Author Topic: What makes the classic Mac OS so interesting?  (Read 9340 times)

Offline rlawson

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What makes the classic Mac OS so interesting?
« on: January 30, 2013, 06:57:33 AM »
Sorry for the open ended question, but I often have a hard time explaining to people why my home office is full of old Macs. I have system 6-9 up and running. Now I recognize all the technical faults of the classic Mac OS, I am a professional programmer who works mainly on Linux/Unix/Solaris so I know the limitations of OS 9. What I have a hard time putting my finger on is why it is so compelling to use. I'd rather fire up AppleWorks on my indigo imac and do my correspondence rather than MS Word or OpenOffice. When I program for fun, I often play around with hypercard. There was a sense of fun, of playfulness that is not even there on OSX (in my mind anyway). OS X is much more capable and polished of course.

Do you think it's just a function of age? Maybe I like the classic OS so much because that was what I enjoyed most in my youth? Or is there some quality that the classic Mac OS got right that hasn't been duplicated?

Offline Mat

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Re: What makes the classic Mac OS so interesting?
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2013, 04:31:40 AM »
Of course one point is that Mac OS gives you some "secure feeling" because you used it in your youth. But there is a - in my opinion never again reached - quality:

1) Mac OS provides the most perfect "illusion" an UI ever got.
For examplee, a "Icon" with a file somewhere "IS" your file - not any link or something. The desktop is your computer. The Finder is not recognised as Finder or a program, it "IS" the Mac.

2) The Spatial Browser.
Things are where you put them, and programs/files do not appeare several times.

John Siracusa described all this in very good words in 2003: http://arstechnica.com/apple/2003/04/finder/

What is another point for me, is that Mac OS 9 (8.6 a little bit more, but it lacks some important parts like language kits, ...) is extremely snappy. Due to the cooperative multitasking it is - for desktops - the most reactive OS ever. Whenever I sit a an (GUI) Linux computer, I ask myselve what the hell is goin on there. My G4 800 with 9.2.2 is much more reactive an quicker in GUI usage than every Gnome at any recent Quadcore. And I don

Offline rlawson

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Re: What makes the classic Mac OS so interesting?
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 06:41:23 AM »
Yes, I think this is the most powerful point!
Of course I know there are such things, but through the easyness of Control Panels and Preferences I have as user the possibility to understand everything, and control it.
The classic Mac OS allows the user to be in control in a very intuitive way. I have the same level of control (or more) on my Linux server but I need to be familiar with run levels, and the scripts in init.d and where my apache config files are, and what user apache is running as and what group it belongs too, etc. On the classic Mac I had a nice parade of extensions come across the bottom of my screen every time I booted and I knew I could find the extension and it's corresponding control panel. It made it so much more "real" to the average user.

Offline Ari

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Re: What makes the classic Mac OS so interesting?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 09:29:13 PM »
Personally, I love the Classic fonts and Platinum interface. Most Classic apps look better and are much nicer to use than on any other OS IMO ;).

It's easily configurable and flexible, and system files can be found extremely easy. I haven't seen anything like the "System Folder" in any other OS so far.

I like Apple's designs from the Classic era more, as well :).

Offline rlawson

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Re: What makes the classic Mac OS so interesting?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2013, 06:48:54 AM »
I agree, I think the Platinum look and the overall OS design struck the best balance between attractiveness and usability.

Offline Mat

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Re: What makes the classic Mac OS so interesting?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2013, 06:32:38 AM »
Of course the look of Platinum is pne part of the identity of Mac OS 9. Perhaps i would have given X another try if Platinum would have been included, but I doubt, as the first installation at a Newworld G3 took 23 hours! ;)

But remember that changing the look & feel is no huge thing with 9 as well.  Including "Coela" the UI experiance comes near to the recent Macs.

I am not sure that Platinum is really the importnat point. Have you read the "spacial" story?

Offline DieHard

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Re: What makes the classic Mac OS so interesting?
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2013, 12:01:35 AM »
I personally believe the "interesting" part of Mac OS cannot simply be described by it's functionality or its comparison to other Operating Systems; many of us can identify on an intangible level the thrill that Mac OS gives us as a user.  Perhaps, it is connected to our youth... but I used many systems in my youth and none came close to Mac OS... it always makes me want to dive deeper and experiment,  and I get a sense of satisfaction feeling like I am in control of my computer and that it is working for me as opposed to the confusion and frustration I feel when an operating system does not produce the results I imagined.

Offline Chefsessel

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Re: What makes the classic Mac OS so interesting?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2013, 10:06:59 AM »
You might be on to something. While the MacOS might have some advantages (even over today's OS) it is the familiarity and ease of use that makes it so appealing to me. Remember when computing was all fun? That's what I associate with the Mac OS.

Offline MacTron

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Re: What makes the classic Mac OS so interesting?
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2013, 12:43:33 PM »
In a word: charm.
I subscribe all said above. I use and I have used several operating systems, for internet navigation, video watching, hearing music etc, all do it well, some even better. But for art and creation, lets say, graphics, music or what ever you want, the classic Mac Os is the best.
Even running in low hardware power for today standars, the simplicity of the classic Mac Os and some unique features makes this computers unsurpassed.
Art inspire art.


Sorry for my bad English.
Please don't PM about things that are not private.

Offline DieHard

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Re: What makes the classic Mac OS so interesting?
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2013, 09:47:56 AM »
I kind of agree with "Art" and "Inspiring"... To me it is the only "Art" Operating System and it is surely "Inspiring"

Offline OS_XI

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Re: What makes the classic Mac OS so interesting?
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2013, 01:42:07 PM »
I like Mac OS 9, (1-9) and I started using the Mac OS (X) in 2006, 4 years after Steve Jobs held a funeral for OS 9. :'(
« Last Edit: May 02, 2013, 05:48:53 PM by OS_XI »