A Tour of Mac OS X Technology

Now that you've set up your Mac and learned the very basic functions, let's take a look at what's "under the hood." I'm referring to the Mac operating system, OS X. The release of OS X in 2001 represented a revolutionary departure from the traditional Mac OS, which offered greater system stability and flexibility wrapped in a luxurious user interface. The current version of Mac OS X is Version 10.2, code named Jaguar presumably because it's powerful, sleek, and fast.

Mac OS X consists of 11 separate pieces that work together and complement each other (as represented in Figure 1.4). Let's take a brief look at the components . As we do so, we'll also examine how they influence its features.

Figure 1.4. This layered model represents the complex architecture of Mac OS X.


Mac OS X is made up of several components that work together to run applications, generate images, and provide a cutting-edge user experience:

  • Aqua ” Aqua provides a graphical user interface (GUI) that controls the appearance of windows , buttons , and other onscreen controls.

  • AppleScript ” The AppleScript language enables users to write scripts that interact with other software on the computer.

  • Cocoa ” Cocoa is a programming environment that enables applications for Mac OS X to be built from scratch quickly.

  • Java 2 ” Mac OS X supports the development and deployment of Java-based programs.

  • Carbon ” Carbon is an interface for developing programs that run on Mac OS 8/9 as well as Mac OS X.

  • Classic ” The Classic environment enables existing Mac OS applications to run under Mac OS X.

  • Quartz ” Quartz is Apple's new 2D imaging framework and window server, which is based on the Portable Document Format (PDF).


    You might recognize PDF as a common file type for forms and documents available on the Internet. PDFs are especially useful for distributing forms because they reproduce the page layout regardless of the type of computer receiving the information. If your Internet browser has called for you to downloaded Adobe's Acrobat Reader, you've already encountered PDFs.

  • OpenGL ” OpenGL is the industry standard for 3D graphics.


    Mac OS X, with the help of OpenGL, performs a variety of eye-catching visual effects, such as seamlessly fading between screensaver images and scaling icons. However, some computers that can handle the other demands of Mac OS X have a graphics card that isn't capable of producing these effects. If you find that transitions between images are jerky, your graphics card might be to blame. However, rest assured that the other less-cosmetic aspects of Mac OS X are unaffected.

  • QuickTime ” Apple's award-winning multimedia technologies are built into the graphics foundation of Mac OS X. Jaguar's QuickTime 6.0 includes the new MPEG-4 standard for Internet viewing.

  • Audio ” Mac OS X continues Apple's tradition of providing world-class audio support for musicians and audiophiles.

  • Darwin ” The Unix-based core operating system.


Unix (pronounced YOU-nix ) is an operating system developed at Bell Labs during the 1970s. Unix was created to be a stable and powerful development platform for programmers. However, it has traditionally been run in the form of text commands, which can be a bit intimidating for casual computer users. Mac OS X preserves the power of Unix while adding the usability of a Mac interface.

Sams Teach Yourself Mac OS X Digital Media. All In One
Sams Teach Yourself Mac OS X Digital Media All In One
ISBN: 0672325322
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 349

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