Apple is adding an L2TP\/IPSec VPN client to its upcoming Mac OS X Panther operating system.This means that, like Microsoft, the operating system will support remote access Internet VPN sessions with standards-based VPN servers. In particular, it will support them with Microsoft and Cisco VPN servers as well as Apple\u2019s own OS X Server.The attraction of this is twofold. First, one of the drawbacks of IPSec remote access VPNs is client software distribution, management and maintenance. If a VPN client is included in the remote machine\u2019s operating system, there is no need to distribute a separate client, and upgrading it becomes part of the operating system maintenance.Second, if a VPN client is supported on the operating system, it becomes much easier to grant collaborators or business partners temporary VPN access.Interoperability with Microsoft and Cisco VPN gear makes the Panther client complementary to two of the largest VPN vendors, increasing the likelihood that it will be useful to customers. So a customer with a Panther operating system on a remote computer could access a Microsoft VPN server or a Cisco gateway with the Panther VPN software.Apple is pricing its VPN support differently from the way Microsoft does with the VPN client in its Windows operating systems. OS X Server comes with VPN support for as many clients as the customer wants at no extra charge. Microsoft charges per client that its servers support.Mac OS X Panther is scheduled to ship by the end of the year.