Belated Birthday

This was something I meant to do Wednesday, but I wanted to wish ***Mac OS X|*** a happy third birthday!

On ***March 21, 2001|***, 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|***.)

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|***.

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|*** 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|***.

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|*** 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|***.

Thanks also to The Apple Museum for their ***Macintosh operating system timeline|***.

5 thoughts on “Belated Birthday

  1. Mike

    I’m reminded of my desire to eventually switch to a Mac. Too bad I can’t afford it. Maybe if I start saving up now, I’ll be able to switch by the time OS 11 comes out… :-/

  2. Josh Farnham Walton

    I never understood the whole thing about naming the OS X releases after cats. I think they should start naming the OS XI releases after the Thundercats:

    Version 11.0 – “Cheetara”
    Version 11.1 – “Panthro”
    Version 11.2 – “Lion-o”
    Version 11.2.5 – “Snarf”

  3. Bob

    The OS X naming scheme does suck, those of us who are basically windows people get confused and think that Apple is charging ~$120 for a x.1 upgrade, like Service Pack 1 for XP, when it is much more than that.

    Having said that, I like the latter incarnations of OSX quite a bit, but not enough to justify switching. The hardware cost is too high, given the legacy software I’d sacrifice in the switch.

    I do double boot linux on both machines (Mandrake/98SE/XP Pro on the desktop, and Fedora Core/XP Pro on the laptop). I’ve been very happy with this arrangement, and Mike might consider it.

  4. Peter

    Apple has a long history of using internal code-names for their products. For example, my PowerBook was called the “Pismo” and my PowerMac was called the “Sawtooth”. Frequently, these code-names are also used by customers to refer to their machines. The first two Mac OS X releases weren’t officially referred to by their code-names. With Mac OS X 10.2 “Jaguar,” however, Apple officially marketed the product using its code name. I don’t know for sure why they made this decision, but one thing I can say for sure is that the two syllables in “Jaguar” are a lot easier to say than the seven syllables in “Mac OS X 10.2”.

    Buying a Mac is expensive, it’s true. But I believe good things are worth saving up for. Or, barring that, worth getting high-interest loans for. Just kidding… been there, done that, don’t recommend it.

    Bob – Mike is already running Linux, I believe.
    Josh – I had already suggested elsewhere that Panther should have been named Panthro. 😉
    Mike – Yep, just save those pennies. Don’t be tempted by the lure of cheap, built-it-yourself x86 hardware.
    Amy – Hey, that’s way farther than 3.5 hours! The furthest Becky and I drove while in the Bay Area was Monterey, which was around two hours south.


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