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System 7
Version of the classic Mac OS operating system
Screenshot of Mac OS 7.6.1
DeveloperApple Computer
OS familyMacintosh
Working stateHistoric
Source modelClosed source
Initial releaseMay 13, 1991; 32 years ago (1991-05-13)
Latest release7.6.1 / April 7, 1997; 27 years ago (1997-04-07)
PlatformsMotorola 68k series, PowerPC (since 7.1.2)
Kernel typeMonolithic (68k),
nanokernel (PowerPC)
LicenseProprietary
Preceded bySystem 6
Succeeded byMac OS 8
Official websiteMac OS Releases at the Wayback Machine (archived April 12, 1997)
TaglineIt's powerful, it's easy to use-it's the new operating system for your Macintosh.
Support status
Historical, unsupported as of May 2001

System 7 (later named Mac OS 7) is the seventh major release of the classic Mac OS operating system for Macintosh computers, made by Apple Computer. It was launched on May 13, 1991, to succeed System 6 with virtual memory, personal file sharing, QuickTime, TrueType fonts, the Force Quit dialog, and an improved user interface.[1][2]

It was codenamed "Big Bang" in development and the initial release was named "The System" or "System" like all earlier versions. With version 7.5.1, the name "Mac OS" debuted on the boot screen, and the operating system was officially renamed to Mac OS in 1997 with version 7.6. The Mac OS 7 series was current for more than six years, the longest of classic Mac OS.

Development

The Secret About Box debuted as an Easter egg in System 7.0, with the Blue Meanies credits.

Further information: Blue Meanies (Apple Computer) and Taligent

By 1988, the Macintosh had been on the market for four years. Some aspects of the operating system were beginning to fall behind competitors like Microsoft.[3]: 133  Many of the assumptions of the System software architecture were obsolete – mainly, the single-tasking model, the replacement of which had first been examined in 1986's Switcher and then replaced with MultiFinder in System 5.

In March 1988,[a][4]: XXIII–XXIV  shortly before the release of System 6, a group of senior technical staff and managers at Apple held an offsite meeting to plan the future course of Mac OS development.[3]: 96  Improvements that seemed achievable in the short term were written on blue index cards, longer-term goals like true multitasking on pink cards, and more ambitious ideas like an object-oriented file system on red cards.[3]: 96–98 [5] The blue and pink ideas proceeded in parallel teams. The Blue team nicknamed itself Blue Meanies after characters in Yellow Submarine, and released System 7 in 1991.[6][3]: 169  Pink was spun off into Taligent, Inc in 1992 within the AIM alliance with IBM.[3]: 167 

Overview

Changes

In the theme of Blue, improvements in System 7 are significant but incremental.

New features

Installation

System 7 is the first Apple operating system published on compact disc, after initial publication on a set of 15 floppy disks. Unlike earlier systems, System 7 did not come bundled with major software packages. Newly purchased Macintosh computers had System 7 installed and were often bundled with software such as HyperCard, At Ease and Mouse Practice. Later, the Macintosh Performa family added various software bundles including ClarisWorks, The New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Microsoft Bookshelf, Spectre VR and Power Pete. Since System 7 was introduced before the Internet came to popular attention, software such as MacTCP, FreePPP, and Netscape were not included at first, but was later available on disk from Internet service providers and bundled with books such as Adam C. Engst's Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh. Power Macintosh machines also included NuCalc, a graphing calculator. System 7 also includes AppleTalk networking and file-sharing software in the form of system extensions and control panels.

The basic utilities installed by default with System 7 include TeachText (which was replaced by SimpleText in later versions) for basic text editing tasks and reading readme documents. Also available on the additional "Disk Tools" floppy disk are Disk First Aid for disk repair and Apple HD SC Setup for initializing and partitioning disks.

Later versions of System 7, specifically System 7.5 and Mac OS 7.6, come with dedicated "Utilities" and "Apple Extras" folders including: AppleScript, Disk Copy, QuickDraw GX Extras and QuickTime Movie Player. More optional extras and utilities can be manually installed from the System CD.

Transition to PowerPC

System 7.1.2 is the first version of the Macintosh System Software to support Apple's new PowerPC-based computers. 68k applications that had not yet been updated to run natively on these systems were emulated transparently (without the user having to intervene) by a built-in 68k processor emulator. Fat binaries, which contained the code necessary to run natively on both PowerPC and 68k systems, became common during this time. This process was similar to the distribution of universal binaries during the Mac transition to Intel processors in 2006, as well as the Mac transition to Apple silicon beginning in 2020.

System 7.1.2 is the only release of the Macintosh operating system that boots stating "Welcome to Power Macintosh." Release 7.1.2P reverts this.[9]

PC compatibility

System 7.0 and 7.1 have a utility called Apple File Exchange, which accesses the contents of FAT- and Apple II-formatted floppy disks. Since System 7 Pro, PC Exchange is included, which allows the system to mount FAT-formatted floppy disks on the desktop like Macintosh disks. OS/2 disks can use the FAT file system. Macs can read and write UNIX file systems using extra software. System 7 accesses PC networks and uses TCP/IP and other compatible networking stacks.

Miscellaneous

System 7 has a larger memory footprint than System 6. System 6 can boot the system from a single 800k floppy disk and uses about 600 KB of RAM, whereas System 7 uses well over one megabyte. It was some time before the average Mac shipped with enough RAM built-in for System 7 to be truly comfortable. System 7 is the first system release that can no longer be usefully run on floppy-only systems. Although most Macintosh models sold at the time included a hard disk as standard equipment, owners of older models were required to upgrade their hardware by buying either a new Mac or an external SCSI hard disk drive if they wished to run System 7.

Its official system documentation, Inside Macintosh, initially shipped in three volumes, adding another to describe the changes introduced with the Mac Plus,[10] and another for the Mac II and Mac SE.[11]

System 7's virtual memory requires a Macintosh with a paged memory management unit (PMMU). The Motorola 68030 CPU has one, or one can be added to a 68020-equipped Macintosh II.

System 7.0 was adopted quite rapidly by Mac users and quickly became one of the base requirements for new software.

The engineering group within Apple responsible for System 7 came to be known as the "Blue Meanies", named after the blue index cards on which were written the features that could be implemented in a relatively short time as part of Apple's operating system strategy. In comparison, the pink index card features were handled by the Pink group, later becoming the ill-fated Taligent project.[6]

System 7.0 is the last version of the Macintosh operating system that was available at no charge and could be freely redistributed. Although System 7 could be purchased from Apple, the cost was nominal and considered to only cover duplication and media. It was common for Macintosh dealers to allow customers to use the store's demo machines to copy System 7 install disks for the cost of a box of floppies.[12] CD-ROM magazines such as Nautilus included System 7 on their disks. After Mac users downloaded thousands of copies of System 7 from the online services (AOL, CompuServe, and GEnie), Apple surveyed the services and based on this popularity started selling the Mac OS as a retail product with System 7.1. Apple continued charging for major operating system upgrades until the release of OS X Mavericks in 2013.

Version history

Soon after the initial release of System 7, the 7.0.1 minor update was released in October 1991, which updated the Portable and Brightness control panels, added the Caps Lock extension, which showed an up-pointing arrow onscreen if the Caps Lock key was depressed on PowerBooks, and added the Cache Switch control panel in additional to RAM disk and sound management optimizations for 68040 systems. Three small patches called "System 7 Tune-Up" also followed, which initially added an extension "System 7 Tuner" that improves memory management by quitting unused items, like apps and AppleTalk, and added "minimum" and "preferred" memory allotments to an application's Get Info box in its 1.0 version.[13] This would be followed by version 1.1, which updated the "System 7 Tuner" extension to 1.1, included LaserWriter driver version 7.1.1 and added a hidden extension called "Tuna Helper", intended to fix the "disappearing files" bug in which the system would lose files.[14] The final release, 1.1.1, would include everything 1.1 included but also add the StyleWriter 7.2.2 printer drivers, Chooser 7.1 and a minor update to Tuna Helper.[15][16]

System 7.1

In August 1992, the 7.1 update was released. This is the first version of the system software that Apple charged money for. Of this change, David Pogue wrote:[17]: 225 

System 7.1 was remarkable for another reason, too: It was the first system software update Apple didn't give away. You had to buy it, much to the fury of user groups and online services that had gotten used to making each new system release available to everybody. Backing down in the face of the protests, Apple eventually offered the System 7.1 upgrade kit to user-group and online service members for less than $30. But the writing was on the wall: Apple was jealous of Microsoft, a system-software superstore to the world. Many wondered if the upgrade was even worth it. System 7.1 incorporated a huge number of changes, but the vast majority were deep-seated, core-level rewrites that added no usefulness to standard American Mac users.

— David Pogue, MacWorld Macintosh Secrets, 4th edition

New to 7.1 is the Fonts folder.[18] This replaced the often time-consuming method of dragging fonts to and from the System file, introduced in System 7.0; it also replaced the Font/DA Mover application from System 6, which could also be used with 7.0. System 7.1 also included a lot of internal changes to support internationalization of dates, time, and numbers. It was also the first version to support "Enablers", which removed the requirement to release a new version of the system software every time new hardware was released.

A set of specialized versions of 7.1, ranging from 7.1P1 to 7.1P6 (excluding 7.1P4) were created and included with various Performa models that were already available or were released after 7.1. These specialized versions included At Ease, Launcher, and some other changes that were integrated into later versions of the system software.

The first major upgrade was System 7.1.1, also known as "System 7 Pro". This release was a bundle of 7.1 with AppleScript tools, QuickTime and Apple Open Collaboration Environment (AOCE). While System 7 had some trouble running on slightly older machines due to its memory footprint, System 7 Pro barely fit into any Macintosh computers of the time. It was most commonly used for its minor bug fixes rather than its new functionality.

Apple co-founded the AIM alliance (Apple, IBM, and Motorola) in 1992, shortly after the release of System 7 in 1991, and started developing PowerPC-based machines that later became the Power Macintosh family. Support for these machines resulted in System 7.1.2.

System 7.1.2 was never offered for retail sale; it shipped with the first batches of the PowerPC Macs and a 68k version shipped with a small number of Quadra 600 series systems. Later shipments shipped with System 7.5 instead.

System 7.1.2P was the same as 7.1.2 and shipped with the Performa 630, LC 630 and Quadra 630 models that were released between July and November 1994.

System 7.5

On September 12, 1994, System 7.5 was released with bug fixes from previous updates and several new features:

System 7.5 is codenamed "Capone", a reference to Al Capone and "Chicago", which is the codename for Microsoft's Windows 95 and is also the name of the default system font in Mac OS until version 8.[21]: 56 

System 7.5.1 is primarily a bug fix of 7.5 but also introduced a new "Mac OS" startup screen in preparation for Mac clones.

System 7.5.2, released only for the first PCI-based Power Macs, introduced Apple's new networking architecture, Open Transport.

System 7.5.3 is a major bug-fix update that also includes Open Transport for other PowerPC-based machines and some 68k-based machines. 7.5.3 improves the 68k emulator, and adds translucent dragging to the Drag Manager. It includes the first version of Control Strip to be compatible with all Macs. This is the first version of Mac OS to support SMP (9500/MP).

System 7.5.3 Revision 2 includes performance enhancements; better reliability for PowerBooks using the third-party RAM Doubler program; improved reliability for PowerBook 500, 2300, and 5300 series computers with the PowerPC Upgrade Card; improved reliability when using the Startup Disk control panel; and improved reliability when copying files to 1 GB hard disks.

System 7.5.3 Revision 2.1 was shipped with the Performa 6400/180 and 6400/200; this particular release is specific to these machines as there were stability problems with System 7.5.3 Release 2 on the new hardware, especially with the video card and transferring files over LocalTalk.[17]: 235 

System 7.5.4 was pulled due to a mistake at Apple, in which some components were not included in the installer.

System 7.5.5 included significant performance improvements for virtual memory and memory management on PowerPC-based Macs, including the elimination of one type 11 error.[clarification needed] Also included are several reliability improvements, such as fixes for Macs using floppy disks equipped with a DOS compatibility card, improved hard disk access for PowerPC PowerBooks and Performa 5400 through 9500 computers, fixes for Macs that included an Apple TV Tuner or Macintosh TV Remote Control, improvements to LocalTalk and networking (especially for the Performa 5400 and 6400), fixes to system startup for the faster 180 MHz Macs (which included PowerPC 604 or 604e processors), improved reliability when using sound-intensive applications on Quadra or Centris computers that contained the PowerPC upgrade card, and improved stability when using multiple background applications and shared printers on a network. System 7.5.5 is also the last System 7 release that can run on 68000-based Macs such as the Macintosh Plus and Macs with ROMs that lack support for 32-bit addressing such as Macintosh IIcx. 7.6 and later required a 68030 processor and 32-bit-addressing-capable ROM and will automatically turn on 32-bit addressing on boot.[22]

Mac OS 7.6

Mac OS 7.6 (codenamed "Harmony") was the last major update, released in 1997. With 7.6, the operating system was officially called "Mac OS" instead of "System". New features include a revamped Extensions Manager, more native PowerPC code for Power Macs, more bundled Internet tools and utilities, and a more stable Finder with increased memory allocation.[23] In this version, the PowerTalk feature added in 7.5 was removed due to poor application support, and support for a large number of older Macintosh models was dropped, including those with a Motorola 68000 or 68020.

The minor update to Mac OS 7.6.1 finally ported the 68k exception handling routines to PowerPC, turning type 11 errors into less harmful errors (type 1, 2, or 3, usually) as crashing applications would more often terminate safely instead of crashing the operating system.[24]

Through this period, Apple had been attempting to release a completely new "modern" operating system, named Copland. When the Copland project was abandoned in 1996, Apple announced plans to release an OS update every six months until Rhapsody (which would by 2001 evolve into what was released as Mac OS X) shipped.[25] Two more releases were shipped, now officially branded as Mac OS: Mac OS 7.6 and the minor bug fix 7.6.1. Future versions were released as Mac OS 8–8.6 and Mac OS 9–9.2.

Released during a troubled time in Apple's history, 7.6 is known for several bugs, such as the inability to customize what components are installed during installation[26] and its tendency to crash on some systems when they are shut down while a RAM disk is in use.[27]

Releases

Version number Release date Computer
7.0 May 13, 1991
7.0.1 October 21, 1991 Macintosh Quadra 700/900/950
Macintosh Classic II
PowerBook 100
PowerBook 140
PowerBook 170 and some others
7.1 August 28, 1992 Macintosh IIvx
PowerBook 180
Macintosh IIvi
7.0.1P September 14, 1992 Macintosh Performa 200
Macintosh Performa 400
7.1P October 19, 1992 Macintosh Performa 600
7.1P2 April 12, 1993 Macintosh Performa 405
Macintosh Performa 430
Macintosh Performa 450
7.1P3 October 18, 1993 Macintosh Performa 410/460/475/550
7.1.1 (Pro) October 21, 1993
7.1.1 PowerBook Duo 250/270c
PowerBook 520/540
7.1P5 December 1, 1993 Macintosh Performa 560
7.1P6 February 1, 1994 Macintosh Performa 575
7.1.2 March 14, 1994 Power Macintosh 6100
Power Macintosh 7100
Power Macintosh 8100
7.1.2P July 18, 1994 Quadra 630
7.5 September 12, 1994 Macintosh LC 580
7.5.1 March 23, 1995 Power Macintosh 6200
7.5.2 June 19, 1995 Power Macintosh 9500
7.5.3 January 1, 1996 Power Macintosh 5400
7.5.3 Revision 2 May 1, 1996
7.5.3 Revision 2.1 August 7, 1996 Performa 6400
7.5.3 Revision 2.2 Power Macintosh 9500/200
Performa 6360
7.5.5 September 27, 1996 Power Macintosh 5500
7.6 January 7, 1997 PowerBook 3400c
7.6.1 April 7, 1997 PowerBook 2400c
Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh

Timeline

Timeline of Mac operating systems
ARM architecture familyx86PowerPC68kMacBook Air (Apple silicon)iMac ProRetina MacBook ProMacBook AirApple–Intel architecturePower Mac G5Power Mac G4iMac G3Power MacintoshMacintosh QuadraMacintosh PortableMacintosh SE/30Macintosh IIMacintosh PlusMacintosh 128KmacOS SonomamacOS VenturamacOS MontereymacOS Big SurmacOS CatalinamacOS MojavemacOS High SierramacOS SierraOS X El CapitanOS X YosemiteOS X MavericksOS X Mountain LionMac OS X LionMac OS X Snow LeopardMac OS X LeopardMac OS X TigerMac OS X PantherMac OS X 10.2Mac OS X 10.1Mac OS X 10.0Mac OS X Server 1.0Mac OS X Public BetaA/UXA/UXA/UXMacWorks XLMacWorks XLSun RemarketingMacWorks XLMac OS 9Mac OS 9Mac OS 9Mac OS 8Mac OS 8Mac OS 8Mac OS 8System 7System 7System 7System 7System 6Classic Mac OSClassic Mac OSClassic Mac OSClassic Mac OSSystem 1Finder (software)Finder (software)Finder (software)Finder (software)Finder (software)Finder (software)Finder (software)

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Project leaders Erich Ringewald[3]: 96  and Mike Potel[28]: xiii, 6  date the start of Pink as "March 1988" or "early 1988", but Apple Confidential 2.0 says "March 1987".[21]: 69 

References

  1. ^ Norton, Peter (1992). Inside System 7 (1st ed.). Brady Publishing. p. 215. ISBN 0-13-656273-6. Retrieved March 3, 2024.
  2. ^ Danuloff, Craig (April 6, 1991). The System 7 Book (4th ed.). Ventana Press, Inc. ISBN 0-940087-58-8. Retrieved March 3, 2024.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Carlton, Jim (1999) [1997]. Apple: The Inside Story of Intrigue, Egomania and Business Blunders (hardback) (2nd ed.). London: Random House Business Books. ISBN 978-0099270737. OCLC 925000937. Retrieved March 3, 2024 – via Internet Archive.
  4. ^ Goldsmith, David (June 1994). Taligent's Guide to Designing Programs: Well-Mannered Object-Oriented Design in C++. Taligent Reference Library. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 978-0201408881. OCLC 636884338.
  5. ^ Singh, pg. 2
  6. ^ a b Every, David K.; Fanton, Daniel (August 26, 1998). "Apple Easter Eggs". MacKiDo. Retrieved March 18, 2024.
  7. ^ "InfoWorld Aug 7, 1989". August 7, 1989. Archived from the original on June 2, 2021. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  8. ^ "System 7.1 through Mac OS 7.6: Compatibility With Macintosh Computers". support.apple.com. February 18, 2012. Archived from the original on December 19, 2021. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  9. ^ "InfoWorld". March 14, 1994. Archived from the original on September 15, 2022. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  10. ^ "Inside Macintosh, Volume 4" Archived March 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Amazon
  11. ^ "Book Collection". Archived from the original on November 24, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  12. ^ "Re: System 7.0 - Will it be on apple.com?". Archived from the original on May 25, 2013. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  13. ^ "System 7 Tune-Up - TidBITS". January 13, 1992. Archived from the original on May 15, 2022. Retrieved May 15, 2022.
  14. ^ "Tune-Up 1.1, Just Get It - TidBITS". April 6, 1992. Archived from the original on May 15, 2022. Retrieved May 15, 2022.
  15. ^ "Tune-Up Notes - TidBITS". April 20, 1992. Archived from the original on May 15, 2022. Retrieved May 15, 2022.
  16. ^ "System 7.1 update guide" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 18, 2017.
  17. ^ a b Pogue, David (January 1997). MacWorld Macintosh Secrets 4th edition - Chapter 6: The System Software Museum (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on October 17, 2017. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  18. ^ Howard Bear, Jacci (November 19, 2018). "Here's How to Find Font Files on Macs or in Windows". Lifewire. Archived from the original on April 25, 2019. Retrieved April 25, 2019. The default location for all System fonts in System 7.1 and later is the Fonts folder inside the System folder.
  19. ^ "Classic Mac Wares: MenuChoice 2.1". Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. Retrieved December 14, 2007.
  20. ^ "The Graphing Calculator Story". Archived from the original on January 18, 2008. Retrieved December 14, 2007.
  21. ^ a b Linzmayer, Owen (2004). Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company. No Starch Press. ISBN 1-59327-010-0.
  22. ^ Hoffman, Ilene (December 14, 2000). "Mac Corner: Your Mac OS, part 2". Archived from the original on March 8, 2011.
  23. ^ "Mac OS 7.6, Will it be worth it?". Archived from the original on December 22, 2010. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  24. ^ technote 1096
  25. ^ "YouTube - Macworld Boston 1997". YouTube. Archived from the original on November 24, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  26. ^ "System 7.5 and Mac OS 7.6: The Beginning and End of an Era - LowEndMac". Archived from the original on April 8, 2022. Retrieved May 15, 2022.
  27. ^ "RAM Disk Fix utility posted - CNET". Archived from the original on May 15, 2022. Retrieved May 15, 2022.
  28. ^ Cotter, Sean; Potel, Mike (1995). Inside Taligent Technology. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-40970-4. OCLC 1072525751. Retrieved February 10, 2019.

Bibliography

Further reading

Preceded bySystem 6 System 7/Mac OS 7 1991 Succeeded byMac OS 8