Five reasons not to make the jump to Leopard -- yet

Old hardware, older apps? You might want to wait before upgrading

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That means either living without those programs until updates are available, or waiting to upgrade. Users who aren't sure what works and what doesn't should check with their software vendors first. And it's likely big-name vendors will push out updates for their apps fairly quickly.

On a related note, anyone with software that modifies Apple's kernel extensions should hold back on an upgrade; those kernel extension mods will almost certainly have to be rewritten specifically to work with the new OS kernel. It's also unclear that hardware drivers specific to Tiger or previous versions of Mac OS X will, in fact, work properly with Leopard. Drivers have broken with every new version of Mac OS X -- or any other operating system, for that matter. Caveat emptor.

4. Fear of change. Everyone always says you shouldn't buy the first-year model of any car, nor should you get .0 versions of software. Wait for the .1 or .2 release, goes the advice. (Although Leopard is Version 10.5 of Mac OS X, it's really the equivalent of a 5.0 release of other software. So in this case, the advice would be to wait for Version 10.5.1 or 10.5.2.)

No doubt, this operating system, like all others, will have bugs not yet found or squashed. If you're the naturally cautious type, why rush headlong into an upgrade, especially in a work environment, when you can wait a few weeks for the inevitable update?

This was an issue for some with Tiger -- and is especially important in a business environment, where broken apps can mean lost money. Anyone burned by the move to Tiger in 2005 will no doubt be chary of moving to Leopard too soon.

5. Tiger is "good enough." If Leopard doesn't offer any immediate must-have software or changes, and everyone at the office -- or at home -- is chugging along just fine with Mac OS X 10.4, then there's no need to rush an upgrade now. This is especially true for users who are planning to buy new hardware soon. Why spend $129 now when Leopard will be included for free with the next Mac you buy?

The bottom-line advice: If it ain't broke, buying Leopard won't fix it. But if Leopard offers useful tools, doesn't break older programs and your hardware is up to date, the choice is yours.

Ken Mingis is Computerworld's Online News Editor and Macintosh Knowledge Center Editor.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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