Microsoft is ending support for its venerable Windows XP operating system Apr. 8, 2014, and barring a Jay Leno retiring and unretiring scenario (Microsoft has kept XP alive for security and hot fix patches far longer than it originally intended to), this looks to be XP’s last gasp.
XP was given a reprieve in the enterprise community when Microsoft’s Vista did not bolt from the starting gate—being plagued by a host of third party driver and disruptive interface/GUI issues at its onset, before eventually maturing into a decent OS. By the time this happened however, XP had already been given a new lease on life; many consumers “downgraded” from Vista back to XP when they found things like their printers no longer working in Vista’s early days.
Microsoft is finally forcing its remaining XP customers’ hands with Windows 8 being touted as its successor. Personally, I prefer Windows 7 (plays better than XP in a mixed network environment of Linux, Mac and Windows boxes more so than any Microsoft operating system I’ve used—anyone want to donate a Windows 8 box for my experimenting with so my testing experience is up to date?). But those Microsoft XP customers that haven’t already migrated to Windows 7 may consider jumping ahead to Windows 8 to keep pace with Microsoft’s latest offering.
As a predominantly Mac OS X Leopard, Windows 7, Linux Mint PPC and Ubuntu user, the whole XP users finally moved away from their favorite OS (this time for real!) thing has me shaking my head—not at the unfortunate XP users being left behind by Microsoft, but at how so many years after winning the desktop computing wars, Microsoft becomes like Apple in respect to operating system releases: it wants John Q. Public to buy new computer operating system releases every two and one-half to three years (Apple’s “XP”--OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard users, although given a mid March security update by Apple, undoubtedly will be discarded next). Did I tell you Microsoft would also appreciate your support of their popular Office productivity suite software with a similarly timed purchase? And the computer manufacturers with Microsoft operating system licensing agreements would also appreciate your accompanying new hardware purchase to run Office and Windows 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 to infinity, more efficiently.
Windows XP users will find it difficult to continue running their operating system without regular Microsoft patches. Microsoft’s security patches to Windows operating systems are like fingers to leaking dikes—they must be applied regularly. With that in mind, here are my top ten reasons to keep using Mac OS X 10.5.8 Leopard on your PowerPC Macs:
1. I don’t need no stinking anti-virus or malware protection. Leopard is not a target anymore, if it ever was. And PowerPC machines are not subject to the infestations of Intel Macs. If you are interested in avoiding any possible threat you can run Leopard WebKit, disable older versions of Flash and any Java. In reality, although fear mongers may say otherwise, the potential threat of issues is low.
2. Leopard WebKit to utilize HTML5 in place of older Flash versions for things like YouTube—you’re probably safer watching video this way than with the latest Flash player on Intel Macs and PCs—Flash has long posed security issues, requiring constant updates to avoid vulnerabilities.
3. LibreOffice 4.0.2 for PowerPC—I haven’t tried it, but now that Microsoft has dropped support for Mac Office 2008, it’s already downloaded onto my desktop and ready to go.
5. Still Other Web Browsers Camino, Stainless and Opera. On some days, Opera 10.70 on my PowerPC Mac just seems to make my browsing experience fly…until it hits a page it has trouble rendering and stalls or unexpectedly quits (you can’t have everything!). People criticize PowerPC users for lack of good browsers, but honestly, there are still more available than many realize—the regularly updated AuroraFox is another particularly nimble one worth trying.
6. No iCloud—don’t have an iPad or tablet of any kind, only have an iPhone and web-based mail accounts. There’s Dropbox for those times when something needs transferring or sending.
7. I can upgrade the hardware on my Mac—you can do that with Leopard era machines.
8. Unparalleled durability and longevity of PowerPC Machines on Leopard—countless years of torturing the hardware under intense loads with more software that wasn’t ready for prime time than I care to admit—and never needing to nuke and pave even once.
9. Saving on not needing to purchase AppleCare extended warranties or extended warranties of any kind. Hello value computing, goodbye unnecessary insurance policies for new hardware.
And finally, my top tenth reason for using OS X 10.5.8 Leopard on PowerPC machines:
10. Because I can, and because I suspect much like Windows XP fans, Leopard (and sister cat Snow Leopard–once dropped from security updates by Apple) users will still be finding a way where Microsoft and Apple would have preferred they not, long into the indefinite future.