Mac OS Classic

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mac OS
developer Apple Computer, Inc.
License (s) proprietary
First publ. January 24, 1984
Current  version 9.2.2 (December 5, 2001)
Kernel monolithic
ancestry Macintosh system software up to 7.5.5
Mac OS from 7.6
Copland technology from Mac OS 7.6
OPENSTEP technology from Mac OS 9
Architecture (s) 68k (up to 8.1), PowerPC (from 7.1.2)
timeline System 0.97 – System 4.3
System 6 –6.0.8L
System 7 –Mac OS 7.6
Mac OS 8 –8.6
Mac OS 9 –9.2.2
Languages) English, German and others

Mac OS , also known retronymously as Mac OS Classic or Classic Mac OS - in German classic Mac OS - is the original operating system of the Macintosh from Apple , which was developed since 1982 and marketed since 1984. In the beginning it only had the very unspecific name System until it was called Macintosh System Software for the first time in its entirety in System Version 4.0 from January 1987 . This designation was then officially used for versions 5 and 6 until it was simply called System again at the beginning of the 1990s: System 6 and System 7 . Starting with version 7.6 it was renamed to Mac OS . After Xerox Star and Lisa OS, the operating system was the third commercially available operating system that had a graphical user interface and supported a mouse . The central element is the finder modeled on a desk , which up to System 6 had its own version number.

Mac OS is the only complete implementation of the Macintosh programming interface . After the takeover of NeXT at the end of 1996, it was replaced by the Mac OS X developed from OPENSTEP , for which the programming interface had to be reimplemented as Carbon to make existing Macintosh applications easier to port .

As of May 2001, all new Macs were shipped with Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, and Mac OS 9 remained the preinstalled standard operating system until January 2002.


In order to save expensive main memory and scarce disk space, essential parts of the operating system were initially stored in read-only memory ( ROM ). This made space-saving and nevertheless powerful programs possible: The first word processing program MacWrite was less than 30 kB in size and still had a graphic surface, several windows and offered WYSIWYG . Also MacPaint for drawing was so small.

Initially, only one program could run at a time; From 1987 the MultiFinder , from 1991 System 7 , made it possible to run several programs at the same time. System 7 was already a 32-bit operating system.

Towards the end of the 1990s, the disadvantages of the classic Mac OS compared to real multi-user systems such as Solaris , Linux , BSD or Windows NT became apparent . The multitasking capabilities were not completely controlled by the system (so-called cooperative multitasking ), so that, together with the lack of memory protection, the system could completely crash if a single program triggered an error and no longer responded.

To compensate for these deficits, Apple tried to develop a more modern operating system under the project name Copland . The project failed, but some of the innovations from Copland were integrated into the existing "system", which was also renamed Mac OS . Mac OS 7.6 already received parts from Copland, Mac OS 8 also came up with the revised Copland surface "Platinum". In Mac OS 8.5 , core functions from Copland were taken over, so that Mac OS 8.5 has a completely revised kernel that is even multi-processor capable. However, none of these modifications were able to remedy the core deficits, among other things because the operating system should remain compatible with the Macintosh API at the program interface (API) level.

Apple therefore started looking for alternatives. Among other things, it was considered to buy the company Be Incorporated in order to use their BeOS operating system, which is under development, but which is already stable and mature, as the basis for the new Macintosh operating system. However, the project failed - there are many rumors about the reasons.

Ultimately, Apple bought NeXT, founded by its former CEO Steve Jobs , for almost 400 million US dollars, in order to create a completely new operating system called " Mac OS X " based on OPENSTEP (originally NeXTStep) with the help of Steve Jobs. to develop.

Mac OS 9 continued to be supported in the Classic environment up to Mac OS X Tiger (up to April 10th, 2007) in order to make it easier for users to switch, who could continue to use their old programs. However , the Classic environment no longer ran on Macs with an Intel processor (from 2006) and Mac OS X Leopard (10.5, 2007, last version that ran on the PowerPC); here you have to rely on third-party programs such as SheepShaver .

The name "Mac OS" is first mentioned in the start logo of System 7.5.1 ; with version 7.6 the operating system is officially called “ Mac OS 7.6 ”. Macintosh operating systems were called “Macintosh System Software” up to System 6 , but then the original term “System” was increasingly used again - as was the case with System 7, System 7.1 and System 7.5. The last version of Mac OS in its original form is Mac OS 9.2.2, dated December 2001.


Macintosh XL running System 6.0.2 (English).

Originally, each operating system component and each software component was given its own independent version number . This also led to confusion because the actual operating system, simply called “System”, ran a different version than the main Macintosh program: the Finder . In addition, Apple printed the disks given to dealers for updating existing systems with their own version numbers that had nothing to do with the operating system version and the version of the Finder.

The term “ Macintosh System Software ” (or just “ System Software ”) is only officially used by Apple from System Software 5 onwards. However, since there is no System 5, but System Software 5.0 contains System 4.2 and Finder 6.0, the identification is often not entirely clear, especially since the running system itself does not provide any information about the supposed version of the " Macintosh System Software ". The term " system software " was nevertheless used by dealers and other sources (users, pages on the Internet), although this was only the imprint on the storage media (floppy disks) or the accompanying documentation and was mostly different, e.g. B. Macintosh Utilities or Macintosh Software.

Versions prior to “ Macintosh System Software 6 ” are therefore not to be equated with the version of the “System” (or the Finder). In order to clear up the situation, System 5 was skipped and the version numbers from System 6 , the "Macintosh System Software 6" with the Finder 6.1 and the MultiFinder 6.0, were largely standardized.

Versions up to Macintosh System Software 5

The version listed as system software up to version 5.0 is that of the print on the media. It cannot be read on a running Macintosh. As of “Macintosh System Software 6” ( System 6 ), the versions are largely standardized (except for the subversion of the Finder) and in System 7 they are completely standardized. System 7.5 was the last operating system for classic Macintosh computers from the 1980s. Starting with version 7.6, System 7 was also renamed Mac OS 7.6.

designation version Macintosh models Comments
system finder Multi-
 128K  512K  SE  512Ke  plus  II
Dec. 4,
- 0.85 - - - Yes No No No No No Version 0.85 is an early unreleased (but " leaked ") beta version .
January 14,
- 0.97 1.0 Yes No No No No No The version number 0.97 of the system was only used internally and was not visible to the user: the operating system identified itself as System 1.0, Finder 1.0. On the second disc was MacWrite 1.0, MacPaint 1.0 and Font Mover included.
May 1984 System software 0.1 1.1 1.1g Yes Yes No No No No The version imprint "0.1" is only on the floppy disks and the associated printed documentation. This version includes a. the updates MacWrite 2.2 and MacPaint 1.3 and was also included in the Macintosh 512k from September 1985. The Finder has been given at least from the beginning of 1985 in versions 2.6 and 3.4 of testers.
Apr 1985 System software 0.3 2.0 4.1 Yes Yes Yes No No No This version includes a. the MacWrite 4.5 and MacPaint 1.5 updates.
Sept 1985 System software 0.5 2.1 5.0 Yes Yes Yes No No No Introduced the hierarchical file system .
Jan. 1986 System software 0.7 3.0 5.1 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No This version was shipped with the Macintosh Plus and the Macintosh 512Ke.
Feb 1986 LaserWriter 3.0 3.1 5.2 3.0 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No This version had bugs that affected system stability. It was only included on the printer installation disk (v1.0) on which the printer programs LaserWriter 3.0 and LaserWriter Namer 2.0 were delivered. System 3.11 was shipped with the Macintosh 512Ke.
Jun. 1986 System software 1.1 3.2 5.3 3.1 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No This is the last system left on the original 1984 Macintosh . Includes LaserWriter 3.1.
AppleShare 1.0 3.3 5.4 No Yes No No No No Contained on the Work Station Installer disk for versions 1.0 of the AppleShare file server and includes LaserWriter 3.1.
Jan. 1987 System software 2.01 4.0 5.4 3.3 No Yes Yes Yes Yes No This version was shipped with the Macintosh SE and includes the first mention of Macintosh System Software in the included documentation . It includes the upgrade to LaserWriter 3.3 and uses the same version of the Finder as the previous version. Since it now requires at least 1MB of RAM, System 4.0 is no longer compatible with the original Macintosh .
AppleShare 1.1 3.3 5.5 No Yes No No No No Contained on the Work Station Installer disk for versions 1.1 of the AppleShare file server .
Apr 1987 System software 2.01 4.1 5.5 4.0 No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Version for the Macintosh II and last version for the Macintosh 512K. System 4.1 improved the cooperation with AppleShare and supported larger hard drives (> 32 MB). Includes the upgrade to LaserWriter 4.0.
Oct 1987 System software 5.0 4.2 6.0 1.0 5.0 No No Yes Yes Yes Yes This version was now officially known as "Macintosh System Software 5.0", includes System version 4.2 and Finder version 6.0. The MultiFinder, a new implementation of the Finder that is capable of multitasking, has also been introduced. The update is also included. a. to LaserWriter 5.0.
Nov 1987 System software 5.1 4.3 6.0 1.0 5.1 No No Yes Yes Yes Yes This version only contains minor improvements, such as the upgrade to LaserWriter 5.1.
AppleShare 2.0 3.4 6.1 - 5.1 No No No Yes No No Special system version for the Macintosh 512Ke for and included in AppleShare version 2.0 .

The Macintosh XL , as it is identical to the Apple Lisa , can only run Lisa OS natively. However, it was delivered with MacWorks XL, a port on the Macintosh Plus ROM, which enables System 1.1 to 3.2 to run on the Macintosh XL. With MacWorks Plus it is compatible up to System 6.0.3 and with MacWorks Plus II Basic up to 6.0.8. MacWorks Plus II Pro even allows the Macintosh XL to run System 7.5.5, the last system for 68k Macs with the original Motorola 68000 processor.

Versions of System 6

System 6 was shipped in June 1988 as a free upgrade for all existing Macintosh computers with the exception of the Macintosh 128k and 512k . Version 6.0.1 was included with the Macintosh IIx , version 6.0.3 with the Macintosh SE / 30 , IIcx and also in the ROM of the Macintosh Classic , version 6.0.4 was shipped with the Macintosh IIci and the Macintosh Portable , version 6.0.5 with the Macintosh IIfx and the faulty version 6.0.6 with the Macintosh Classic, IIsi and LC . The last version was 6.0.8L from February 1992, almost a year after System 7 was released .

System 7 up to Mac OS 9.2.2

System 7 , released in 1991, represented a complete overhaul and modernization of the existing operating system for Apple on the one hand, and on the other hand it also marked a dead point in development, as Apple was unable to integrate modern operating system functions such as multitasking and memory protection in a stable manner. Projects to develop a modern new operating system - "Pink" or TalOS , "Red" or Raptor, Copland and Gershwin - remained unfinished or were already stopped in the planning phase.

Apple therefore looked for a successor operating system from another manufacturer. Finally, NeXT was taken over at the end of 1996 and its modern Unix operating system OPENSTEP was further developed in Mac OS X by 2001 , with the programming interface of the Macintosh being re-implemented as Carbon . Carbon was also available on Mac OS version 8.1, so "carbonized Programs" ( English "carbonized applications" ) were also able to run on both Mac OS X and Mac OS.

Version 7.6 was renamed Mac OS 7.6 because System 7 could also run on Macintosh clones and the name was intended to indicate the Macintosh PCs produced by Apple itself , even if the system was running on one of the clones. Mac OS 7.6 was also the first Mac OS to receive parts of the unfinished Copland .

From Mac OS 8 onwards, the operating system was improved with other parts of Copland, such as the Platinum design or from Mac OS 8.5 onwards an improved kernel. Mac OS 9 was only inserted in preparation for the upcoming Mac OS X 10.0, as the internal differences between Mac OS 8.6 and Mac OS 9.0 are far smaller than those between Mac OS 8.1 and Mac OS 8.5.

Mac OS continued to run in a virtualized environment called Blue Box under the Rhapsody operating system , which Apple developed from 1997 onwards. The second preliminary version from 1998, internal version number Rhapsody 5.1, ran Mac OS 8.1, Mac OS X Server 1.0 (1999), which corresponds to Rhapsody 5.3, ran Mac OS 8.5 and the last update ran Mac OS X Server 1.2v3 (2000 , internal Rhapsody 5.6) ran Mac OS 8.6. Rhapsody was further developed to Mac OS X and the Blue Box to the Classic environment.

The last Macintosh that can start Mac OS 9 directly is the Power Mac G4 "Mirrored Drive Doors 2003", which was reissued from 2003 to 2004 following requests from users. On newer PowerPC-based Mac models, Mac OS version 9.1 or higher can only be used in the Classic environment of the successor operating system Mac OS X to Tiger (10.4, 2005; last update 10.4.11, 2007), but not on the server -Models Xserve . The Classic environment is no longer available on Intel-based Macs and is therefore no longer an official (virtualized) classic Mac OS.

Web links

Wikibooks: Mac OS Compendium  - Learning and Teaching Materials

Individual evidence

  1. ^ ADC News August 27, 1999, No. 170. (No longer available online.) Apple Computer, Inc. , August 27, 1999, archived from the original ; accessed on March 6, 2016 (English): “ We will be introducing some compelling new font technologies, providing updates on AppleScript, and providing overviews of the latest developments in our hardware products, Mac OS (Classic and X), QuickTime, and Java , with a special emphasis on how these technologies impact the publishing market. "
  2. Apple Press Info: First Major Upgrade to Mac OS X Hits Stores This Weekend. Apple Computer, Inc. , September 25, 2001, accessed on March 6, 2016 (English): " ... includes a Mac OS X v10.1 upgrade CD, full install of the Classic Mac OS 9.2.1 CD ... "
  3. Apple Makes Mac OS X the Default Operating System on All Macs. Apple, January 7, 2002, accessed December 14, 2014 .
  4. a b Christian Persson: Apple buys Next - Steve Jobs returns. In: Heise online . December 21, 1996 . Retrieved March 9, 2016.