For us Johnny-come-lateleys, life before OS X is a period of myth and legend. I bought my first Mac in 2005 so was never exposed to the pleasures of OS 9 and earlier operating systems. It came as an eye-opener, then, to read Egg Freckles’ article An Exclusive Look at Mac OS 9.
I won’t list all the things I didn’t know about OS 9, which is just about everything. What I certainly did not realise was that many of the things we now take for granted came with the lauch of OS 9 in 1999. Nor did I realise that prior to OS 9 there were no user accounts: The Mac was a free-for-all user experience. Here’s the introduction to whet your appetite:
Mac OS 9 was the final major release of Apple’s Macintosh operating system before the launch of OS X. Introduced on October 23rd, 1999, Apple positioned it as “The Best Internet Operating System Ever.” Highlights included Sherlock 2’s Internet search capabilities, Airport wireless networking, integration with Apple’s free online services known as iTools, and improved Open Transport networking.
While Mac OS 9 lacks the protected memory and full pre-emptive multitasking of OS X, lasting improvements include the introduction of an automated Software Update engine and support for multiple users.