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12 May 1998

Yesterday, Steve Jobs opened Apple's WWDC with an explanation of Apple's software strategy for the next year. As predicted, Rhapsody and the Mac OS will be merged through a transparent Blue Box. This new operating system, named Mac OS X (pronounced "ten"), will use many of the same API's already present in Mac OS 8. Essentially, Apple has found 2000 API's which were preventing the implementation of modern OS features such as protected memory and multitasking and has announced that they will be eliminated. The remaining 6000 API's are called "Carbon" by Steve Jobs since "all life we be based of it."

Current Mac OS 8 applications will continue to be able to run on Mac OS X through the transparent Blue Box, but will be unable to take advantage of the new OS features until they go through a 10% "tune up" to make them Carbon-kosher (our own term, do you like it?). Jobs explained that most applications are already 90% comatiable with Carbon and that rewriting a few API's would be leagues easier than expecting developers to rewrite their entire programs for Rhapsody. Jobs then demonstrated a few applications, including the just-released Photoshop 5 running in a carbon environment. A "bad" application was run in order to show that one app's crash wouldn't bring down the whole system.

Like Rhapsody, Mas OS X will be based on a Mach kernel and will feature protected memory, preemptive multitasking, multi-threading, advanced virtual memory not based on fixed-sized heaps, faster networking (200 Mbps ethernet), and faster file I/O. [Mac Resource]

As usual, these answers only beg more questions. What does this mean for the Yellow Box and object oriented programming? Is Rhapsody dead and Mac OS X is really the resurrected "Copland"? Stay tuned, we will try to find some answers tomorrow. . .


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