Mac OS X Leopard: A perfect 10
Apple's new operating system and its massive new feature set challenge users and developers to explore new and better ways of workingFollow @infoworld
You can reasonably argue that in the commercial space, Windows is always Windows plus Office, and that the combination exceeds Leopard's core capabilities in many ways. Setting cost aside for now, what Office opens to the user does not improve their productivity when they step outside Office. Indeed, there is an entire industry dedicated to creating desktops that effectively boot into Office and hide Windows entirely because, from the standpoint of IT, giving desktop users the run of Windows adds nothing but trouble. This is the reason behind Vista's failure to thrive: IT doesn't want a pretty Windows; IT wants a thin and invisible one, out of users' reach. Over time, Microsoft has filled out Office to function as a user's sole interface, not only to the system, but to the network and the services wired into it. It usually falls to IT to extend Office's capabilities at the server layer, and at great expense.
As to cost, when tallied frankly, the price of a single commercial Windows desktop in an enterprise is potentially infinite, and it is a continuous and growing expense. It is so burdensome that outsourcing the management of Windows clients is another Microsoft-fed industry.
As much as the idea of a PC booting to Office appeals to IT, the idea of a Mac booting to Office is patently absurd. Even hard-core Windows shops concede that point. Likewise, nobody pays for outsourced management of Mac desktops or servers. OS X takes care of that.
Now that you understand how Leopard got its 300-plus features (new frameworks extended to the Mac's out-of-the-box user experience) and where it fits, I can move into the review proper. Here, I do not presume that the reader is familiar with the Mac beyond the groundwork that I have laid above.
There are three ways for users to get the Leopard client: As a single-DVD upgrade for their existing Intel or PowerPC-based Mac, as a set of installable discs placed in the box with Macs that ship with Tiger installed, or preinstalled on a new Mac. OS X installs without requiring registration, activation, or a product key. Because you can run OS X only on a Mac, Apple doesn't consider this necessary.
When installed on a new Mac, Leopard includes a digital media suite called iLife '08, which includes iMovie, Garage Band, iDVD, iWeb, and iPhoto. Discussion of this suite is beyond the mission of this review. These elements are well worth discussing in a commercial context, much more so than the multimedia that's in the box with costly editions of Vista. Rather than taking the space here, I'll address iLife '08 in my Enterprise Mac blog. I will review iWork '08, Apple $79 desktop productivity suite, which includes word processing/layout, spreadsheet, and presentation applications, separately.
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