OS 9 vs OS X

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Joined: Aug 18 2004
Posts: 5

Hi all. I'm not sure if this is the right spot to post this but...

I'm curious about exactly what are the advantages of using OS X over OS 9? Let me explain my question a bit.

I ask this because I regularly use both 9 and X, and frequently switch back and forth or use "classic" mode. I know that OS X is based on Unix and OS 9 is a descendent of the original Mac system software, that they have entirely different code sets, yadda, yadda, yadda. I'm thinking more along the lines of day-to-day user interface and usability.

I know that X has "protected memory", keeping one program crash from crashing the whole system. And of course OS X has modern web browsers (that handle Flash & javascript stuff well) and multi-media stuff (DVD rip/encode/burn and QT 7 spring to mind) that OS 9 just can't handle. But OS 9 can't handle the modern web stuff & multi-media stuff because programs haven't been developed for it, iCab being the notable exception but still behind the curve.

Other than this, OS 9 gives me great multi-tasking with an awesome interface that is hugely skinnable. I find it rarely crashes, and when it does it usually (for me) is either because of some flash/java riddled website that chokes the browser or some problem with MS Office. I love the OS X dock and the column view for finder windows, and use A-dock and Greg's Browser to give me these in OS 9.

And there are still programs from OS 9 that I can't find a great replacement for:
1. SuperPaint - so simple to use, yet gives me some great options for editing my graphics.
2. Claris Home Page - simple, wysiwyg HTML editor.
3. CricketGraph - the ability to do recursive curve fits with two clicks is un-beatable.

So I find myself *wanting* to switch completely over to OS X, but not being able to fully *justify* it in my head. Am I alone in this? Anyone else out there who still uses "classic" programs because they find them easier than the OS X version of things?

But back to my original question - other than protected memory, what true advancements have been added to OS X over OS 9 that make OS X a "modern" operating system? Please don't say "dashboard widgets", "expose", or "fast user switching". To me, those are just little programs that have been tacked onto the system (like 3rd-party extensions, control panels and hypercard stacks used to be). Also, it doesn't address the question directly. It talks about the latest "tricks" (for lack of a better word) that you can do in OS X, without talking about the underlying framework that lets those "tricks" happen. Why couldn't they happen in OS 9, but can in X? In the case of "expose", I suspect it's only because noone ever developed an extension for OS 9 that did that.

My systems:
Home: PM G4 (Sawtooth) 1.2GHz/1GB RAM/3 x 80GB HDs/DVD-RW and a
PB Pismo G3 400MHZ/512MB RAM/40GB HD/DVD, both computers with OS 9.22 and OS X.3.9;
Work: iMac G3 450MHz/512MB Ram/20GB HD/DVD with OS 9.22 (I am a high school math & physics teacher).

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coius's picture
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Joined: Aug 25 2004
Posts: 1975
I find the windowing system best

without having to open one window after another, it goes through them in one window. it's nice, especially for the column view. Another thing is the side bar on the windows provide excellent ways to get to preset locations (home, documents, etc)
RSS feed support in FireFox 2.0 and Safari 2 are REALLY useful in what I do. Also, the system prefs is a lot easier to use than going through the control panels in OS 9
Encryption, is almost a must if working with sensative data. File vault excrypts ALL the files on your user account.

The other thing is just Use Classic mode. You won't have to give up OS 9. Just have it run at login. That's what it was designed for. And there is even protected memory in classic mode.

You don't have to completely switch (i still use OS 9), all you have to do is run a stripped down OS 9 folder to use under OS X.

If you want to go OS X, get panther. Tiger is too bloated (think 10.2 all over again) and even performs slowely on my G4 iBook 1.2Ghz w/ 768MB Ram. IMHO, it's not worth it, and I finally put it back in it's box and put in on a shelf. I am now running 10.3 on ALL of my macs.

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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 105
Actually having a usable mac

Actually having a usable machine while something CPU heavy is going on in the background. I loved OS9 when I used it, but one of my issues was running a big set of PS actions across an image, and while *technically* being able to go do something else, finding basic things like typing into an IRC channel, or browsing a site were so painful that it may as well have not been multitasking at all.

The protected memory works well for me too. Back on OS9, I found i could avoid complete system crashes if I carefully selected the apps I used, or made sure I didn't use certain combinations of apps - and while that worked, it was a workaround to get past the deficiencies of the OS, something I no longer have to do in OSX.

Add to that a *ix underbelly that I'm comfortable working with, and you have three big reasons I use OSX as my main OS =).

I do prefer the *look* of standard OS9, though.

Dana

Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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Joined: Jan 20 2005
Posts: 1434
It's the internet, babe

I just recently made the commitment to OS X earlier this year after I got tired of non-rendering web pages in OS 9. Before that I'd dabble in X but returned to the comfortable old shoe of OS 9. But you just have to face facts, it's an internet world and OS 9 doesn't do the modern internet. It's been left behind. That's the main reason I've found to stay in X. Yeah, my Photoshop 7 has a few more tricks than my Photoshop 6, and likewise with all the other programs that I used in 9 that are now upgraded for X, and X itself has an assortment of nice tricks it can do, and there are moments when you really realize it's power, like in transferring files and searching, but it's the online stuff with X that I can't live without, plain and simple. I suppose it all has to do with what you use your computer for. And the truth is, I still have my PM 9600 with it's 450G4 and Ultra SCSI harddrives and OS 9.2.2 setup on another desk I like to sit at and work and still do all the things I've always done on computers like graphics and filemaker and word processing and watching DVD's and television, and OS 9 seems to have a certain zip that I miss in OS X--but that may actually just be an illusion--maybe just all those rounded corners in X as opposed to 9's sharp edges and corners. But in the end, it's the internet and security. Firefox 2 is a lovely thing. I couldn't live without it now.

I actually prefer the old Apple menu to the dock, though. My old Apple menu was always neatly and understandably arranged with folders and had many more items that way than I can keep comfortably in the dock. In X I spend more time than I like opening up a window and then going to Applications and then searching for an app. In OS 9, the alias would be sitting in one of my Apple menu folders, even if it was a rarely used app. Zip, zap, I'm there. And I could also put a folder with aliases to a long assortment of important work folders and files under the apple if I wanted. It was a much better system than the dock for me. And the dock gets in the way, whether you've got hiding turned on or off, it's just annoyingly in the way. No problem like that with the Apple menu.
And I also miss the movable trash can!

gobabushka's picture
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Joined: Apr 26 2004
Posts: 494
meh...

for a while last year, i spent about a month using nothing but os 9. i loved it! i was forced to use it because i couldn't use X on my Umax, and the dvd drive died in my pismo. So what I did was boot the os 9 installer from a usb cd drive. For the most part, I was very happy with os 9. The only problem with it was, like everybody says, using the internet. I think that I used an old version of mozilla. I tried iCab, but i really wasn't impressed. It could do anything that I needed it to do. But I switched back to 10.4 and its not too bad.

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jman's picture
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Joined: Nov 30 2005
Posts: 147
two sides to every story

I think when it comes down to it they are both pretty good.
mac os 9 is not complex and makes little use of the prosser
but mac os 10 is more windows friendly and that is the way computers is
going no one system is the best to everyone the one that fit the user is the best (reminds me of the constant debate over the wii and ps3 I am xbox all the way) so that is my option on it

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madmax_2069's picture
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Joined: Sep 24 2005
Posts: 664
i have both 9.2.2 and tiger i

i have both 9.2.2 and tiger installed on my Beige G3 AIO in my sig. and they both have there faults and good points. like how OS 9.x supports the wings AV card in the beige and OS X dont even the latest version of OS X on the Beige G3 dont support the AV wings card that are in most of the Beige G3 systems. some have the wisper card but only basic funtions are supported in OS X on any of the personality cards. the Beige G3 AIO shows more of this mishaps of OS X than any other of the Beige G3 system's cause it has more stuff hooked to the card that OS X dont support of only has half way support for it. but i love tiger and i love useing OS 9.x just as muxh as OS X

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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 85
Look, I'm no programmer, but

Look, I'm no programmer, but unless you are, it's all very easy to say 'that doesn't exist for System xyz merely because no one has bothered to do it'. The real reason something can come into existence is if the system software provides an environment that makes it easy to write code.
Expose can exist because there is a way of dealing with windows and graphics that isn't there in OS 9. In order to write it, it would be a major project. Because of how OS 9 works, many pieces of software would then be at risk when it was running, whereas OS X has some fundamental components that make this kind of stuff much easier to implement.

In addition, no user interface is complete, or ever customizable enough. I noticed that you could run a few productivity enhancing utilities at the same time on OS 9, but eventually some wouldn't 'play nice' and they would cause a freeze. The OS didn't prevent this from happening. In OS X, you can pile on the utilities/enhancements like there's no tomorrow without any ill effects. I've seen combinations like this : Quicksilver, Butler, MenuMeters, YahooWidgetManager, MaxMenus, various Unsanity haxies such as WindowShade, GeekTool, MondoMouse, nuLooq ToolDial, CopyPaste (running yType) all on while the Mac burns a DVD, or plays one, while Photoshop, InDesign, Adium, X-Chat, iTunes, Firefox, Entourage, DevonThink Pro, FileMaker Pro, the Finder with 5+ mounted servers (while copying data to one), Remote Desktop Connection and so on, are running in the background. OS X handles it all with ease. There is no way that could happen on OS 9 without the operating system missing someone's glitch and bringing the whole thing to an unrecoverable halt.

Fast User Switching isn't really a bolt-on to the system, it's a pleasant way of dealing with a proper multi-user operating system.

As for the older software, yes sometimes they don't make 'em like they used to. I used SuperPaint and CricketPaint, but I don't see how they are much different from AppleWorks' Draw Layer and Paint Layer. Besides now the Adobe apps are blurring the line between raster and vector graphics, and they can be combined in interesting ways with their Smart Objects feature. Home Page might be easy to use but limits the kind of sites you can build. I can't really speak about CricketGraph's successor as it's not my area of expertise. I kind of lost track after DeltaGraph Pro came out.

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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 85
Re: It's the internet, babe

Hawaii Cruiser wrote:

it's an internet world and OS 9 doesn't do the modern internet. It's been left behind.

I think I posted elsewhere, it's more like the internet has forgotten its roots, and no one that makes web sites is given the time or resources to cater for anything less than the absolute latest systems. In the older days, webmasters used to make a high- and low- bandwidth version of their sites, and offer some backwards compatibility. Now they just say "too bad, latest or nothing" and shut out many users by doing so. This is progress? In Cuba they are still driving cars from the 50s!

Hawaii Cruiser wrote:

I actually prefer the old Apple menu to the dock, though. My old Apple menu was always neatly and understandably arranged with folders and had many more items that way than I can keep comfortably in the dock. In X I spend more time than I like opening up a window and then going to Applications and then searching for an app. In OS 9, the alias would be sitting in one of my Apple menu folders, even if it was a rarely used app. Zip, zap, I'm there. And I could also put a folder with aliases to a long assortment of important work folders and files under the apple if I wanted. It was a much better system than the dock for me. And the dock gets in the way, whether you've got hiding turned on or off, it's just annoyingly in the way. No problem like that with the Apple menu.
And I also miss the movable trash can!

It's a pity you missed out on some of the material floating around when 10.0 came out; lots of ways to make X behave like 9. Apple intended for you to make a folder of aliases and subfolders, then add that folder to the dock; when you control-clicked on it, you get a faux Apple menu back (except it's upside-down). Other utils like TigerMenu, X-Assist, youControl and FruitMenu will get you where you want to go. There are also hacks to make a folder on the desktop into a proper Trash can, so you can get the movable can back. I'm not sure if it changes icons for filled/empty state though. Ah I could talk about GUIs for hours!

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tachyon
Wannabe modder without the carpentry skills.
Mac devotee since 1986