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Mac OS X Public Beta

Mac OS X Public Beta "Kodiak"
A version of the Mac OS X operating system
A screenshot of Mac OS X Public Beta
Developer Apple Computer
Working state Unsupported
Released to
September 13, 2000
Kernel type Hybrid kernel
Preceded by Mac OS 9
Succeeded by Mac OS X v10.0 "Cheetah"
Support status
Unsupported as of March 24th, 2001

The Mac OS X Public Beta (internally codenamed "Kodiak") was the first publically available version of Apple Computer's Mac OS X operating system Cheetah to feature the Aqua user interface. It was released to the public on September 13, 2000 for US$29.95. It allowed software developers and early adopters to test a preview of the upcoming operating system and develop software for the forthcoming operating system before its final release. The US version had a build number of 1H39 and the international version had build number 2E14.[1]

Successor OS

The Public Beta succeeded Mac OS X Server 1.0, the first public release of Apple's new NeXT OpenStep-based operating system, which used a variant of the classic Mac OS' "Platinum" user interface look and feel. The Public Beta introduced the Aqua user interface to the world. Fundamental user interface changes were revealed with respect to fonts, the Dock, the menu bar (with an Apple logo at the center which was later repositioned to the left of the menu bar and made an active interface element).[2] System icons were much larger and more detailed, and new interface eye candy was prevalent.

Technical changes

With the Mac OS X Public Beta came fundamental technical changes, most courtesy of an open source Darwin 1.2.1 core, including two features that Mac users and developers had been anticipating for almost a decade: preemptive multitasking and protected memory. To illustrate the benefits of the latter, at the MacWorld Expo in June 2000, Apple CEO Steve Jobs demonstrated, a test application intended to crash.[3]

Native apps

The Public Beta included many of the standard apps bundled with Mac OS X today, such as TextEdit, Preview, Mail, Quicktime Player and Terminal. Also included with the Public Beta, but not in any subsequent versions of Mac OS X were a simple MP3 player (iTunes had not yet been introduced), Sketch, a basic vector drawing program demonstrating features of Quartz, and HTMLEdit, a WYSIWYG HTML editor inherited from WebObjects.[4]

Native shrinkware applications were few and far between.[5][6][7][8] Early adopters had to turn to open source or shareware alternatives, giving rise to an active homebrew software community around the new operating system. Many programs in use on early Mac OS X systems were inherited from OPENSTEP or Rhapsody developer releases (e.g. OmniWeb or Fire), or were simple wrapper apps that provided a graphical interface to a command-line Unix program.

The poor state of the Carbon API contrasted with the relative maturity of Cocoa gave rise to an anti-Carbon bias among OS X users, one that persisted up until Carbon was deprecated in 2012.[9][10]


Mac OS X Public Beta expired on May 14, 2001.[11] It will not run on later PowerPC-based Macintosh computers, nor on current Macintosh hardware, which uses the x86 processor architecture. Using the Mac OS X Public Beta on compatible equipment today requires setting the hardware clock to a date prior to the expiration date.

The expiration date forced users to purchase a copy of the final release rather than continuing to use the Public Beta. Owners of the Public Beta version were entitled to a $30 discount on the price of the first full version of Mac OS X 10.0.[12] Only the Aqua GUI and related components of the Public Beta were subject to expiry; the underlying Darwin command-line based OS continued to function.[13]

Mac OS X v10.0 was the first completed release of Mac OS X. It became available in March 2001.


  1. ^ Marcin Wichary. "GUIdebook > Screenshots > Mac OS X Public Beta". Retrieved June 21, 2011. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "MACWORLD Expo - Live Coverage Of Steve Jobs Keynote". The Mac Observer. Retrieved June 21, 2011. 
  4. ^ "OS X then and now: What's changed since the beta". 
  5. ^ "What is Mac OS X?". One relatively common notion about Mac OS X seems to be that there's not a lot of software for it. While it is true that the quantity of software available for Mac OS X is not as large as, say, that on Windows or Linux... 
  6. ^ "Best Mac OS X 10.0, 10.1, 10.2, and 10.3 Prices". 
  7. ^ "Mac OS X 10.0". 
  8. ^ "Mac's new OS: Seven years in the making". The first applications will appear this spring; many more are targeted for later months. 
  9. ^ "Carbon vs Cocoa arguments". 
  10. ^ "Mac OS X 10.0". 
  11. ^ "Mac OS X Public Beta Expires Today". 
  12. ^ Edwards, Benj (September 13, 2010). "Looking back at OS X's origins". Macworld. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Analysis unknown Mac OS Public Beta system".