Sunday, February 06, 2011

Doing the Unlikely

Image source: Apple
Apple has managed to do something everyone else so far has failed at: make UNIX usable for non-geeks. In fact, Apple has turned UNIX into a mass-market consumer operating system. How? iOS, which powers the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, is UNIX at its core. The typical iOS device user doesn't need to know this, and frankly, they don't care so long as their devices work properly. iOS shares core code with MacOS X, so there's a non-trivial degree of reusability between codebases, and lessons learned on iOS are transferred to MacOS X and vice versa. This is only to be expected, since both iOS and MacOS X trace their ancestry to NeXTSTEP, the platform on which Tim Berners-Lee invented the web in 1990. So UNIX is alive and well...and thanks to Apple, popular. Not bad for an OS first developed in 1969. For historical context, scroll through the UNIX timeline.
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