With Leopard coming out this week I thought it would be a good time to talk about how OS X is correctly pronounced. There seems to be some confusion, with most people either saying “Oh Es Ex” or “Oh Es Ten“. So which is it?
At the center of this issue is a simple concept that you either accept or you don’t: when an authority for a particular product or movement explicitly states how that thing is pronounced, that pronunciation does in fact become the correct one.
Examples of this include Linus Torvalds clearly stating that Linux is to be pronounced “linicks” ( Video ) and Ubuntu Linux‘s creators giving an exact phonetic breakdown of how to pronounce their product [oo-boon-too] ( Ubuntu.com ). The point is that if the creator is still alive (and they offer an opinion on the matter) we can use them as the ultimate authority.
With OS X many people point to the fact that Steve Jobs clearly says, “Oh Es Ten” when he says the name. That’s fairly convincing, but it turns out there’s an even better illustration: we can ask the operating system itself how to pronounce its own name. OS X comes with a built-in program called
say which literally “says” anything you tell it to.
[ Video Demo ]
Why debate it when we can go right to the source? The trick is that if you tell it to say the letter “X”, it says “Ex”. But if you tell it to say, “OS X“, it says “Oh Es Ten“. (See Video)
me@computer me $ say “X”
me@computer me $ say “OS X”
Oh Es Ten.
We were just told precisely how to say “OS X” by the best possible source — the operating system itself.: