The UNIX Legacy of macOS

The history of macOS and its evolution from UNIX can be traced back to the early days of computing. UNIX itself was developed in the late 1960s at Bell Labs by a team of programmers led by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie. The operating system was designed to be portable, scalable, and efficient, making it ideal for use on a wide range of computer hardware.
In the 1970s and 1980s, UNIX gained popularity among academic and research institutions, as well as among commercial enterprises. Many different variants of UNIX were developed during this time, each with its own set of features and capabilities.
In the mid-1980s, Apple Computer Inc. was facing challenges with its Macintosh operating system. The system was struggling to keep up with the demands of the rapidly evolving personal computer market, and Apple needed a solution that could provide a more stable and scalable platform for its hardware. In 1987, Apple partnered with AT&T to create a new operating system called A/UX. A/UX was based on UNIX System V, and it was designed to run on Apple’s Macintosh hardware. However, the system was not very successful, and it was eventually discontinued.
In the late 1980s, Apple made another attempt to create a UNIX-based operating system. This time, the company decided to create its own operating system from scratch. The project was led by Jean-Louis Gassée, who was then the head of Apple’s product development division. The new operating system was called “Pink,” and it was designed to be a modern, object-oriented operating system that could run on a wide range of hardware. However, the project was beset by technical and organizational challenges, and it eventually ran out of funding.
In 1996, Apple acquired NeXT, a software company founded by Steve Jobs after he left Apple in 1985. NeXT’s operating system, called NeXTSTEP, was based on UNIX and was highly regarded for its technical capabilities. Apple used NeXTSTEP as the basis for its new operating system, which was initially called Mac OS X Server 1.0. The first public release of Mac OS X, version 10.0, was released in 2001.
Since its initial release, macOS has undergone numerous changes and improvements. In 2007, with the release of Mac OS X Leopard (version 10.5), Apple introduced a new programming interface called Cocoa. Cocoa is based on Objective-C and is designed to make it easier for developers to create software for macOS. Another significant change came with the release of macOS Sierra (version 10.12) in 2016, which introduced Siri to the Mac. Siri is Apple’s virtual assistant and can be used to perform various tasks, such as searching the web, setting reminders, and sending messages.
Over the years, macOS has also seen changes to its user interface. The most notable change came with the release of macOS X Yosemite (version 10.10) in 2014, which introduced a flatter and more modern design. This design was further refined in later versions of macOS, including macOS Big Sur (version 11). Today, macOS remains one of the most popular operating systems in the world, used by millions of people on Macintosh hardware. The system’s UNIX-based underpinnings continue to provide a powerful and flexible foundation for developers and users alike.  


Abdullah As-Sadeed
Abdullah As-Sadeed

Prefers coding from scratch. Loves the Linux kernel.

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