With all of the bad news about Apple floating around, some Mac users may get the impression that the fat lady is about to sing. Well, don't start drowning your sorrows in your favourite brew just yet.
System 8 is here and it is something to cheer about. System 8, codenamed Buster, should not be confused with Rhapsody, the new OS based on the OpenStep operating system which Apple bought from Steve Jobs' NeXt company this year.
Mac users will have to wait until next year for a truly modern operating system, but Buster is not to be sneezed at. Features added to System 8 include a PowerPC native, multi-threaded Finder. The multi-threading allows system-level tasks, such as copying a file or emptying the trash, to be performed simultaneously, which means no time lags.
System 8 consumes about the same amount of Ram as System 7.6. Buster adds OpenTransport 1.2, a new appearance manager, contextual menus and new Finder shortcuts, which means it adds keyboard shortcuts that make some tasks easier and more efficient.
System 8's networking is improved, and it looks cool. Some of the changes to the Finder include allowing you to change icons to buttons so they can be opened with a single click. Folders can be set to arrange icons in neat rows and columns according to name, size or date.
The changes make Buster a more efficient system. The biggest claim made by advocates of System 8, however, is that it is a much more stable system to work on.
Upgrades should be available in Hong Kong this month for about $750.