"Featuring Sherlock 2"!

That's how Apple promoted the launch of its new operating system Mac OS 9 seven years ago today.

A lot has happened over the past seven years, but OS 9 (code-named Sonata) seems like decades ago. Since 2000, we've had the OS X Public Beta, Cheetah (Mac OS X 10.0), Puma (10.1), Jaguar (10.2), Panther (10.3), and Tiger (10.4). Next year sees Leopard (10.5).

Actually OS 9 had Sherlock "plus 50 new features", including 128-bit encryption, automatic software updates, multiple accounts, and password key chaining.

None of these delights and the classy Platinum user interface were available to owners of Mac clones, who were forever locked into Mac OS 8.6.

And until recently OS 9 lived on in the form of Apple's "Classic" emulator that allowed OS X systems to run ancient programs.

In May 2002, at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, dressed in black and accompanied by a coffin, held a mock funeral to announce that Apple had stopped development of Mac OS 9.

Introduced in December 2001, Mac OS 9.2.2 was the final version of Mac OS 9, and the end of the classic Mac OS.

Of course, it lives on in a zombie state on all those old Macs that haven't yet made the transition to OS X.

Let us know whether you're still an OS 9 user…