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Mac's new look

By JULES ALLEN

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 2, 2000


photo
Click for larger look at Aqua
This shot of the Aqua user interface for Mac OS X shows the new Finder surrounded by new and old calculators, the Dock and desktop preferences panel, the process list and the Dock, at the bottom.

Here are some of the new features of the Mac OS X beta:

* * *

AQUA USER INTERFACE: A radical departure from the old Mac interface. The familiar Finder has changed, and the Apple menu has disappeared. I like the new look a lot, and it took only a short time to get used to.

DARWIN: Apple's code name for the open source, free software-based core that powers OS X. It's Unix under the hood but, thankfully, you don't have to know about it to get rock-solid stability benefits.

CLASSIC APPLICATION COMPATIBILITY: You'll be able to run most of your Mac software under an emulation layer known as Classic. Popular applications run without problems, but some older Mac programs may not.

SMP: Symmetrical Multiprocessing is the ability to use more than one CPU, or the central processing unit at the heart of a computer, at a time. OS X is the first Mac operating system to offer this feature. Currently there are only two models of the Power Mac G4 that will take advantage of this.

A look at the test version of Apple's new operating system shows it is slick, stable and RAM-hungry. Story
JAVA 2: Java performance on the Mac has been spotty at best. Java allows programmers to write one version of a program and have it run on many different computing architectures. It's best known for applets, those Web browser-based embedded programs that add features to Web pages. The Mac lagged behind the Unix and Windows worlds until OS X.

OPENGL AND QUARTZ 2-D: Graphics wonks will salivate over these additions. OpenGL allows OS X to do very fast, very intense 3-D graphics at blisteringly fast speeds. Quartz is a derivative of Adobe's PDF technology and is used, among other things, to enhance the user interface.

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