Mac OS X was first made available to the general public on 24 March, 2001 and ten years later we are about to get the seventh iteration of the software which drastically changed the fortunes of Apple.
The first appearance of the OS was six months earlier when a beta version of Mac OS X (codenamed internally as Cheetah) was put out. The revolutionary operating system came about as a result of Apple’s purchase of NeXT, which also heralded the return of Steve Jobs to the Apple fold. The Mac OS X was essentially a re-skinned version of NeXT’s OpenStep OS – which interestingly was written for Intel CPUs which at the time led many to foretell Apple’s eventual move to the x86 architecture and away from PowerPCs (though it didn't happen until 2005).
Replacing Mac OS 9 (later called Classic Mac OS), the new OS saw some new innovations which are still with us today, such as the traffic light controls on windows, a System Preferences panel, a column view for windows and the Apple menu for system-wide options. Since Cheetah we’ve had more feline goodness from Puma (2001), Jaguar (2002), Panther (2003), Tiger (2005), Leopard (2007) and most recently Snow Leopard (2009). In total there have been some 56 updates, minor and major since Mac OS X was first launched in 2001. Currently we’re on 10.6.7 but we’re awaiting Mac OS X Lion (10.7) due this summer and which went out to developers last month.
As Apple celebrates the tenth anniversary of its operating system, one man who has had a lot of influence in developing that software has decided he’s had enough. Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s senior vice president of Mac Software Engineering, will be leaving the company Apple announced this week. “I’ve worked with Steve for 22 years and have had an incredible time developing products at both NeXT and Apple, but at this point, I want to focus less on products and more on science”, he said.
Serlet joined Apple in 1997, and has been involved in the definition, development and creation of Mac OS X. Before joining Apple, Serlet spent four years at Xerox PARC, then joined NeXT in 1989. Craig Federighi, Apple’s vice president of Mac Software Engineering, will assume Serlet’s responsibilities and will be responsible for the development of Mac OS X and has been managing the Mac OS software engineering group for the past two years.