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Software Inventory

When the preview build of Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) came along recently, I decided to do a completely fresh installation of my very large software "collection" and start over. At first, I assumed Leopard would be too unstable to form a base for this new start---after all, it's still in an Alpha stage (as of September 2006). However, so far I've been quite impressed with its degree of stability. With only a few exceptions---mostly in some of the newer functionality---Leopard has proven very reliable indeed. Some of the new features are so compelling for me---particularly the enhancements to Safari, Preview, Mail, and Automator, and the wonderful new DashCode tool---that I decided to try to move as much of my current production environment to the Leopard "fresh slate" as I could.

Having decided this, it seemed logical to turn my housecleaning project into a baseline configuration project. In other words, I would start with nothing but Mac OS X and the Apple apps, and I would move to Leopard all of the software I need for the various projects I'm engaged in, as the need arises. I would document each change to the baseline configuration and note what kind of software or configuration change I was making. This way, I'd end up with a complete software inventory, including all of the various bits that make up my rich Mac OS X environment. In the process, I'd clean out software I don't really need, which can only be a good thing.

Where possible, I'll link items from my Leopard software inventory to product home pages or to reviews I've written in my Software Addicts library. For each software item, I'll document

  • Where in the user interface the software is used (Desktop, menubar, preference pane, contextual menu, keyboard shortcut, services menu, Dashboard, etc.), and
  • What main functions I use the software for. (The functional categories correspond to ones I currently use to organize applications on my Tiger system.)

The functions and user interface components are listed in the navigation tabs on the right-hand side of Building Leopard as well as in the individual software listings.

Each listing also shows the current version of the software I'm using, as well as the date I added it to my Leopard baseline configuration. The Timeline page also shows the software inventory, organized by date in chronological order. The order in which I'm adding software to the Leopard build is a rough approximation of the importance I place on each software title.

Some software gets added to Leopard but then is found to be unusable (e.g., Nuevos, DevonThink Pro). These titles are noted with a strike-through typeface.