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I am using it on Windows!!
I would guess that the Canon software is showing you the image with an unreasonably high amount of sharpening applied. Their defaults are not good, you should reset them if you're going to use the Canon converter.
What you're seeing in Camera Raw is an artifact that's unique to that converter. It is the one reason I still use Capture One for images that have level 255 transitions. The Canon converter handles those transitions smoothly as well.
The image with posterization is really bugging me. Ive opened it on another computer with CS3 and it looks fine so I'm wondering if its a graphics card issue???? I have considered getting Capture One LE. You obviously rate it for certain jobs. Any other advice you can give would be welcome.
The Pro version is $400. A bit spendy to save a halo from posterization.
Capture One LE is $99.
The issue of "posterization" around specular 255 highlights has been with ACR since day one. I don't know if that is what the OP is describing. If so, Capture One (both versions) will absolutely fix it.
You might check out the Definge in the Lens Correction. . .
I will look at Defringe but might also look at Capture One