I love IT wars, always have. Back in the day, I was a columnist for a couple of Amiga computer magazines and more than happy to throw my opinion around concerning just why an Atari was such rubbish by comparison. Things have moved on since then, but also stayed much the same. I was there during the web browser wars and lived to tell the tale (many times over, and got paid for the telling.) I have been there as the PC Vs Mac battles have been fought, and survived without too much emotional damage.

Which is why I am quite saddened to see the longest running bit of computing combat coming to an end: I predict that the release of Mac OS X 10.5 or ‘Leopard’ will, once and for all, win the Great OS War, with Microsoft Vista having no option but to admit defeat in the face of a much stronger, much more worthy opponent.

Now, before all the Windows troops start taking aim at me I should come clean and admit that I am a Windows fan, a Windows user and have never actually managed to get along with any of the Macs I have owned over the years. I am also something of a technological masochist, which probably explains why.

So why am I waving the white flag before Leopard has even been released, before Vista has been released for that matter? Simple, in my never at all humble opinion OS X 10.4 Tiger already beats Vista into a cocked hat. Leopard will take that hat, stamp on it and laugh loudly. Want just one bit of fact to back this up? OK, how about the fact that Microsoft is hyping up the improved security of Vista more than just about anything else. How about the fact that Microsoft is proudly implementing a privilege based, almost UNIX like, security system within Vista. How about the fact that Mac OS X has had this level of system safety built in for, well, forever. Feel free to rearrange the following words into something that best describes this particular Microsoft battle attack strategy: foot, own, shoot.

Here is another volley from the Apple lines that should hit home: if you really want to maintain your relationship with Windows applications through Vista, then you can do it on your Intel based Mac anyway. And when you have finished playing, you can get down to serious business in safety back under Mac OS.

So what does Leopard have that makes it even more of a threat to the Windows OS than OS X 10.4? Steve Jobs has demoed full support for fully native 64-bit UI carbon application; then there is the inclusion of Boot Camp, virtual desktops, and a much-improved Spotlight search that will search other networked Macs. Accessibility issues such as Braille and closed caption support have been addressed, VoiceOver provides a truly human sounding text-to-voice translation service, and a Dashboard Webclip function that can turn a web site into a widget in four clicks.

With Vista hit by ever more delays courtesy of stability issues in the Beta 2 release, Apple is taking the time it has been handed to build yet more functionality into Leopard ahead of the scheduled spring 2007 launch.

Getting back to my IT wars analogy, I maintain that the OS wars are over. But that is OK, I will still get my fill by enjoying reading all the comments that this particular brain dump is likely to create. Muhahaha...

About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to Forbes.com, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...

I haven't really used Macs all that much (regular Windows maniac here), but I have to agree with you. Microsoft has been touting the Security horn so loudly for Vista that it makes XP seem like swiss cheese in terms of holes. Granted MS have a LOT of projects going on in their stables, but that does not mean you release an insecure product, like the first release of XP. Sure, Service Pack 2 plugeed those holes, but after how many years? The truth is that Mac OS, being built on Unix code, is extremely secure. So why does this realisation dawn so late on MS? Probably because they command so much of the market, they really won't lose much if they ship an insecure product. What matters to them is quantity over quality, which I'm afraid will not keep them going forever. However, I for one disagree that the OS wars are over. Infact, I believe that after the release of Vista, Windows addicts will start touting how MS implemented the security better than Mac. Let's wait and see how things turn out.

Macs arent that secure as people believe and the quality of the iLife Suite has been slipping for years you can find many hardcore mac fans switching to Linux now.


Free operating sytems and opensource is where the industry is going or should go not crazy camera effects and a time machine. Ubuntu is the best example (i dont mean that they are the best distro) but they are getting the word out for linux. They have billboards and ship freecds and stickers. The installation is easier than any windows install and it is not dependant on proprietary hardware to run.

Yes, helloooo, can you say Linux? As if there is only two operating systems in the OS wars. In fact, for corporate users, it has been a Windows vs. Linux war, not Windows vs. Mac, especially in the last few years. With Novell pushing Suse for an alternate (corp) desktop and funding interoperability for OpenOffice (they have a large project in getting Excel macros to work with it as an example) as well as running Windows-based applications unmodified, the future is looking much better for Linux on the desktop than ever before and is only a matter of time before consumers start using it more.

One thing that has to change in order for wider accpetance is OEMs need to start offering it. As long as Microsoft has a lock on that segment, it will be slow going.