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Understanding Mac OS X: In Depth

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There are multiple ways to look at Mac OS X and take it apart. Each way makes its own contribution to your understanding of the OS. In this sample chapter, Ted Landau looks at the major ways to "take apart" Mac OS X.
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There is more than one way to think about dividing up a pizza. First, there is the familiar method of dividing it into slices. Alternatively, you could divide it into layers: topping, cheese, sauce, crust. Theoretically, you could also divide it into its basic ingredients: flour, water, tomatoes, garlic, milk. Each method makes a different contribution to your enjoyment of the pizza. The first method (slices) is best when you're getting ready to eat the pizza; the second is best when you are deciding what to order (such as pepperoni with extra cheese); the third is best if you are concerned about nutrition (needing to know the exact ingredients to calculate calories).

The same is true for Mac OS X. There are multiple ways to look at it and take it apart. Each way makes its own contribution to your understanding of the OS. In this chapter, I look at the major ways to "take apart" Mac OS X. Having at least a minimal knowledge of Mac OS 9 will help, as I occasionally make comparisons between the two OS versions. But even if you've never used Mac OS 9, you'll be able to follow along.

In This Chapter

The Layers of Mac OS X: Aqua

The Layers of Mac OS X: Application Environments

Cocoa
Carbon
Classic
Java
Putting it together

The Layers of Mac OS X: Graphics Services

Quartz
Multimedia: OpenGL and QuickTime

The Layers of Mac OS X: Darwin

Mach
BSD (Unix)

Domains: An Overview

System domain
Local domain
User domain
Network domain

The Libraries of Mac OS X: /System/Library

Core Services
CFMSupport
Extensions
Fonts
Frameworks
PreferencePanes
Printers
QuickTime
ScreenSavers
Services
Sounds
StartupItems

The Libraries of Mac OS X: /Library

Application Support
ColorSync
Contextual Menu Items
Desktop Pictures
Documentation
Fonts
Internet Plug-Ins
Modem Scripts
Preferences
Printers
Receipts
StartupItems

The Libraries of Mac OS X: Users/"Home"/Library

Application Support
Caches
Favorites
Font Collections
Fonts
Internet Search Sites
Keychains
Preference Panes
Preferences
Application-specific folders

Fonts in Mac OS X: Font Formats

TrueType fonts
PostScript fonts
OpenType fonts
Bitmap fonts
Identifying font formats

Fonts in Mac OS X: Working with Fonts

Font Panel window
Font smoothing and Mac OS X
International language support: basics
International language support: troubleshooting
Font utilities

The Layers of Mac OS X: Aqua

Aqua is the name given to what most users think of when they think of Mac OS X: the user interface, the Finder, the Dock, the windows, the translucent buttons, the high-resolution icons, the menus, and all the rest. Many users may never explore Mac OS X beyond its Aqua layer.

From this perspective, a user upgrading from Mac OS 9 will feel quite at home, at least initially. Much still works the same way. You still double-click icons in the Finder to launch them; you still choose the Save command from an application's File menu to save a document; you still open a folder icon to see its contents.

But you will soon notice some significant differences: a new column view, a very different Apple menu, the Dock. I discussed the basics in Chapter 3, when I presented an overview of Mac OS X.

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