1.2 Why Now?

Apple has shipped Macintosh computers since 1984, but my tale of the Mac OS begins with Mac OS X. Describing all of the prior releases and their features is beyond the scope of this book, but all "Classic Mac" operating systems share a common set of weaknesses, including:

  • A lack of memory protection

  • Explicit shared memory for important structures

  • An overburdened, fragile, and inadequate system-extending mechanism

  • A lack of true multiprocessing

  • An amazing legacy of cruft, including the Motorola 680x0 emulator and various other obsolete or cancelled technologies

The list could go on. Every Mac OS X installation includes a complete working copy of this Classic Mac OS, and when you launch an old-style Classic Mac OS application, you actually launch a complete working copy of this environment as a process for Mac OS X.

However, with the release of Mac OS X, Java development is finally a reality, rather than a marketing ploy or an Apple employee's pipe dream. So let's dive right into Java development on the Mac.