Apple Ships Latest, Possibly Biggest Update to Mac OS X Leopard
That's more than enough to push many people whose Internet connections come with bandwidth limits over their monthly quotas, so I must applaud Apple for making such a public demonstration of the potential problems with this approach. (Your actual download, however, may vary; on one Mac, the Software Update tool offered a 449-meg file; on another, it had a 286-meg download awaiting.)
What's in it for the rest of us? That's not entirely clear. Apple's release notes gloss over a fair amount of detail in such bland statements as:
Addresses a situation that may cause issues when logging into Gmail.
Includes several improvements to Directory Service and Client Management.
Includes other printing reliability and stability improvements.
OK, then. This is an issue I've complained about before: The trouble Apple sometimes has talking to its customers about what it's up to. To see what the 10.5.7 release notes could have been like, consider the separate document that explains the security fixes included in this release. It describes the possible attacks addressed by this package, the vulnerability that made each attack easier and the changes made to close that hole. It does so without drowning the user in details (though you can Google the "CVE" numbers atop each section for more info; yes, Apple should link back to that technical documentation).
Most users will, sensibly enough, take Apple at its word and let this install proceed. But some will wonder just what it does; some may find that it causes other complications on their systems and will have to guess what parts of this update could have been at fault.
If you would like to know more about this update, your best option is to watch the usual Mac-news sites -- I recommend MacInTouch and TidBits -- for the far more comprehensive reports they should soon have ready. (See, for example, TidBits editor Adam Engst's breakdown of all the improvements provided by a patch that Apple merely said "improves overall stability and addresses minor issues in a number of areas, including Faces, Places, photo sharing, and slideshows.")
In economic terms, Apple seems to have decided that it's easier to crowdsource its release notes. And here I am, endorsing the results of that strategy!
So far, I've only installed this update on one computer, without any apparent ill effects; if I don't see any other reports of trouble, I'll put it on my own Mac by this weekend. How about you? If you've put 10.5.7 on your Mac, let me know how it's worked out in the comments.
May 13, 2009; 10:28 AM ET
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