I'm using a 10.5.8 right now. Do I really have to buy Snow Leopard to upgrade FOR FREE to Mavericks????

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    YES! In order to upgrade to any OS after OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard), you must have the "App Store" app on your Mac. In order to get the "App Store" app you must have installed Snow Leopard and updated to OS 10.6.8. (The update automatically adds the App Store app.)

    BTW: If you are running OS 10.5.8, check that your Mac supports Mavericks.

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