Mac OS X updated to 10.5.6 -- should I care?

Mac OS X v10.5, aka Leopard, was released on October 26th, 2007. When people first upgraded, I recall hearing more complaints than is typical of a major Apple OS release. My own efforts were plagued with lost passwords, broken keyboards, and more. But much has changed in the last year, most recently with today's release of v10.5.6 of Apple's latest operating system. Such news doesn't have much impact to those of us still running OS X's previous iteration, known as Tiger. Don't get me wrong — I'm an Apple fanboy, having used their products for nearly three decades now. But I'm not always what you'd call "cutting edge": I still use my Apple II computer, and I don't have an iPhone (or any other cell phone). So it's possible I'm not the kind of power user Leopard is designed for, as I don't seem to be suffering much for still having not upgraded, 14 months later. I assume in the company of Computerworld readers, I'm in the minority. I'd like to invite you to help me understand what I'm missing. Wikipedia lists among Leopard's new features 23 significant ones. Not all appeal to everyone; here are a few I think I can dismiss: • Boot Camp, which lets Mac users run Windows. I may need an actual copy of Windows to enjoy this feature, but I don't need Leopard. Parallels, VMWare Fusion, and CrossOver Mac all work with Tiger. You could argue that Boot Camp is "free" by being included with Leopard — but so is CrossOver, courtesy their October 28th promotion. • Back to My Mac, a feature aimed for MobileMe users. I have only one Mac and no mobile devices, so synchronization and remote access tools are lost on me. • iChat enhancements. In Tiger, I use iChat with Chax. Is there more to iChat than that? • Mail enhancements, including RSS. I've already used TinkerTool to disable Safari's RSS capability; is there an advantage to having it in Mail? Granted, I do prefer a Mail-like interface for my RSS, which is why I use Cyndicate as a standalone reader. But given that I currently sort my email into more than 100 Mail folders, adding RSS to the mix might be a bit overwhelming. • Spaces. I'm not sure about this one. I don't currently use Exposé and question whether I'd be able to incorporate Spaces into my workflow. But there are a few reasons even my dubious self can see to upgrading to Leopard: • Compatibility. A shrinking number of new releases offer support for older operating systems. Here at Computerworld, many of my co-workers track their data using Evernote. At home, I would like to catalog my DVD and book libraries using barcode scanning software such as Delicious Library 2. Both of these programs' software requirements exclude Tiger. • Screen sharing. Remote control of another Macintosh is currently possible using Apple Remote Desktop, but Leopard includes this feature in iChat as well, making it easier to, say, troubleshoot my father's computer. • Time Machine. My main computer is a MacBook Pro that I carry to and from work every day. At both places, I have an external Firewire drive that I connect to and let SuperDuper do its thing. Can Time Machine improve on this process? I'm not a Leopard hater, but I'm hesitant to invest time and energy in making a change that won't pay me back with increased efficiency and flexibility. I welcome any suggestions that Leopard is worth the effort.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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