What is the closest thing to Windows notepad on the Mac?
I'm using Leopard.
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TextEdit is included with OS X.
You can change it to Plain Text (
Format > Make Plain Text) for non-RTF text editing, or make Plain Text the default (
Preferences > Format).
If you want simple text editing, use TextEdit.
For code editing, one of the best choices is TextMate.
As already stated, TextEdit is the notepad of OS X (although a more powerful notepad that is). For more advanced stuff, TextMate (already recommended) is very nice. A nice free and famous alternative is Bare Bones's TextWrangler.
You can do pretty much with either.
FYI - you can default TextEdit to plain text when it opens:
Can't believe it took me this long to figure that out
I recommend Textmate, that works out-of-the-box just like notepad, plus you can activate (if you wish) more and more functions.