Leopard at six months: Does it live up to the early hype?

Though some thought it was released too soon, Mac OS X 10.5 has matured into a solid operating system

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What's more, the OS x86 project is looking for ways to install Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware. And just last month, Miami-based PsyStar Corp. popped up to offer Mac clones. It may not be legal, and Apple will no doubt have a few things to say about the venture, but it shows the energy and enthusiasm of those who have used the Mac OS, and is a sure sign of Apple's continuously extending reach.

With Intel chips inside and Boot Camp installed, Macs can now run Windows, meaning no one is necessarily bound to a single operating system. If you are still on the fence about switching but are a fan of Apple hardware, buying a Mac is win-win. Even if you find that Leopard and all of its features don't suit your fancy, you can easily back up your data, reformat your Mac and install any operating system you desire, be it Windows or a Linux distribution. Because Apple generally chooses higher-end components for its Intel-based computers, most current operating systems should work fine.

Though Apple's hardware is what so often draws a crowd -- remember when the iPhone and MacBook Air came out? -- that hardware is just a collection of parts. Leopard is the heart and soul of the Mac.

Michael DeAgonia is a Neal-award winning writer, computer consultant and technologist who has been using Macintoshes and working on them professionally since 1993. His tech-support background includes tenures at Computerworld, colleges, the biopharmaceutical industry, the graphics industry and Apple. Currently, he is working as a Macintosh administrator at a large media company.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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