Apple Offers A Peek At Next-Generation OS

The crowd on hand for a Macworld Expo keynote address by Apple boss
Steve Jobs burst into applause as the company's chief executive
officer showed off buttons sculpted in translucent colors and
application windows that cast shadows on the objects behind them.

Jobs pledged that the new version of Apple's desktop operating
system - called OS X (as in "ten") - will reach final beta testing
this spring. Copies should be available for sale later in the
summer, he said, with all new systems being shipped with the
operating system by January of 2001.

With enhancements such as color coding instead of iconic symbols
for the buttons that open and close application windows, the interface is known as Aqua. There are also more substantial elements of OS X, such as the Darwin core OS and Cocoa object-oriented programming environment. Jobs said that at the heart of Darwin is the Mach 3.0 microkernel
from Carnegie-Mellon University and FreeBSD 3.2. And he was careful to point out that FreeBSD "is the same as Linux," the open-source
operating system that is propelling such companies as Red Hat Inc. to stock-market stardom.

"It's the best plumbing of any operating system out there," he said.

Like other Unix-related systems, Jobs said, OS X is built from the
ground up for internetworking, while the new interface will make
using the Internet easier. As an example, Jobs demonstrated the
system's prowess in automatically displaying e-mail attachments, a
chore that often baffles new users today.

The Mac Finder navigation interface for OS X can be configured to
run as in previous releases - such as the current OS 9 - or permit
navigation through a single window with Web-browser-like forward
and back buttons.

Jobs also demonstrated OS X's 2D graphics layer - called Quartz.
Based on PDF (portable document format), the graphics system offers
rendering of PostScript images on the fly.

For 3D graphics, OS X implements OpenGL application programming
interface, while the media layer is provided by Apple's QuickTime
technology. "And it's all seamlessly integrated into the operating
system," he said.

A revamped Apple Web site launched on the heels of Jobs' speech can
be found at

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