I remember the first moment that I moved a mouse across a Mac OS X Desktop — at that time, it was the beta of version 10.0 — and I very well remember the word elegant as my first impression. (My second impression was UNIX done better.)

That's really saying something because I'm an old operating system curmudgeon: I cut my computing teeth on Atari, Commodore 64, and TRS‐80 Model III machines, and I still feel much at home in the character‐based environment of DOS and UNIX. Of course, I've also used every version of Windows that His Gateness has produced, including the much‐improved Windows XP. And yes, I've used Mac OS since before the days of System 7, using a Macintosh SE with a 9‐inch monitor (and a built‐in handle).

But out of this host of operating systems, could you really call one elegant before now? (Even Mac OS 9 didn't deserve such a description although it did provide the foundation of convenience and simplicity.) Mac OS X — now at version 10.5, affectionately called Leopard — is something different: It's a fine‐cut diamond amongst a handful of semi‐precious stones. It's the result of an unnatural marriage, I'll admit …the intuitive, graphical world of Mac OS 9 paired with the character‐based stability and efficient multitasking of UNIX. Who would have thought that they would work together so well? Mac OS X performs like a Ferrari, and (unbelievably) it looks as good, too.

Therefore, you can imagine just how excited I was to be asked by my friends at ...

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