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The NY Times uses both "on Mac OS X" and "in Mac OS X". Can someone explain which one seems more appropriate if there is no difference?

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Can you be more specific? The preposition choice highly depends on the sentence and, more specifically, on the verb used. If you ask for a certain verb, it'd be easier to answer. Related (not sure if they are dupes yet): “on a project” vs “in a project”, “in orbit” vs. “on orbit” –  Alenanno Jan 31 '12 at 9:54
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2 Answers

To me, at least, "on Mac OS X" refers to things that run on top of Mac OS X, while "in Mac OSX" refers to things that are part of Mac OS X.

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+1. On Mac OS, MS Word does such-and-such. In Mac OS, memory is managed by thus-and-such. –  Monica Cellio Jan 31 '12 at 15:36
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In computer terminology, "on" typically refers to things that involve a "platform":

I sell my music on Amazon.

My website is on the World Wide Web.

"In" will refer to specific programs, stores or components:

I sell my music in the iTunes store.

To open a file in Excel...

The confusion around Mac OS X is that it qualifies as both a platform and a specific piece of software depending on context:

My application runs on Mac OS X.

To delete a file in Mac OS X...

So the correct answer is that it depends on the specific usage. David Schwartz's answer provides a good rule of thumb for determining which usage is correct in a given scenario.

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@AndrewLeach: Yep, pretty much the same thing I noted here. That question was closed, unfortunately. :P –  MrHen Oct 24 '13 at 16:15
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