Feline Software Glamour


When Amazon sent me a plug for pre-ordering the new Mac OS—and for encouraging DG readers to order it though us to generate a few expense-paying bucks—I was struck by the  the name. Snow Leopard. The combination of the exotic idea of Himalayan snow with the feline grace and power of the leopard seemed the epitome of glamour. I'm only vaguely aware of what a snow leopard is, and the picture in my mind is even more glamorous and exotic than the real cat.

Code names are standard for software under development, and any glamour they may have generally reflects geek culture. (Microsoft uses a lot that sound like superhero monikers.) But Apple has turned these internal references into brand names, and whoever decided to use the names of big cats definitely has an eye for glamour. 

From this site, here's a list of the Mac OS's feline aliases. Jaguar was the first widely used in public.
ReleaseCodenameRelease Date
10.0CheetahMarch 2001
10.1PumaSeptember 2001
10.2JaguarAugust 2002
10.3PantherOctober 2003
10.4TigerApril 2005
10.5LeopardOctober 2007
10.6Snow Leopard
Big cats represent grace, power, and autonomy—not a bad metaphor for an operating system from a company known for the glamour of its products and the "reality distortion field" (a good definition of glamour) of its CEO. As computer pioneer Alan Kay has said, “Steve understands desire.”

Mac users, pre-order Snow Leopard here: