Apple ships OS X 10.6.5 update: its biggest yet?
On Wednesday, Apple shipped its fifth patch to Snow Leopard, the 10.6 version of Mac OS X that it delivered in August 2009.
OS X 10.6.5, to judge from its characteristically vague release notes, is not the most consequential update ever. It fixes such glitches as "an issue syncing Address Book with Google" (what issue? who knows?) and "a delay between print jobs."
This patch also packs a large assortment of security fixes, addressing 55 vulnerabilities in Adobe's Flash player alone and dozens in OS X's component software. Those fixes by themselves justify installing 10.6.5.
But what sets this update apart is its massive size. It weighs in at 977.2 megabytes for the "combo update" download you can apply on a factory-stock installation of Snow Leopard and 644.5 MB for the "delta update" that requires OS X 10.6.4.
(Individual computers may not need such an enormous file. The 10.6.5 patch was a 680.1 MB download on a MacBook Air and a relatively svelte 517.3 MB on an iMac. The update didn't blow up either computer.)
As downloads go, the 10.6.5 update squashes earlier releases flat. It outstrips everything listed on the chart Mac developer Paul Schreiber put together last year, listing the download sizes of every patch up to 10.5.7, as well as most prior Snow Leopard fixes available on Apple's site.
One exception: The delta update of 10.6.3 outweighs 10.6.5, but its combo version can't match 10.6.5's combo. I'll leave it to you all to issue a ruling on which update officially counts as "biggest ever."
For users with broadband access, these ever-larger downloads aren't a serious obstacle, even if they are getting a little ridiculous. (The current version of Ubuntu Linux--including the entire operating system and bundled applications--clocks in at 693 MB.) But if you're still on dial-up ... I guess you either visit the Apple Store or have a broadband-blessed friend download the update and mail you a
CD DVD or a USB flash drive.
What workaround would you advise for a Mac user with a slow connection? And when do you think an OS X update will break the one-gigabyte mark?
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