Apple to only offer security fixes for Panther?

— 11:51 AM on October 30, 2003

There's a disturbing article over at C|Net suggesting Apple may only be offering security fixes for the latest version of its Mac OS X operating system. Apple's new Panther version of OS X reportedly contains more than a dozen "security enhancements" not available to owners of previous versions of OS X. These security enhancements aren't just new security features; some are bug fixes for specific vulnerabilities in the operating system.

Were Panther a free upgrade, this wouldn't be news. However, Apple charges $129 for the Panther OS X upgrade and has yet to comment on whether it will eventually offer those "security enhancements" in a free patch for older versions of OS X. Microsoft catches a lot of flak for how many vulnerabilities it's had to patch in Windows XP, but at least those security fixes have been offered free of charge.

What irks me most about this story is the fact Apple is so quick to tout OS X's security features. In addition to claiming that OS X offers the "highest level of security," Apple has this to say about the operating system's Auto Update feature:

Mac OS X can download software updates automatically, ensuring that you stay current with the latest security patches and software releases directly from Apple. Apple digitally signs the updates, so you can be sure they come from a trusted source.
Now that Panther is out, it appears OS X users may have to pay to stay current with the latest security patches. Can someone inside the RDF please give this a positive spin for me?
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