From 1994 to 1996 Apple developed a complete new Mac OS, codenamed Copland, intended to be published as System 8. A first public demo was made at the May 1996 WWDC. Shortly before it was canceled, a Developer Release DR0 was sent out to selected developers. It was completely unusable.

I remember being told that a DR1 was also distributed, and it was somewhat better. However, I have lost the email. So the question is:

Was there a DR1 at all? Did anyone outside of Apple receive a copy?

  • 1
    Does it have to be DR1? Someone seems to have D9 Apr 8 '19 at 16:12
  • 1
    That's a typo on the web page, that is DR0. Apr 8 '19 at 16:35
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    This doesn’t seem like an appropriate question for the site, at least not as-written. SE is not a forum and we should not be directing questions to individuals. Whether an individual member received a copy is not a question about retrocomputing but about such individual. I’m sure that the question can be rephrased, maybe “was a DR1 version of Copland available outside Apple and was it usable?” Or something like that. Apr 8 '19 at 17:23
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    Whether or not anyone ever saw the disk is the question. That strikes me as quite germaine. Apr 8 '19 at 18:05

There are at least two builds of Copland still in public distribution:

  • D7E1, from November 1995; and
  • D11E4, from June 1996.

The former advertises itself as 'Copland' and will boot only on select PowerPC 601-based machines. The latter is 'MacOS 8' and adds support for some PowerPC 604s.

In addition I can find references to a D9, which is still a Copland rather than a MacOS, but otherwise seems to be only vaguely documented.

NeXT was formally acquired in February 1997 so one would dare imagine little if any work after June 1996, as there was the whole process of evaluating licensing Windows NT or Solaris versus acquiring Be or NeXT in between giving up on Copland and acquiring NeXT.


As I said, both D7E1 and D11E4 remain available for download, which is great evidence that more than one build exists but not something I want to link to.

  • 1
    Excellent work Tony. I had the June 1996 edition, so that seems to suggest the DR1 never happened and the reference was actually to the Tools Edition. Apr 8 '19 at 19:48
  • Both are also at the same link I gave in a comment and they are clearly abandonware. Why not link to them? Apr 10 '19 at 10:39
  • @LangLangC I failed to notice your comment, that's my error; otherwise: because abandonware just means "still illegal to distribute but my judgement is that nobody cares".
    – Tommy
    Apr 10 '19 at 11:31

The exact DR1 was "unreleased":

Youtube: Apple's Copland DR1 unreleased Mac OS prototype
Published on Apr 3, 2010 This is the never-released Copland OS (System 8) prototype from 1996, booting on a PowerMac 7600/66 AV. It boots to the "Z Theme" In this video you can see the cool Mac OS logo fading in, and then a bunch of verbose messages as the hardware is examined and initialized.

The OS itself is very unstable and crashes very frequently -- this release was intended to help hardware vendors develop drivers for the future release, and came with software so that it could be debugged from a connected PC.

A more convincing demo from Apple is

Youtube: Mac OS 8 (code name Copland) Demos:
Published on Feb 15, 2014 June 28, 1996 - Demonstration of Apple Computer's operating system Mac OS 8 (code name Copland). Demos include:

Folder navigation. Content searches. Organizing information on the desktop. Multitasked operations. A scalable user interface. Personalized workspaces. The computer as assistant. QuickDraw 3D. Quicktime conferencing. Cyberdog. QuickDraw 3D and QuckTime multimedia on the Internet.

An Exit button displayed in the lower left hand side corner of each demo is unrelated to Mac OS 8 (code name Copland).

As with the renaming conundrums, rebranding Mac OS 8 Copland by ripping out most of the stuff that would have made it "Copland", it gets difficult to ascertain at what stage the different available 'releaases' are.

However, Macintosh Repository offers abandonware download links for

Copland D9 (Copland Developer Release: Tools Edition)
Copland OS Beta (D7E1, D11E4 June Release, D11E4)
Mac OS 8.0 Beta "Copland"
Mac OS 8.0 Copland (Beta Builds)

And the fittingly named WinWorldPC offers

Apple Mac OS 8.0 ("Copland" 8.0.B5) (SIT)
Apple Mac OS 8.0 ("Copland" 8.0.D11E4) (SIT)
Apple Mac OS 8.0 ("Copland" 8.0.D7E1 A) (SIT)

Installation notes: There are no known emulators that will run MacOS 8 Copeland. To run it, you must install it on a supported Macintosh PowerPC computer.

You might have to look at the dates quite closely:

Apple finally decided to cancel Copland in May 1996.

And you might read more about D11E4, from Apple documents.

The links to these archives should be quite fine. Not only because they are only linking abandonware, and not everyone on this globe resides in preposterously restrictive jurisdictions, and it seems this was even distributed partially to the general public in 1996's Macworld.

  • Some people use the cancellation of Copland as evidence of development priorities gone completely astray at Apple in the 1990s; perhaps the fact that Copland was in the state it was yet they'd still already started porting Cyberdog is better evidence still!
    – Tommy
    Apr 10 '19 at 13:29
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    @Tommy That articles and new books about the future Mac OS 8 still referred to Copland 8.0 (instead of Tempo, 7.7) might be the most revealing part yet to me. Apr 10 '19 at 13:33

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