An Alternative to the Finder on early Macintosh Systems









 Additional Information











Beginning with its introduction in 1984 the Macintosh's operating system was designed to run only one program at a time: multitasking on an Apple computer was reserved for the Lisa and subsequent Macintosh XL, which contained an extra Memory Management chip that made multitasking possible. Confined to closed hardware architecture with an operating system designed to run only one application at a time, users of the Macintosh 512K had no way to utilize the full capability of the available RAM to run multiple applications at the same time and to switch between these open applications, quickly sharing the contents of the Clipboard between their programs.



By September 1985 the first application that allowed a Macintosh 512K to run multiple applications simultaneously and to prioritize by application the use of the CPU, true multitasking, was released to the public without Apple's involvment and without a clear means of distribution. Subsequently, Servant, an application written by one of the original members of the Macintosh team, was released to provide Macintosh 512Ke and Plus users the abilty to run multiple applications at the same time and to switch between open applications; to delve into the workings of resources that make up an application, a System INIT, or a Desk Accessory and modify its icon or PICT resource from the desktop; and to navigate the Finder in a more sensory manner.



This website examines both Servant and Multi-Mac, its predecessor, as the first Macintosh system enhancements whose purpose was to provide users with a multitasking environment. While Multi-Mac allows for true multitasking by allowing users to prioritize applications' use of CPU time and to allocate memory to open programs, Servant provides switching between open applications and intriguing new means of interacting with the Macintosh environment. Servant would prove in part to be Apple's course of development for subsequent operating systems.



The software explored in this web site was never officially released, but was passed around at early MacWorld Expos, on Macintosh User Group disks, through bulletin boards, and by word of mouth. It is not readily available on the internet. However, it has been tested except where noted, and proved to be a buggy, yet interesting, replacement for the Finder.



copyright 2002 Josh Burker



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