First of all, I hope that my question is fairly suitable for this site.

I have a website where I would like to write articles about some operating systems. Therefore, I have created a main category called "Operating systems". Within a subcategory, I would like to write articles about Apple's operating system that is running on Macs. However, I do not know what to name this category. I have always thought the name was just OS X, but come to think about it, the "X" is actually part of the version (10).

Therefore I cannot exactly call my category OS X, because what about when OS 11 is released in a few years? And since Apple has gone from Mac OS X to just OS X, then I cannot use "Mac OS". And, if I remove the X from OS X, then I only have "OS" left, which does not seem so proper.

I am really looking for a meaningful all-round name for the Macs' operating system that does not involve the versioning. I was thinking about just calling the category "Mac", but that is not precise either - but perhaps the closest I can get?

  • 1
    If you use "Mac", you'll assume that their computer platform will be called like this forever. But since the Mac hardware platform runs these OSes, I'd stick to "Mac" as the broadest category that is also widely understood and recognized (in contrast to "Apple OS" etc) – slhck Sep 15 '12 at 14:59
  • Version numbering is just numbers seperated by a delimiter, in this case a '.', OS X could go on to be 10.15 for all we know. X in OS X is for Unix (as it's a BSD based kernel operating system). – camflan Sep 16 '12 at 15:11

You should use “Mac OS”. It has been “changed” to OS X as of 2011, but it refers to version 10 of the Mac OS.

From version 1 to 7 was called “System [1-7]”. Versions 8 and 9 were called Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9. Version 10 was called Mac OS X up until version 10.6. From version 10.7 (Lion), it’s been marketed as OS X.

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    Given how little technology OS X and it's predecessor have in common, that might not be too useful. In fact, many use "Mac OS" to specifically refer to OS 9 and earlier, as opposed to "Mac OS X". – Daniel Beck Sep 15 '12 at 14:49
  • But wouldn't using "Mac OS" also be wrong, since they have stripped the "Mac" out of it? Version 10.x is referred to as "OS X", where X indicates part of the version. The newest version is named "OS X Mountain Lion", and all future versions won't have the "Mac" in them. Basically they went from naming it "Mac OS" to just "OS", but this seems to not be very descriptive for the users if you leave out the version. But Mac OS may be the closest I can get. – Andy0708 Sep 15 '12 at 15:00
  • @DanielBeck That is true, but the generic name is Mac OS. X is just a version (family of versions, actually) of it. Now it reached version 10.8, but who knows what will happen when it will reach version 10.10. The next one will be called OS X 10.11? Will the X be dropped? Will become XI? – Alex Sep 15 '12 at 15:00

About this Mac dialog in OS X 10.8

It seems like Apple is really pushing for the name 'OS X'. I'd go with that, despite the likely case that it will be superseded in years to come. In my opinion, it'd just be easier to just rename the category outright if and when that time comes. I mean, who knows? When they release Mac OS 11, they could drop the whole 'Mac OS' portion altogether (opting for 'iOS' instead; they are part of the same codebase after all).

  • I agree that right now, OS X makes sense (given that I am writing about version 10 of the OS). But when version 11 will be out, it is as if the name of the category is saying that I am writing about version 10 and not version 11 (because the "X" seems to be part of the version). The other reason why I am trying to find a general name for it is to avoid headaches with dead links and redirects in the future. :-) – Andy0708 Sep 15 '12 at 15:08
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    Hmm... I hadn't thought about dead links. You could always use a URL slug that is more agnostic (like mac-os) with a display name that is more relevant (like OS X, OS 11, or whatever else they decide to call it). – Kyle Lacy Sep 15 '12 at 15:11

When talking about versions 1-9, it's generally referred to as Mac OS. These systems were PowerPC based. (Mac OS 9, Mac OS 8, Mac OS 7, etc.)

Starting with version 10, it is either referred to as Mac OS X, or simply OS X. I would not group OS X with Mac OS - The two are radically different, as much so as DOS and Windows. While they may have similar names, they are very, very different beasts inside.

  • Yes, but what would one call every version? I.e. a general name. – Andy0708 Sep 15 '12 at 15:53
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    I wouldn't. Just the same as there is no name for every version of DOS and Windows. There's DOS, and there's Windows. They're so radically different inside and out that there is no overarching name that covers them both. Any articles you write for Mac OS will not apply to OS X, and any you write for OS X will not apply to Mac OS. They are completely different categories. – Darth Android Sep 17 '12 at 14:13

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