My Turn
FreeOS for the Mac!

(This article, and the following interviews, were written before the Apple/NeXT deal was made public. Deadlines being what they are, we decided to run these as is.)


That’s the first word that comes to my mind when thinking of the next OS (Operating System) from Apple. Everyone, it seems, wants it and with good reason. The Mac OS, while still the easiest, most productive, and most customizable computer operating system ever made, is woefully out of date. Yes, out of date. One small bug in the tiniest program can bring your whole system down. Everyone, save perhaps the most newest of users, have had their Mac crash on them at least once. Or, if you use your computer as much as I have, many more times than that. I bet I crash my system, on average, at least five times a week or more. And when you’re trying to get work done, or even play the latest game, that crash will often upset you.

Hype. Apple has been giving us nothing but hype for the next Mac OS for well over two years. When System 7.5 was released, Apple had already leaked information to the press on how great System 8.0 (Copland) would be. Now, more than two years later, we all still sit and wait. And truth be told, we’ll be waiting longer still. Apple has effectively killed Copland, and is now talking to other software companies, such as BE, about porting their operating system to the Mac and calling it good. Who’s to say if this is a good or bad thing? All I know is I’m still out here waiting, and all I hear from Apple is hype.

Enter two people, who on their own decided that what Apple is doing is not good enough. Two people who decided that, rather than wait for Apple, they would themselves create a new operating system for Macintosh computers. And that both these operating systems would be free for all.

When I first learned of both these projects to create a free Mac OS, I was very excited about the projects. And, as the owner/publisher of a Macintosh magazine, I decided that since I can’t help with the actual programming end of things, I would offer something else. I would help get the word out on both projects, and perhaps help find others who can help with the creation of these operating systems.

OpenOS and PowerOS. Two cool names for two cool, yet somewhat different, free operating systems. Both Kevin Avila of OpenOS, and Ben Martz of PowerOS, took time out of their busy schedules to answer some questions for My Mac. On the following two pages, you will learn more on both projects. I have supplied both the Web site and email addresses so that, if you have the knowledge to lend help, you know how to contact them.

I want to thank both Kevin and Ben for the time they took helping me with this feature. And I want to urge all of you to support these projects. We live in a time when it’s big corporations like Microsoft and Intel who dominate the computer market, and it’s only through the support of the “little guy” that we can help bring the Macintosh that much further ahead of the pack. This is also why Shareware is so popular. As a popular commercial goes, sometimes good enough is not good enough. And that’s why both PowerOS and OpenOS have my support. The current Mac OS is, simply put, not good enough. And there’s no excuse Apple has that is good enough why we have such a outdated computer operating system. Hey, if these two guys, with some help from other private users, can create a better operating system than Apple, with almost no resources or big financial backers, why can’t Apple?

Thanks, Kevin and Ben. Here’s hoping both OpenOS and PowerOS are a big hit. You have my support, and with any luck, a few My Mac readers as well.

Tim Robertson (

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