580: Twenty Years of OS X

1 Like

This one is a little unusual, but I’m really proud of it. Hope y’all enjoy it.


Excellent review. Thank you.

1 Like

You did a great job, @ismh. You really are the Mac historian!


Super episode!!!
Missed the transition between Mavericks and Yosemite to the “flat look”. That was much talked about then.
Or maybe I overemphasize that because I bought my first Mac that year (still my main machine, mid 2014 Macbook Pro)?

Four and a half years of macOS? :upside_down_face:

I really enjoyed this history of OS X, and am glad there are two historians on staff.

I know the show would be 20 years long if all the history had been covered, but I wanted to point out a couple of things that may have, or did influence OS X:

  • The Amiga 1000
    • Released in 1985, which had preemptive multitasking, a windowing interface with moveable overlapping windows, and so many more features that people really didn’t know what to do with it at the time. (This was the time in history when a color display was equated with only playing games.)
    • All of this magic happened using a Motorola 68000 processor, 256k of RAM, and 3.5" floppies.
  • Unix, the Mach kernel, and BSD, which were the bases for NextStep and made their way into OS X. Descendants of the Mach kernel live on in all Apple devices, even WatchOS.

It certainly was different! My first Mac was during the OS X Tiger era. Boy - a lot has changed since then. All for the better. Loving Big Sur on the M1 MacBook Air

1 Like

The original Amiga (what we later called the 1000) was the largest leap in home computing power in history imho. It could literally do anything. I still have mine.


Talk about a show where @ismh would have been the #1 choice for a guest if he wasn’t already one of the hosts!


Me too! I need to get it out and check for battery leakage, etc.
I really love that inside the cover are the signatures of the people that worked on it.

Is the AHCS still going strong or doing virtual meetings in ATL?

I got to meet all the engineers and devs of the Amiga at Amiga30 a few years ago. RJ Mical, Dave Needle, etc. It was awesome. The 80s was an era when creators, devs, engineers were rock stars and you knew all of their names. Now its just a bunch of faceless people and Craig’s hair. :smiley:

Nice job on this book! (And the episode!)

A great trip down memory lane. It’s been a minute since System 6.

Thanks for the great episode! Ironically enough, I just started redesigning my personal blog to a system 2–3ish inspired theme on Saturday. The blog needs some love still, and I need to actually start posting on it, but I thought the irony was too great to not mention something. haha.


Today is the day! :partying_face:

1 Like

I don’t think people who didn’t try to use DOS computers can fully understand just how revolutionary and radical the first Mac was. When I prepared my doctorate thesis prospectus on an IBM computer in early 1984, I spent 90% of my time and energy just trying to get the word processing program to get the formatting the way I needed. No WYSIWYG, all commands, horrible.

When I saw my first 128k Mac in Minot ND in late 1984 it was love at first sight! It was miraculous what that machine could do. I bought one (and an ImageWriter) and produced newsletters (anyone remember ReadySetGo?), flyers, documents, etc. for years. In the first few years I upgraded the ram, got an external hard drive, turned it into a Mac Plus.

I can also remember getting Mac OS X for the first time. Another interface revolution! And overall, despite a few glitches along the way, the Mac interface just keeps getting better.

Even today I’m still amazed at how superior the Mac OS is to windows. Windows always looks about 25 years behind the Mac. No sense of beauty or aesthetics. It looks like it was built to be merely functional by geeks for geeks, with no real sense of art or beauty, but with some superficial artwork thrown in for marketing to the masses.


Some additional reading:


(click the :heart: if you get the reference)

1 Like

@MacSparky, my experience was very similar to what you describe in the “after show” comments.

I started using a Mac, and fell in love with it, in 1984 when I purchased my first 128K machine. I used an upgraded version of it during my 6 year Air Force active duty tours, then bought a heavy MacBook to use in law school. When I started working for a very small firm, then as a sole practitioner, I struggled as you did to use my Mac in a world dominated by PC’s.

At one point the practice management software I had built my practice on, Amicus Attorney (originally designed on a Mac), ported to the PC and then promptly dropped all support for the Mac. Those were dark days, when it appeared Apple was going down the tubes and the Mac with it. Emulation software to run PC programs on the Mac was horrible, slower than molasses and unusable.

With much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I gave up the Mac for professional use and began using a PC. Yuk! I had to buy a book (something along the line of “How to use a PC for Mac Users”) to figure out how to get things done, none of which seemed intuitive or sensible. When I changed my practice to estate planning, all of the document production software I needed to run my practice was PC.

Then around 2010 I read that Macs could now run PC software on bootcamp, and also fast emulation software like Parallels. I went down to my regional Mac reseller and asked to see this demonstrated. I was thrilled to find out it worked as advertised, and immediately purchased two 27" iMacs for use in my office. We ran the PC software in Parallels in a window on the Mac, and did everything else in Mac. And thus my love affair with the Mac was able to be renewed and continues!

I’m retired now and don’t have to use PC, but the move to silicon Macs with no boot camp would have been extremely concerning. I understand Parallels will still be able to run PC programs, so for business software I guess the needs of business customers with a need to run PC will still be met. Not so much for gaming in bootcamp.