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Washington Post: The Next Generation of the Mac: X

Oct 06, 2000, 12:21 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Rob Pegoraro)

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"...The Aqua interface is wonderfully slick. Minimize an open window, and it swooshes down into the Dock, the catch-all receptacle that rides at the bottom of the screen. Default buttons pulse on and off in a cool shade of blue. Dock icons smoothly swell up as you sweep the cursor over them, then shrink when you move on. Transparency and shadow effects give a sense of depth to the desktop."

"And it runs without the usual interruptions. One program can no longer monopolize your Mac, and you can launch as many programs as you want without worrying about memory allocations. And if an application does blow up, it expires without taking out any other applications. (Not that OS X itself is immune to crashing; a system restart on Wednesday caused a "kernel panic," which hurled down error alerts on the screen for several minutes.)"

"The benefits of protected memory (what keeps one program from wiping out others) and preemptive multitasking (what lets your computer run multiple applications without tripping over itself) are not new to Mac hardware. The Be OS was running on Macs way back in 1996, and several versions of Linux have offered that for the past two years. I've been using one of these distributions, LinuxPPC, on and off at home since this summer. LinuxPPC is fast, stable and customizable as heck, not to mention cheap--just $20 for the CD-ROM and documentation."

"But its rat's-nest directory structure is nothing a Mac user would feel at home in. Nor can it easily run existing Mac software. Nor does it look remotely like a Mac. The very sense of accomplishment you feel in learning to drive Linux is a profound shift from the Mac ideal of frictionless computing."

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