Chapter 1. The Mac OS X Environment


  • How the Mac OS X operating system is structured, including what the major areas of the system are and how they work together

  • How to use Mac OS X's command-line interface

  • How applications take advantage of the operating system services on Mac OS X

  • How Apple encourages a common look and feel for Mac OS X applications

Welcome to the wonderful world of Mac OS X, the next-generation operating system from Apple Computer!

The Mac OS X operating system powers modern Macintosh computers. After many long years and a few scrapped attempts to modernize the older Mac OS operating system, Apple released Mac OS X in April 2001. Since then, Apple has released a steady stream of upgrades and system updates. This book was written around Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard, the latest version.

To write software for Mac OS X, you need to know your way around the system. By now you may already be familiar with Mac OS X's applications and user interface style. Those things all rest on top of a number of subsystems and services that make up the Mac OS X operating system.


What comes to mind when you think of Mac OS X? Is it the applications you use? Perhaps you recall Mac OS X's distinctive user interface? Or maybe you think of Mac OS X's stability? In truth, Mac OS X embodies all these things.

The Mac OS X operating system is often described as a collection of layers, as seen in Figure 1-1.

Figure 1.1. FIGURE 1-1

You are probably ...

Get Beginning, Mac OS® X Snow Leopard™ Programming now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.