What caused Apple to move to a unix foundation in OS X?

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
What caused Apple to move to a unix foundation in OS X?



Do you feel it was a smart move?



The move to Unix coupled with the new iMaxc G5 pushed me to make the switch. However, I have no idea why or how this was done by Apple. I am glad they did it.



Eric

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Because it was an obviously good choice?



    Apple bought NeXT (some would say NeXT managed to get Apple to pay them 400M$ for taking them over), and NeXT's OS offering was solidly on a Unix variant. Apple provided the resources for a more thorough merging with established Unix versions (NetBSD, FreeBSD, etc), and OS X was born.



    The other competitor for the buyout was Be, which had a really slick OS, no doubt about it, but it suffered from the same problem that the original Mac had - lack of compatibility with other systems. NeXT/Unix opens up an entire world of software for our use, and the rise of Linux only helps that.
  • Reply 2 of 19
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,605member
    So Steve got the last laugh with Apple in a sense? he got banished, but then years later he comes up with a superior OS and Apple uses it and brings him back. Steve rocks. If that isn't the ultimate revenge I don't want is.



    So, if Unix is the bad boy of the OS world, in 20 years, what will be the next big thing? Unix on Steroids or something else?



    Eric
  • Reply 3 of 19
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by aplnub

    So Steve got the last laugh with Apple in a sense? he got banished, but then years later he comes up with a superior OS and Apple uses it and brings him back. Steve rocks. If that isn't the ultimate revenge I don't want is.



    So, if Unix is the bad boy of the OS world, in 20 years, what will be the next big thing? Unix on Steroids or something else?



    Eric




    There's an old joke in computer programming: "We don't know what the language of the future will look like, but it will be called Fortran."



    Unix will evolve, as it has for the past 25 years. What is now considered a standard, vanilla Unix is *so* far beyond what Unix started out as that it isn't funny. It'll continue to adapt, and in 20 years we'll look back on this now and laaaauuuuuuugh....
  • Reply 4 of 19
    While OS X is great as being a consumer, UNIX-based OS, I think it really shines in the enterprise/server market. Most consumers are probably never going to open Terminal, run fsck, or compile some of the sweet apps you can get on Sourceforge, although this flexibility will probably win over some people to the Mac platform. It must have been part of Apple's strategy all along to push into the server market with the Xserve, Xserve RAID, and now soon Xsan. These products are just now emerging yet still they are receiving phenomenal praise and support from the enterprise community. Just look at Virginia Tech and the US Navy.



    I don't think Apple could have done this as smoothly and quickly (and affordably) without developing an OS with rock-solid, secure, battle-tested BSD roots. Apple always wants to be the best hardware and software maker in its industry, and having an OS based on something that's widely-known and popular helps push them into new markets. UNIX is the OS of choice of server admins and now they can use Mac OS X Server with all it's command-line, open-source goodness, yet still have the awesome, intuitive, and easy-to-use GUI that only Apple can provide. It really is the best of both worlds.
  • Reply 5 of 19
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,221member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by bborofka

    ... It must have been part of Apple's strategy all along to push into the server market with the Xserve, Xserve RAID, and now soon Xsan. ...



    How soon you forget. This was an explicit justification for the adoption the Mach-based OpenSTEP as the basis for the successor to MacOS 8. (MacOS 9 was always intended to be a transition OS.) Harken back to those days when Mac users gushed that the combination of BSD/Mach, Virtual PC, and the Blue Box--now known as Classic--would give us the most compatible OS in the world. We were right.
  • Reply 6 of 19
    toweltowel Posts: 1,479member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Mr. Me

    Harken back to those days when Mac users gushed that the combination of BSD/Mach, Virtual PC, and the Blue Box--now known as Classic--would give us the most compatible OS in the world. We were right.



    Yellow box, red box, and blue box. I do remember those days. Bad, uncertain days they were. Happier times these are.



    Why did Apple do it to begin with? They needed a "modern" OS. Something with true protected memory, true multithreading, etc. Something that wouldn't crash quite so much, and that coud easily handle the more complex tasks consumers were beginning to demand. They tried...and tried and tried...but discovered that creating an OS from scratch is really, really hard.



    Several years and several failed projects later, they went shopping. The choices were BeOS and NeXT, and thankfully, they chose NeXT. Either would have given them the core of a modern OS, but NeXT was much older and more mature, had a fabulous developers' environment, was based on UNIX, and came with Steve Jobs. In the opinion of just about everyone, they chose wisely.
  • Reply 7 of 19
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Such a fun topic!



    Modern operating systems are amoung the most ambitious human endevours ever attempted. In terms of information and employee-hours, little else comes close.



    While the data isn't readily available, I'd be fascinated with comparisons to the great pyramids or that artificial island/airport recently built in japan...



    Apple chose UNIX, but only after spending hundreds of millions on other alternatives. Did they suceed this time because of the unix underpinnings? Hard to tell... I can't wait for longhorn to finally come out. At least then, we'll have another data point. Or perhaps longhorn's numerous delays are already data points...
  • Reply 8 of 19
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    It's quickly becoming their Copland.



    WinFS is now officially being put off *past* Longhorn *Server*... they're looking at another four years before it sees market. Four years so *far*.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    dobbydobby Posts: 796member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by bborofka

    developing an OS with rock-solid, secure, battle-tested BSD roots.



    And whats wrong with System V (or System III even) over BSD?



    Dobby.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    jlljll Posts: 2,709member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dobby

    And whats wrong with System V (or System III even) over BSD?



    Dobby.




    1. money



    2. a lot of stuff in System V comes from BSD anyway (network et al)
  • Reply 11 of 19
    Quote:

    Originally posted by JLL

    1. money



    2. a lot of stuff in System V comes from BSD anyway (network et al)




    Absolutely correct, but I'd probably put that a little differently. I'd say BSD had these advantages:



    1) NEXTSTEP/OpenStep already used a 4.3BSD-Lite base (I think that's the right version), which eased changes that were needed. Probably more importantly, there was already a BSD environment integrated with Mach; not sure if such a thing existed in a SysV flavor. Time-to-market was critical.



    1a) Presumably the NeXT dev staff was more familiar with BSD as a result.



    2) Licensing. Whether proprietary (Solaris, etc.) or GPL (Linux, which is kinda SysV-ish), alternate licenses represented a potential problem for Apple, either because of cost or because of what it meant for the future licensing of OS X. With BSD, Apple was free to release source (or not) and to develop in as much of a closed or open fashion as they desired.



    3) NetBSD in particular has a lot of really highly-portable code; early versions of OS X used a lot of that userland, I think. And its cousin FreeBSD was and is generally competitive with Linux or the proprietary Unixes in terms of advanced features (not that NetBSD is a slouch either). All three of the major free BSDs have excellent security reputations.
  • Reply 12 of 19
    dobbydobby Posts: 796member
    I suppose having BSD code exempts Apple from SCO's silly 'I think I own System V' Crusade.





    Dobby.
  • Reply 13 of 19
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by aplnub

    What caused Apple to move to a unix foundation in OS X?







    They finaly got the memo...MAC/OS (classic) has been pathetic since winblows 95, so they did something about it, they got rid of the go-nowhere 1984-ish mac/os base.
  • Reply 14 of 19
    Nothing beats this article.
  • Reply 15 of 19
    r3dx0rr3dx0r Posts: 201member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by talksense101

    Nothing beats this article.



    thanks for link, a great read indeed.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,221member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by a_greer

    They finaly got the memo...MAC/OS (classic) has been pathetic since winblows 95, so they did something about it, they got rid of the go-nowhere 1984-ish mac/os base.



    Apple had been working on a System 7 replacement years before Windows 95 was a reality. Windows 95 had nothing to do with Apple's decision to go with OpenSTEP as the basis for the MacOS replacement. Do some research on Copland, the orginal MacOS 8.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Aw, he's just a PC guy, cut him some slack... (I keed! I keed!)



    That being said, a_greer, back in '84 the MacOS was considered a triumph of efficiency and elegance for the hardware it had to run on. Even cooperative multitasking made 110% sense for the time. Ever used an original Mac? The UI was fast, Snappy(tm), and responsive, just as much, if not more so, than today's Macs. And on a CPU running at what, 8MHz? With 128**kB** of RAM?



    Then the hardware performance exploded, and after a few years it didn't make as much sense to keep doing it that way.



    But for '84... it was utterly amazing. You have to remember, at the time the competitors were the Apple //e, the IBM PC/AT and the Commodore 64. The Mac was like something out of a scifi film in comparison.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    It's quickly becoming their Copland.



    Or Cairo, perhaps?
  • Reply 19 of 19
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    ...

    a triumph of efficiency and elegance for the hardware it had to run on. Even cooperative multitasking made 110% sense for the time. Ever used an original Mac? The UI was fast, Snappy(tm), and responsive, just as much, if not more so, than today's Macs. And on a CPU running at what, 8MHz? With 128**kB** of RAM?

    ...



    But for '84... it was utterly amazing. You have to remember, at the time the competitors were the Apple //e, the IBM PC/AT and the Commodore 64. The Mac was like something out of a scifi film in comparison.




    8)

    Well, some people steadily refuse to think in a more contextual sense, if this is what you intend to say

    Obviously.
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