Mac OS version 8, which came out in 1997, is considered by Mac users (I am not one, btw) to be a major improvement. Most noticable is the UI. Many new widgets were added to the API, Mac programmers have told me. I'd imagine other parts of the API were also streamlined. It requires a 68040 or PowerPC Mac with 16MB of RAM and a 32-bit clean ROM (the first Mac with a 32-bit clean ROM was the 68030-based Mac IIci).

If you have a PowerPC Mac, it'd be best to get Mac OS 8.6 instead, as it has tons of PowerPC optimzation. If you own Mac OS 8, you can get a Mac OS 8.1 upgrade for free at Apple's FTP site.

MacOS 8, released in 1997, is commonly considered the revision that make people sit up and take note -- the most visible OS Change since MacOS 3.

Notice I said visible. This is because although MacOS 8 looked completely different, a very small portion of the operating code actually changed from the previous major release, 7.5.5-7.6.1.

The visual changes were, to be fair, monumental. For years prior, the MacOS has been derieded has having an 'old' look compared to it's archrival Microsoft Windows which had been using 3d buttons since 1993 and size-adjusting scrollbars since 1995. MacOS 8 added the buttons, new icons and all the pretty colours that finally made the OS look modern again.

Other things it included was Personal Web Sharing (a pocket-sized web server), inclusion of MacOS Runtime for Java and a PowerPC Native Finder (though a 68x00 version was still available).

MacOS requires at least a 68040 based machine with at least 12 megabytes of RAM, though it runs just swimmingly on PowerPC based machines, too.

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