Mac OS X 10.5.3.

29 05 2008

Mac OS X 10.5.3 Leopard is here, and with it comes many behind-the scenes updates, and some updates that you might notice immediately.

  • Spotlight searching on mounted AFP volumes has been improved.
  • Wireless connectivity has been improved, both for AirPort in general and when using Time Capsule.
  • A number of Automator bugs have been fixed, which is great news for many people, myself included. One in particular—a bug wherein a Finder plug-in wouldn’t work if the first step was “Get Selected Finder Items”—had affected a number of plug-ins that I use regularly. These now all work in 10.5.3.
  • Some bugs with Spaces have been fixed, including one where switching to another application via the Dock takes you to another Space, even if that program had an active window in the current space.
  • A number of Time Machine bugs have been fixed, and Time Machine backups can now be run when your Mac is running on its battery. Previously, you had to connect to a power supply before Time Machine would run.
  • Something that’s not mentioned at all in Apple’s note, but is clearly quite important, are the revised graphics drivers for ATI and Nvidia graphics cards. The 10.5.3 update supposedly delivers improved graphics performance—something that was hinted at in this week’s news on Delicious Library 2.0, which shipped with a warning that those not running 10.5.3 will experience graphics slowdowns. Digging through the installer file, I can see that there are updated extensions for a large number of ATI and Nvidia cards (including on-board video in the mini and MacBooks) in the 10.5.3 update.
  • Other system extensions have also received updates—everything from AirPort to the keyboard backlight to fan management to power management to RAID to storage management. The Multitouch gesture capabilities get an update, as do USB, FireWire, and Bluetooth. Networking technologies are updated, as are file systems such as NTFS, SMB, UDF, and WebDav.
  • There are a ton of modified files in the CoreServices folder, where many critical features of OS X reside. Changes here include the Dock, the Finder, file synchronization, the installer, various menu extras, and the process that manages Time Machine, among others.
  • A number of Dashboard Widgets have been updated. Dictionary, Stocks, Weather, and iCal widgets all have new code (though I’m not sure if they have any new functionality), and Unit Converter and Web Clip contain changes only to non-English files.
  • There are quite a few updates to Macromedia’s Shockwave plug-in, but unfortunately, it’s still a PowerPC plug-in that’s not compatible with Intel Macs (unless you run your browser in Rosetta mode).
  • iSync added support for some new phones from Samsung.
  • A number of other applications received updates of some kind, but the changes were either minor (noted in parentheses below), or I can’t find any detail on what’s changed. Items on this list include DVD Player, Dictionary (something to do with Wikipedia support), Exposè, Photo Booth, Preview (related to PDFs and images), Safari (some language changes on preference panels; help files), Activity Monitor (changes in some phrases), Bluetooth File Exchange, ColorSync Utility (changes in filters and profiles), Directory, Disk Utility (changes in many plug-ins, including those that handle disk first aid, info windows, partitioning, and RAID), Keychain Access, Migration Assistant (lots of changes and a new version number, 1.2.1), RAID Utility (changes in the main window and menu), Remote Install OS X, and X11.

Thats alot in just 8 months!

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