Mac OS X: The Complete Reference


A complete guide to all the new features of Mac OS X. Written by experienced author and Mac expert Jesse Feiler,this reference will show both new and current power users how to get the most out of this powerful new operating system.

The Most Authoritative Book Available on Apple's New Operating System Take Apple's most stable,advanced,operating system to unprecedented heights with the help of this full-coverage resource. Learn how this completely new operating system leverages ...

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A complete guide to all the new features of Mac OS X. Written by experienced author and Mac expert Jesse Feiler,this reference will show both new and current power users how to get the most out of this powerful new operating system.

The Most Authoritative Book Available on Apple's New Operating System Take Apple's most stable,advanced,operating system to unprecedented heights with the help of this full-coverage resource. Learn how this completely new operating system leverages powerful,core technologies like Java and Unix,while building upon the famously friendly Macintosh interface. Take advantage of Mac's renowned networking capabilities,rock-solid system architecture,and best-in-class graphics support. From Darwin,the open source core of Mac OS X to Aqua,the elegant,surprisingly simple user interface,Mac OS X: The Complete Reference elucidates every facet of this stunningly smart operating system,guiding you to a rich,productive,and entertaining Mac OS X experience.

  • Navigate effortlessly in Aqua—the fluid,fresh,state-of-the-art user interface
  • Use the revolutionary Dock to organize and access everything from documents to applications to streaming video
  • Save and exchange documents over networks using the Mac OS X pdf-based graphic architecture and file sharing
  • Store,organize,and retrieve files more easily than ever through Aqua's completely reconfigured Finder
  • Send and receive mail with the Mail application—plus create documents,databases,and presentations with AppleWorks
  • Develop and deploy applications in Classic,Carbon,or Cocoa development environments
  • Maximize your Internet experience with features likeSherlock,iTools,and support for a wide array of protocols
  • Use AppleScript,Mac OS X services,and the command line to increase your productivity
  • Implement even richer graphics with built-in support for portable and consistent visual effects,multimedia,and more
  • Understand pre-emptive multitasking,symmetric multiprocessing,and protected memory for virtually crash-proof computing
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A timely and complete reference for OS X is in order. Maria Langer's Mac OS X (Computer Media, LJ 7/01) faltered, but Feiler has come through. He clearly covers a range of concepts, including the Aqua interface, networking, applications, and, surprisingly, programming OS X with Carbon and Cocoa (see above). This volume lives up to its name--the programming aspect is a nice bonus. Highly recommended for libraries catering to Mac users. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780072126631
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne
  • Publication date: 6/28/2001
  • Series: Complete Reference Series
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 763
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 1.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Jesse Feiler is Software Director of Philmont Software Mill; he has served as manager, software developer, consultant, author, and speaker for organizations such as Apple Computer, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Young & Rubicam, and Prodigy.

Jesse's books include end-user guides, such as Database-Driven Web Sites (AP Professional, 1999); Managing the Web-Based Enterprise (Morgan Kaufmann, 2000); FileMaker Pro 4 and the World Wide Web (FileMaker Press, 1999); ClarisWorks: The Internet, New Media, and Paperless Documents (Clans Press, 1997); Cyberdog: The Complete Guide to Apple's Internet Productivity Technology (AP Professional, 1996); and two books on the Y2K problem (AP Professional, 1998 and IDG Books, 1999). He also has written a variety of books geared toward developers, including Mac OS X Developer's Guide (Morgan Kaufmann, 2001), Real World Apple Guide (M&T Books, 1995); and Perl 5 Programmers Notebook (Prentice-Hall PTR, 1999).

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Introducing Mac OS X

This chapter consists of three parts. In the first, you will see how Mac OS X evolved; in the second, there is a brief introduction to what Mac OS X looks like. In the third part, you will find an overview of what Mac OS X does. The next chapter provides you with an introduction to Aqua, the user interface of Mac OS X. Chapter 3 completes the first part of this book. In it you will find a description of how Mac OS X works-how the concepts described in this chapter are actually implemented.

The evolution of an operating system influences the product you have installed on your computer and the way it works. Operating system technology is almost half a century old now; it has not started from scratch each time a new one has been built. Learning from the successes and failures of other operating systems helps engineers work with hardware and software developers to provide you with the most powerful and useful operating system possible. The extensive roots that Mac OS X has in some of the most important operating systems-Unix, Mach, and Mac OS 9 and earlier-help make it strong, amazingly powerful, and as user friendly as you expect from a Macintosh operating system.

The preview of Mac OS X in action that you will find in the second part of this chapter introduces you to what your computer will look like as you run this new operating system. Many more details are provided in Chapter 2.

Some of the most important features of Mac OS X are discussed in this chapter. They work behind the scenes to improve the power and reliability of your Macintosh. Terms such as "symmetric multiprocessing" and "protected memory" are not marketing fluff or meaningless jargon. They describe aspects of Mac OS X that set it apart from previous operating systems on the Macintosh and on other personal computers and that make your computer and you more productive. This chapter helps you understand these terms and why they are important. Then, for most of the rest of the book, most of them will remain in the background just as the concepts remain in the background of Mac OS X as you use your computer.

The Evolution of Mac OS X

In 1984, the original Macintosh personal computer had no hard disk drive (few computers did in those ancient days). When you wanted to run a program, you popped in a floppy disk, turned the computer on, and went to work. The floppy disk contained a minimum of three files:
  • System This was the basic operating system and was located in the System Folder. It interacted with additional operating system code that was loaded into read-only memory (ROM) each time you turned the computer on.
  • Finder This program managed the desktop; it was the software that let you drag folders around, rename them, and move them to the trash. It, too, was located in the System Folder.
  • Application program This was MacWrite, MacDraw, or early versions of Word, Excel, and other programs.
In those days, you ran one program at a time. The operating system helped the application program use the printer and optional add-on disk drives, but it did not have to worry about managing multiple programs. This made sense because the computers did not have enough resources to run more than one program at a time.

Resources on the early personal computers were expensive and scarce. For example, floppy disks on the Macintosh in 1984 held about 400 kilobytes (KB) of data. By contrast, the System System file alone is over 13 megabytes (MB) in size and the Finder is over 2 MB. (A megabyte is 1,000 times the size of a kilobyte.) Those two files alone would take up nearly 40 old-style floppy disks. (Because of the change in architecture from System 9 to Mac OS X, a comparison of System 9, rather than Mac OS X, to the original file sizes is appropriate.) Today, in an era of multigigabyte-sized hard disks, concern over the file size of an operating system is much lower on the list of priorities for developers than it was fifteen years ago. Likewise, in an era in which 64 and 128 megabytes of memory are standard on most computers, the concerns about memory resources used by an operating system are less serious than they were in the past.

Original Macintosh Operating System Architecture

As described at the time, there were six components to the original Macintosh environment:
  • Hardware This was the computer itself and the printer or modem that might have been attached to it.
  • Macintosh Operating System This ROM-based code managed memory, input/output, and serial communications (such as to a modem or a network).
  • QuickDraw This set of routines was used to manage graphics.
  • Pascal and Assembler These were the programming tools available at the time.
  • User Interface Toolbox These routines managed windows, menus, and other aspects of the interface.
  • Application programs MacWrite and MacDraw-basic word processing and graphics programsshipped with the first Macintosh computers. Other early programs were Excel (the spreadsheet) FileMaker, and later HyperCard.
The first two components were implemented in the hardware and memory, QuickDraw and the User Interface Toolbox were implemented in the System file and in memory, and application programs were implemented in their own files.


Most of the routines in memory were implemented in ROM-customized chips that were installed in the computer. Some lesser-used functions were stored in the System file and loaded into RAM-standard memory-as needed. Over time, the customized ROM chips were replaced with an operating system that was loaded totally into RAM, but that did not happen until the late 1990s.

Operating system architecture is frequently illustrated in layered drawings. Figure 1-1 shows the first Macintosh architecture. These drawings should be interpreted from the bottom up; each layer depends on the layers below it. Thus, the QuickDraw imaging routines are used in the User Interface Toolbox to create windows and menus. Windows and menus from the User Interface Toolbox are used in application programs. This is what gives a unified look and feel to Macintosh application programs.

The programming tools and User Interface Toolbox layers are highly interrelated. An argument can be made that those layers should be shown in reverse order-that is, with programming tools above the User Interface Toolbox. Apple's presentation of the Mac OS X architecture uses this layering sequence and for the sake of consistency, it is adopted here.

The original Macintosh architecture, which is implemented in Mac OS 9 and earlier, is referred to as the Classic Mac OS environment. Classic appears on Mac OS X so that applications written for Mac OS 9 and earlier can run under Mac OS X.

DOS Architecture

To understand why the Macintosh was so revolutionary in 1984, it is helpful to look at the architecture of DOS-the operating system that was first released in 1981. DOS (and CP/M, another operating system, which was used starting in 1975 on the very first personal computers) has a much simpler architecture, as shown in Figure 1-2....
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Table of Contents

PART I: Welcome to Mac OS X
CHAPTER 1: Introducing Mac OS X
CHAPTER 3: How Mac OS X Works
PART II: Using Mac OS X
CHAPTER 4: Working with Files
CHAPTER 5: Printing
CHAPTER 6: Setting Preferences
CHAPTER 7: Securing Your Computer
CHAPTER 8: Managing Your Computer Environment
CHAPTER 9: Getting Help
CHAPTER 10: iTools: Apple's OS Tools on the Internet
PART III: Networking
CHAPTER 11: Communicating Over a Local Area Network
CHAPTER 12: Communicating Over the Internet
CHAPTER 13: Setting Up a Network Server
CHAPTER 14: Setting Up an Internet Server
CHAPTER 15: Setting Up the Web Server
PART IV: Using Applications on Mac OS X
CHAPTER 16: Working with Applications
CHAPTER 17: Working with Services
CHAPTER 18: Using Apple Mail
CHAPTER 19: Using AppleWorks
PART V: Programming Mac OS X
CHAPTER 20: Automating Your Work with AppleScript
CHAPTER 21: Using the Command Line
CHAPTER 22: Programming Mac OS
CHAPTER 23: Classic
CHAPTER 24: Carbon
CHAPTER 25: Cocoa
(and more...)
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2001

    First in depth reference is okay

    If you can't wait to get up and running on OS X, this book will certainly help. I looked forward to this book because it is the first one available that goes beyond the basics of OS X. I got what I wanted, a primer on the unix foundation of X, so I'm satisfied. The author's competent style is easy enough to follow and he does a competent job of introducing the unix side of X. If you keep seeing the word competent, that's because that's the word that keeps coming to mind. Don't expect to be inspired or excited by the writing. The book leans strongly toward the technical side of the OS, devoting the last quarter or so to programming and apple scripting, enough to add considerable weight to the book but not enough to actually give any competence. I'd give this book 3.5 stars but round up because of the timing of publication.

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