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Mac OS X 10.6.5 Continues to Squash Bugs

With the just-released Mac OS X 10.6.5, the latest version of Snow Leopard, Apple continues to eliminate bugs that were undoubtedly either unknown until recently or so minor that they weren’t deemed sufficiently important to address before this. Also addressed are numerous security vulnerabilities.

Feature Enhancements and Bug Fixes -- The only two functional enhancements in 10.6.5 are SSL support for transferring files with iDisk, which is a welcome nod to the need for secure connections, and raw image compatibility with additional digital cameras. For a full list, see “Mac OS X v10.6: Supported digital camera RAW formats.” (Also released last week was Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Update 3.4, which extends raw image format compatibility to Aperture 3 and iPhoto ’09 for some new camera models.)

In fact, the details of the rest of the fixes are so specific that I can’t even see any way to group or summarize them. I recommend reading down the remaining 22-item bullet list to see if you’ve encountered any of the problems that 10.6.5 addresses.

  • Improves reliability with Microsoft Exchange servers. (TidBITS Contributing Editor Mark Anbinder tells me that if the user sets a message priority in Mail, Exchange no longer discards that attribute when the message hits the server. He went on to say that a much bigger deal is that calendar permission delegation in iCal seems to have been fixed.)

  • Addresses performance of some image-processing operations in iPhoto and Aperture.

  • Addresses stability and performance of graphics applications and games.

  • Resolves a delay between print jobs.

  • Addresses a printing issue for some HP printers connected to an AirPort Extreme.

  • Resolves an issue when dragging contacts from Address Book to iCal.

  • Addresses an issue in which dragging an item from a stack causes the Dock to not automatically hide.

  • Resolves an issue in which Wikipedia information may not display correctly in Dictionary.

  • Improves performance of MainStage on certain Macs.

  • Resolves spacing issues with OpenType fonts.

  • Improves reliability with some Bluetooth braille displays.

  • Resolves a VoiceOver issue when browsing some Web sites with Safari 5.

  • Improves Bluetooth pairing with Magic Trackpad.

  • Resolves performance issues with third-party displays that use InstaPort technology.

  • Resolves an issue when opening 4-up Photo Booth pictures in Preview.

  • Addresses keyboard responsiveness issues in the Dock when Spaces is turned on.

  • Resolves an issue syncing Address Book with Google.

  • Fixes an issue when replying to a Mail message sent by a person whose name contains certain characters such as é or ü.

  • Improves performance for users bound to an Active Directory domain.

  • Improves reliability of Ethernet connections.

  • Systems with a Mac Pro RAID Card (Early 2009) installed can now be put to sleep. For more information, see “Mac Pro RAID Card (Early 2009): Enabling system sleep.”

  • Improves reliability of fibre channel connections, resolving a potential Xsan volume availability issue.

Mac OS X Server 10.6.5 includes all of the above changes, along with numerous other fixes and small enhancements to Chat Service, client management, Directory Services, Mail Service, Podcast Service, Server Admin, Software Update Service, System Image Utility, PHP, Web Calendar, Wiki Service, and Xsan. Plus, Apple has released Server Admin Tools 10.6.5, with all the latest versions of Apple’s administration tools.

Security Fixes -- More important, though less obvious to most Mac users, are the numerous security fixes rolled into 10.6.5, over 50 all told. Vulnerabilities were eliminated in numerous areas of the operating system, including AFP Server, AppKit, Apple Type Services, CFNetwork, Core Graphics, Core Text, Directory Services, disk image handling, the fsck_hfs application, Image Capture, ImageIO, Image RAW, the kernel, Quick Look, QuickTime, Safari RSS, Time Machine, and Mac OS X’s printing and networking subsystems.

Along with vulnerabilities closed in those parts of Apple’s code, Mac OS X 10.6.5 also rolls in updates to bundled open source software, including Apache, CUPS, gzip, neon, OpenLDAP, OpenSSL, PHP, python, X11, and xar.

Flash Player merits special attention, since Apple’s inclusion of version (the current version) addresses 56 different vulnerabilities since the previously shipped version. That’s somewhat deceptive, since Mac OS X 10.6.4 shipped with Flash Player even when was current with fixes for numerous security holes. In short, don’t depend on Apple to provide the latest version of Flash Player; it’s a huge target for security exploits and Adobe is constantly releasing new versions to address significant problems.

Three of the security changes are specific to Mac OS X Server, notably fixes to Password Server and Wiki Server, and a new version of MySQL.

As always, there’s no telling how many of the vulnerabilities, if any, have actually been exploited by scoundrels, but it’s generally a good idea to stay current with security fixes since many of them can be triggered by opening a maliciously crafted file, and there’s no way to know in advance if a file is malicious.

Downloading -- With updates to Mac OS X, it’s usually easiest to let Software Update download just the code that applies to your specific Mac and version of Mac OS X. But Apple does provide a delta installer to update 10.6.4 to 10.6.5 (for both Snow Leopard and Snow Leopard Server) and a much larger combo installer to update any version of 10.6 to 10.6.5 (again, for both Snow Leopard and Snow Leopard Server). Apple pulled the Snow Leopard Server updates briefly, but replaced them shortly after with no indication of what had changed other than a security note indicating a fix to a problem with the Dovecot mail server.

As always, make sure you have a current backup before you update, and don’t interrupt the upgrade process once it has started.


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Comments about Mac OS X 10.6.5 Continues to Squash Bugs
(Comments are closed.)

Guenter Plum  2010-11-10 20:45
Maybe Apple has introduced a few new bugs while squashing old ones: I've updated from 10.6.4 to 10.6.5 several times now, both with the Combo and via Software Update, to systems on both an SSD and an internal hard drive (and repeated this for the SSD). Not only does the info under the apple not update to 10.6.5 but says 10.6.4, but Software Update keeps kicking in wanting to update my system to 10.6.5. Something's not working.
Michael Cohen  2010-11-10 21:54
The "new bugs" are more likely something specific to your system configurations and their interactions with the update: I updated three different machines for three very different users today, and encountered no problems.
Surprisingly, there is a fraudulent 10.6.5 updater that many people downloaded. Based on your explanation, you appear to have gotten that one. A couple of the user comments at MacUpdate explain how to uninstall the fraud in order to update with the proper updater (preferably the combo updater) .
Michael Cohen  2010-11-11 08:18
I just checked out the MacUpdate site: it doesn't seem that there is any cause for concern. As best I can piece it together, a user downloaded a very early post of the updater that didn't work properly. As another commenter pointed out, "The update itself was not 'fake' but it was PROBABLY either a test link or specific to the user's machine. Hence all the trouble with that link."

Apple digitally signs their updates, so it's really hard to make a fraudulent one. However, a genuine updater that is not the right one for a specific machine can, of course, cause trouble. It's always best to download either Apple's combo updater (for all machines) from the Apple site or let Software Update deliver the right one for your machine.
Your explanation makes perfect sense. I honestly couldn't figure out how MacUpdate could have been able to post a link to a fraudulent updater. It seemed quite unrealistic. It also seemed strange that the bad updater didn't cause any real trouble. Nonetheless, I took some of the previous commenters at their word (the poster to whom you refer hadn't commented yet when I read them yesterday).

My main reason for commenting here was simply to let Guenter know that his/her computer isn't really updated and that he/she needs to do it again, not that his/her computer is in any danger.

Thank you for the clarification.
Matt Gibson  2010-11-10 23:24
"Resolves an issue syncing Address Book with Google"? Cool! Until I read that, I didn't know that Address Book _could_ sync with Google. Thanks!
Mac Guy  2010-11-11 04:38
I run PGP Desktop 10.0.3 Whole Disk Encryption on my MacBook Pro (2.4 GHz model). I installed 10.6.5, and upon reboot, I discovered that my machine (which had gone through numerous security/OS updates in the past) could not boot. Instead of the PGP prompt, I got the Apple boot screen with the spinning wheel, which then changed to the crossed-out circle.

Fortunately, I was able to use the PGP Boot Recovery CD, available from the PGP website. Ran it once, and everything was just fine after that.
Curtis Wilcox  An apple icon for a Friend of TidBITS 2010-11-11 17:04
Your experience is not a fluke, PGP has acknowledged this problem.
"Mac PGP WDE customers should not apply the recent Mac OS X 10.6.5 update"
Bob Peterson  2010-11-12 15:16
Did this fix the bug where Automator thinks iTunes 10 < iTunes 9?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2010-11-15 09:43
Not sure, but if you can test, do let us know.
I just installed the newest Mac update. When it completed the installation, my Gmail account no longer would work. After reinstalling Gmail, I Apple Mail tells me that my Gmail User name and/or Password are wrong. Is this error coincidental with installing the update or was it caused by the update?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2010-11-15 09:58
I've just updated the article slightly to indicate that Apple has now pulled the Snow Leopard Server update, presumably to fix a problem that appeared after initial release.
Al Varnell  2010-11-15 15:25
I just received an announcement "APPLE-SA-2010-11-15-1 Mac OS X Server v10.6.5 (10H575)" a few minutes ago and the updates are back on the Apple Support Download page, dated Nov 10 as if nothing had happened. CNET mentioned a couple of issues in their blog this morning
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2010-11-15 15:47
Yeah, I got that too. It indicates a problem with Dovecot, but that's not what people were complaining about on the Mac-Enterprise mailing list. So we're still in the dark.
Chuck Shotton  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2010-11-15 13:48
Sadly, 10.6.5 broke a lot of stuff, too. I now have horrible sound quality on any sort of sustained audio playback (music, video, etc.) It's choppy, lags, stutters, and is generally unpleasant to listen to.

This is on a Mac Pro with a NVidia 8800GT video card. I mention this because others on the net are reporting similar problems and they go away when using an ATI card. I can't confirm, since I only have one video card for this machine. But reverting to 10.6.4 makes the problem go away.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2010-11-19 10:22
Looks like 10.6.5 also fixes some video problems on the 11-inch MacBook Air.
Our office IT guy is saying the reason I cannot access our office's web home page on our network is that there's a bug in the 10.6.5 update, something about DNS lookup problems or the like. Anybody heard of such?
irene   2010-11-26 11:31
after i downloaded the latest version, mac os x 10.6.5 version my flash player does not work!! i uninstalled the version of FP i had and then i downloaded the latest version. it says i was "successful" but it still does not work! i can't watch any videos now!! what do i do??
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2010-11-26 13:17
You can go to Adobe's Web site and install a new version...
Jack Clay  2010-11-27 09:47
Has anyone experienced installation failure? I've had this happen with the last two OS X Snow Leopard updates. Using Software Update (10.6.4), apparently the file is successfully downloaded, then validated, but while 'writing files' the installation fails saying '... contact manufacturer'! This happened with the previous update but magically stopped happening after trying for several weeks. Now it is happening again with the new update.

Any suggestions?