXTSTEP), the Classic process (Blue box), and so on. These are all part of the whole operating system that is OS X.
     

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