Using and Managing Applications

This section will cover the basics of using, installing, and deleting Mac applications in OS X. (This section will cover Jaguar, i.e., OS 10.2; differences under Panther, i.e., OS 10.3, will be covered in an upcoming section.) Before I get directly into the nuts and bolts of using and running things, let’s talk about the different types of Mac applications you can run in OS 10. Sooner or later, you’ll find the info helpful.

Types of Programs

The way I think of it, there are actually three types of applications you might encounter. There are applications built for older versions of the Mac Operating System, i.e., Mac OS 9.22 and earlier and called Classic appplications, applications originally built for the older Mac OS but have been modified to run on OS X and are called Carbon applications, and those built to run only on Mac OS X and are called Cocoa applications.

One of the coolest features of OS X is its native ability to run older “Classic” Mac OS applications. If you launch a Classic program, you’ll see a dialog window pop up that says “Classic Environment is starting…” and see a progress bar telling you how far along it is. The Classic environment is the Mac OS 9 operating system, and it will run invisibly within OS X to allow you to operate the older Mac OS application until you terminate it or restart your Mac. You’ll see an dancing icon in the Dock while Classic is starting up; but once it’s running, you won’t see it or any sign of the Classic OS, except for the grey menu bars of the Classic application itself.


In the picture above, Classic has just started. Once the blue progress bar hits the right end, the window will disappear. The only way you’ll know Classic is running will be the dark grey menus of the Classic application itself. Notice the difference in the Pagemaker 7.0 window bars and menus in the picture below.


Applications will generally be stored in one of two places under OS X, depending upon whether the application is a Classic application (one built for Mac OS 9 or earlier) or a Cocoa application (one built for OS 10 only). Cocoa and Carbon applications will generally be found in the Applications folder on your hard disk while Classic applications will be in the Applications (OS 9) folder. (Most applications default to the correct folder automatically, though putting an application in a folder does not drive whether the Classic environment is used or not. The makeup of the program itself does that. I find it helpful to put each application where it belongs for organizational purposes and, because most of my Macs can boot into OS 9, to make sure there is an Applications folder available if I do that.

Finding and Launching Programs

To find the Applications folders, open your prime hard disk (usually the Macintosh Hard Disk). You’ll see them there.


From the OS 10 desktop, you can run applications in either Applications folder. We’ll concentrate on OS 10 applications here.

Open the Applications folder by double-clicking on it, find the application you want to run, and double-click on the application icon. The application will launch, and you’ll see the program’s dancing icon in the Dock.


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