This was something I meant to do Wednesday, but I wanted to wish Mac OS X|http://www.apple.com/macosx/ a happy third birthday!
On March 21, 2001|http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2001/mar/21osxstore.html, Apple announced that Mac OS X would be available starting that weekend, March 24. And as promised, Mac OS X began showing up at local retailers such as CompUSA. (Apple had not yet opened any of their retail stores; the first two would open two months later|http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2001/may/15retail.html.)
Developers and other afficionados had already been given a taste of the new operating system by way of the Public Beta, released September 12, 2000. But Mac OS X 10.0 was the first chance for everyone in the Mac world to step up to the next level.
I did not purchase Mac OS X right off of the bat; I was running Linux on both of my Mac computers at the time, and I didn’t see any immediate need for it. However, my curiosity eventually got the better of me, and I ended up installing Mac OS X 10.0 on my PowerBook towards the end of July, just before leaving for the O’Reilly Open Source Convention|http://www.oreillynet.com/oscon2001/.
Version 10.0 (“Cheetah”) was admittedly quite flaky. Most of the critical features were there, but there weren’t a lot of extras to be had, and some things still didn’t work quite right.
Version 10.1 (“Puma”) was released September 25, 2001, fixing many of 10.0’s bugs and adding some new features. Since Apple had by then opened many retail stores, this upgrade was passed out for free that evening. I was there at the recently-opened Northshore|http://www.apple.com/retail/northshore/ store to pick it up.
Version 10.2 (“Jaguar”) was released July 17, 2002. This, many people felt, was the first “real” release of Mac OS X. All of the features were there, it was no longer flaky, and it was just overall a good, solid experience. Particularly notable was the introduction of Quartz Extreme, boosting 2d graphics performance through the roof when used with compatible accelerated graphics cards. I was at the Northshore store again for their Jaguar release party, that night, and I’ve got the photos to prove it|http://gallery.prwdot.org/jaguar_party.
Version 10.3 (“Panther”) was released on October 24, 2003, introducing some amazing new technologies such as Expose. Again, I was at an Apple Store for that celebration (dubbed “Night of the Panther”), only this time it was at the Burlingame|http://gallery.prwdot.org/sfo_day6/DSCN4220 location, as Becky and I were vacationing in San Francisco.
Mac OS X has come a long way, and I now have the latest version, 10.3.3, running on both my PowerBook G3 and my PowerMac G4. It’s definitely the most stable, feature-filled, easy-to-use operating system I’ve ever experienced.
If you’re interested in a technical look back at the evolution of Mac OS X, Ars Technica has written up an article on Three Years of Mac OS X|http://www.arstechnica.com/etc/mac/index.html.
Thanks also to The Apple Museum for their Macintosh operating system timeline|http://www.theapplemuseum.com/index.php?id=tam&page=timeline&subpage=os.