Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I was inspired by the question Mac or Macintosh.

What's the proper way to pronounce "Mac OS X"? I've heard the following things used to refer to the operating system on the Macintosh:

  • "Mac OS Ten" ("OS" is said like "AHSS")
  • "Mac OS Ex" ("OS" is said like "AHSS")
  • "Mac Oh-Ess Ex"
  • "Mac Oh-Ess Ten"
  • "Darwin" (People use this to refer to the operating system. Is this correct?)
share|improve this question
    
I say "OSX" Oh-Es-Ex most of the time. –  Josh K Sep 23 '10 at 20:58
1  
Forgive my non-native ignorance, but what's the difference between "OS Ex" and "Oh-Ess Ex"? Do you pronounce "OS Ex" like "Ossex"? :) –  deceze Sep 24 '10 at 3:15
    
@deceze: I was following the OP's lead with that, I say "O" then "S" then "X". –  Josh K Sep 24 '10 at 15:57
    
@deceze : I'll update my post to see if I can make it more clear. It's hard to pronounce things in ascii. "In cyberspace, nobody can hear you scream." –  Stefan Lasiewski Sep 24 '10 at 17:30
    
Wow, seriously, "Mac Ohs Ex"? It would never have occurred to me to pronounce it that way. :) –  deceze Sep 24 '10 at 23:14
show 3 more comments

8 Answers 8

up vote 25 down vote accepted

According to Apple

The current version of Mac OS is Mac OS X (pronounced "Mac O-S ten"). ... . Major releases of Mac OS X include versions 10.0, 10.3, and 10.4. There are also updates (sometimes called "dot" releases) for each major release, such as versions 10.2.8 and 10.4.2.

This does present a problem because it isn't correct to write Mac OS X.6. All references to Mac OS X 10.6, are easier to pronounce as "Oh Ess [Ex] ten dot/point six," rather than saying, "ten," twice.

As for Darwin,

The Darwin layer of Mac OS X comprises the kernel, drivers, and BSD portions of the system [...]. Mac OS X extends this low-level environment with several core infrastructure technologies that make it easier for you to develop software.

Apple purchased NeXT for their XNU kernel, which is a hybrid kernel forked from CMU's Mach microkernel. BSD is an implementation of Unix originally released through UC Berkley. Aqua is the rendering engine for the user interface. The Apple Finder is a system application that always runs for user access to files and the desktop. OS X is the sum of these and other parts.

share|improve this answer
1  
+1 for the authoritative source. Thank you. say Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard thanks you. –  Stefan Lasiewski Sep 24 '10 at 17:38
    
The Darwin kernel was based on the Mach Microkernel from CMU. The BSD kernel was monolithic, like the Linux kernel is. The Unix system living on top of the kernel was derived from BSD. Apple people always seem to get this wrong for some reason. –  Adam Lassek Sep 26 '10 at 0:39
    
@Adam, Thanks, I'll fix that. I recognized that the kernel wasn't Unix by itself, and I knew there was something special about the micro-kernel, but hadn't looked into it lately. –  SpecKK Sep 27 '10 at 17:40
    
no prob. I've seen a lot of references to OSX having a "BSD kernel" lately and it's been getting on my nerves :) –  Adam Lassek Sep 27 '10 at 19:41
1  
+1 for illustrating why saying it like Mac O S Ten causes a problem. However, I think Apple would probably respond by saying that you should really be saying "Mac OS Ten Snow Leopard", or just Snow Leopard rather than "Mac OS Ten 10.6" :) –  Umar Farooq Khawaja Jun 5 '11 at 19:50
add comment

Try typing

say Mac OS X

in Terminal. You'll hear what Apple thinks about it.

Hint: It's "mac oh es ten"

share|improve this answer
6  
Mac Oh-Ess Ten… –  ghoppe Sep 23 '10 at 20:23
    
hehe, right ... but that isn't an option in OP's list :-) (I've updated the answer though) –  Peter Štibraný Sep 23 '10 at 20:29
    
+1, I would've answered the same thing if you hadn't done it first :) –  Jonik Sep 23 '10 at 20:45
    
+1 I really enjoy of this –  Am1rr3zA Sep 24 '10 at 0:28
2  
@Stefan In a word, yes. This is precisely the sort of detail Apple sweats over. The Wrath of Steve would be swift and merciless had they got it "wrong". It had to have been changed, since "X" would never be pronounced "ten" in any other context. –  ghoppe Sep 24 '10 at 17:38
show 7 more comments

starting with mountain lion it's no longer "mac os x" it will be just "OS X" pronounced o s ten.

share|improve this answer
    
They have also revised Lion's webpages to now show "OS X Lion" e.i. removed Mac. –  pdd Feb 29 '12 at 19:03
add comment

From: http://support.apple.com/kb/TA22541

The current version of Mac OS is Mac OS X (pronounced "Mac O-S ten")

share|improve this answer
add comment

Mac Oh-Ess Ten

"Darwin" (People use this to refer to the operating system. Is this correct?)

Only partially. Darwin is the open-source unix-derived foundation of the operating system upon which GUI-goodness, frameworks, application environments, core services and other proprietary bells and whistles are laid.

share|improve this answer
add comment

They call it Macaussexx on the Dev Show (it's a joke though).

share|improve this answer
add comment

I know what it's supposed to be, but every time I speak it, it comes out of my mouth like "Mac Oh-Ess Ecks".

share|improve this answer
    
I'm the same way. I see a letter amongst others and therefore I pronounce it as "X" not ten. –  Kyle Hayes Aug 19 '11 at 17:47
    
You are not alone - many people prefer X and persist even when faced with what some people feel is the "canonical" answer. –  bmike Feb 29 '12 at 15:32
add comment

Part of me asks "How is this even a real question or up for debate*?", but of course the confusion was set in prior versions of Mac OS 8 and 9 have one obvious pronunciation.

The way that Apple Employees pronounce (and nearly all Mac fans agree) is that the X represents 10 exclusively and should not be spoken or expanded into the letter "X"

Mac Oh Es Ten

* That were actually labelled as Mac OS 8 & 9 and not as Mac OS IX & Mac OS XIII. Perhaps that is one reason there is a debate. Also, the infrequent use of Roman numbers in applications apart from clock faces. Perhaps the Mac OS X brand was in reference to the X "hipness" of Next and Unix as Apple replaced their previous OS architecture with one based on Next/Unix heritage.

share|improve this answer
1  
And System 7 before that. –  Mark Jan 28 '11 at 15:47
    
Absolutely the "X" is a reference to NeXT influence on OS X. –  Dan Ray Feb 29 '12 at 18:39
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.