Many regional newspapers worldwide are still using Mac OS 9 because moving to OS X is too expensive.

Staff retraining and software- and hardware-upgrade costs make the move prohibitively expensive for limited-budget newspapers.
The Press Enterprise in Pennsylvania (PEP) is a typical example, this week announcing that is it considering moving from Macs to a Wintel set-up.

PEP associate publisher Ken Eyerly said: "The migration to OS X is a big issue. We are now investigating whether we should upgrade to OS X or instead go all-PC because of the costs involved with upgrading.

"OS X is not backward compatible and with the prospect of Apple stopping its support of (prior operating systems) it might make more sense to switch."

Meanwhile, California-based Mattos Newspapers vice president and general manager Susan Mattos told Newspapers and Technology: "If we want new software we have to spend a lot of money to make it happen."

Mattos said: "We may be forced to upgrade to OS X, or risk being unable to find suitable software or technical assistance from Apple or other vendors. It is truly a no-win situation. The larger newspapers seem to have an easier time upgrading because they have more revenue and tend to keep all of their equipment up to current versions."

But not all small papers are so unwilling to switch to OS X. Colorado-based Gunnison County Times upgraded following OS X's initial release in 2001.

Country Times production manager Stephen Pierotti said: "We saw OS X as an alternative to having to purchase additional office-related third-party software. Wwitching to OS X gave us packaged apps such as Mac Mail, iCal and Address Book." However, the newspaper continues to use QuarkXPress Classic mode.

Alyson Williams, director of newspaper software-solutions provider Digital Technology International, said: "For most newspapers upgrading requires new hardware, and upgraded versions of almost every application means additional training. Because of this, newspapers might need to time an OS upgrade to coincide with a system upgrade or new installation."

However, industry analyst Kevin Slimp said: "Several publishers of Windows-based publications have told me that following the release of Mac OS X 10.3 Panther they prefer the Mac environment for publishing."