Consensus is gelling that OS X Lynx (one of the major wild feline names as yet not applied to an OS X version) will be the name for OS X v10.9. It remains to be seen whether consensus is correct, but I hope it is. Strictly speaking, there are 36 wild cat species, leaving some 35 names as yet unused by Apple, but most are pretty obscure. Lynx, however, is a more than worthy candidate, indeed one of my favorite big cats.
Not humongously big in this instance, adult Canada Lynx (Lynx Canadensis) weigh in at 15 to 30 pounds. Known as the “cross-border cat,” Lynx range throughout most of Canada except for the high Arctic, the southern prairies, and, alas, my home of Nova Scotia (we do have Bobcats, a close relative) and neighboring Prince Edward Island. In the U.S., Lynx territory is in Minnesota, Maine, Montana, Washington, Wyoming, Alaska and Colorado, where a reintroduction program has been under way since 1999.
CNET’s Lance Whitney reports that according to a MacRumors report back in July, 2003, Apple trademarked several big cat names, including Lynx, Cougar, Leopard, and Tiger, under the common category of “computers; computer software; computer operating system software.” We know they’ve already used Leopard and Tiger for OS X versions, but Lynx and Cougar are still available.
For several reasons, I think it unlikely they would choose cougar this time around. For one thing, cougar is basically another name for Mountain Lion, as is Puma (OS X 10.1), so Apple would be returning to the same well species-wise for a fourth time. There are also some unfortunate popular cultural connotations associated with the term “cougar.”
Lynx, on the other hand, has no problematical issues I can think of as OS X nomenclature other than that some folks might think it too small a cat to name an OS X version for. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but I think Lynx would be an excellent and appropriate name choice. Known to the Ojibwa as “the vigilant protector of the people,” Lynx may be small, but they’re formidable predators, and while their prey of choice is Snowshoe Hare, reportedly Lynx will bring down animals as large as Caribou when hare are scarce.
The reclusive Lynx is one handsome cat in my estimation, perhaps the best-looking wild cat species of all. For an excellent example, check out a gallery of photos recently shot by Parks Canada employee Alex Taylor of a female Lynx and her nearly full-grown kitten captured in Banff National Park posted on the CTV News Website. The Canadian Press reports that the two Lynx have been hanging around the slopes of the Lake Louise ski resort in Banff National Park for about a month, and that Taylor took the photos while trying to shoo the cats away from a highway on January 31.
Parks Canada officials say Lynx sightings are typically extremely rare, but that this winter has turned out to be to be a peak year for these magnificent animals, which is excellent news. In the 1900s Lynx populations suffered a huge decline because of the fur trade, and was pushed to the brink extinction again when fur prices boomed in the 1970s and 1980s. In America, the Lynx has been listed as a threatened species for a decade, even though it is still trapped. And according to Canadian Geographic, humans remain the biggest Lynx predator, prized by trappers for its beautiful, thick fur coat
The series of Parks Canada photos show the two extremely determined and amazingly flexible cats making their way through a wire mesh fence, then returning from whence they came, presumably by the presence of photographer Taylor. If you click over to check the pictures out, make sure to scroll through to the very end. I think the last photo is priceless, although I’m biased as a cat fancier.
To review, here are the cat names Apple has applied to OS X versions to Date:
- 10.0 Cheetah
- 10.1 Puma
- 10.2 Jaguar
- 10.3 Panther
- 10.4 Tiger
- 10.5 Leopard
- 10.6 Snow Leopard
- 10.7 Lion
- 10.8 Mountain Lion
Adding 10.9 Lynx seems purrfectly logical (sorry!) to me. Of course, there has been no official announcement as yet, and Apple could have other plans, but I do hope they’re on-side with this one.