Service packs..are they free?

rodviking

Registered
Hi there,

I just ordered a Mac Mini, it will be my first Mac (long time Linux and Windows user here).

I was talking to a friend and he "warned" me that the service packs for Mac OS X are not free, they cost around 99 dollars..sounds a bit weird for me.

Sorry if this question is as lame as I think it is, but I'd like to clear this up.

Thanks

Rod
 

nixgeek

Mac of the SubGenius! :-)
Your friend is VERY misinformed. Any "dot-zero" release is meant to be purchased since it is a significant upgrade. Think of it as upgrading from Windows 2000 to Windows XP. They had significant differences that justified having to purchase it. Same with Mac OS X when you go from 10.3.x to 10.4.x, for example. This would be a major release.

Now, for upgrades going from 10.4 to 10.4.1 to 10.4.2 for example, you wouldn't need to purchase anything new, as they are meant to be maintenance releases for the 10.4 version of the operating system. These are minor releases.

The minor releases can be seen as the service packs for Windows which your friend ws comparing to. You don't purchase service packs for Windows since they are meant to be maintenance releases, just as 10.4.2 would be a maintenance release for 10.4 as a whole.

Now the $99 cost is when you buy an upgrade version of Mac OS X, meaning it's meant to upgrade a previous version of Mac OS X that's installed on your Mac. This isn't different from what Microsoft sold so that you can upgrade from any previous version of Windows to Windows XP at a reduced price. The catch with these "upgrade" versions at reduced price is that you can't do an installation from scratch with it. This is where the full version comes into play, and at a higher cost since it not only allows you to upgrade an existing system, but also allows you to perform a clean installation from scratch. The full version of Windows XP is about 200 bucks, while the upgrade version is cheaper. The full version of Mac OS X is about 129 dollars, while the UPGRADE version is about 99 dollars.

By the way, be sure to let your friend know as well... ;)
 

fryke

Moderator
Staff member
Mod
Then again, in the past, Apple wanted us to pay 129 USD per YEAR (this ended with Tiger only), so that's where the idea comes from that Apple charges for service packs. Also, "10.3" doesn't sound like a big step, hence the whole codename becomes product name thingie.

Either way: Currently, Apple's on a 1.5 year cycle. Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) is expected at the end of 2006/early 2007, and will cost 129 USD, probably (from all we know from the past). Until then, Mac users will enjoy free 10.4.x updates. And even when Leopard comes out, you're not _forced_ to adopt 10.5, although Apple will sure make it sound worth it. And it probably will be worth it, anyway.
 

barhar

Registered
Apple does not release 'service packs for Mac OS X'. They do release 'Update's, 'Combo' update's, and 'Security Update's; all of which are free. These type of updates are termed - minor releases.
A major release will cost you - in money, time, updates, and new and improved 'features' (bugs).

There are two ways to obtain the above type of releases.
01. Via the 'Apple, Software Update...' menu item (this is the same as 'System Preferences', 'Software Update' utility).
You can set 'Software Update' to check for updates automatically; and, can have the needed files (based on your installed MacOS) automatically installed. (see 'My recommendations:' below)
02. Via the Apple Downloads web site.

My recommendations:
01. Use the 'Apple, Software Update...' menu item to obtain a list of the suggested downloads (they have check mark in the respective check boxes); then go to the downloads web page, and manually download the needed file(s).
This way you have the true installer(s), which should be backed up - for possible future re-installs, etc., and can install such at any time.
02. Do not consult with someone who is not knowledgeable of the subject at hand.
 

symphonix

Scratch & Sniff Committee
My recommendations:
01. Use the 'Apple, Software Update...' menu item to obtain a list of the suggested downloads (they have check mark in the respective check boxes); then go to the downloads web page, and manually download the needed file(s).
This way you have the true installer(s), which should be backed up - for possible future re-installs, etc., and can install such at any time.
There is an easier way to do this. Go to Apple --> Software Update. Select the packages you want, then go to the File menu and choose "Install and keep Package" to install these updates and keep the installers stored in your /Library/Packages folder, so that you can use them again if need be without having to download again.

There is also a "Download Package Only" (or something like that) in that menu which gets the packages into that folder and doesn't install them yet, so you can still install them manually if you wish. Much, much easier than going to the website and searching for each package you need!

And yes, Apple's essential software updates, such as drivers and security patches, are allways free. Its only when a new OS is released with new features that you must pay to get it, just as you would pay to upgrade from Windows XP to Longhorn (in around the year 2036).
 

ElDiabloConCaca

U.S.D.A. Prime
Besides, you could purchase two Mac OS X upgrades for the cost of one Windows upgrade.

$129 is cheap when you consider it gets you a full operating system. Windows upgrades frequently cost more than that and require you have an existing installation, original CDs or serial number from a previous version. The only problem that some people have with this is that Apple doesn't offer a true "upgrade" -- you simply purchase the entire operating system, regardless of whether you're upgrading or installing for the first time.
 

RacerX

Old Rhapsody User
The thing that most Windows users don't know is that Windows 2000 is actually Windows NT 5.0 and Windows XP is actually Windows NT 5.1. Unless you considered the move from NT 5.0 to NT 5.1 to be a service pack (which it shouldn't be) you shouldn't consider a move from 10.3 to 10.4 (or 10.4 to 10.5) to be a service pack either.

So if you are worried about paying $129 for moving from 10.4 to 10.5, you should consider that moving from NT 5.0 to NT 5.1 cost $199.
 

scruffy

Notorious Olive Counter
You should note that Apple keeps providing security patches for the current release, and the current release - 1. So, they now maintain security patches for 10.3 and 10.4; once they release 10.5 they'll probably stop maintaining security patches for 10.3 pretty soon after.

With the 1.5 year upgrade cycle, this essentially means you have to buy a new OS once every 3 years. You probably know best how often you upgrade computers - for me, that means I'd have to buy a new OS at least once in the life of a Mac (though I generally do get each OS, rather than every other one).
 

LovesMacs

Registered
To everyone who responded to "Service Packs, are they free"?... thank you all for the education. I started on an iMac 233, went over to Windows and back to Mac and upgraded to a PBookG4/Tiger. After reading everything, I'm so glad I'm back to the Mac!

Thanks!
Carolyn :)
 
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