This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 2011-06-24 at 8:13 a.m.
The permanent URL for this article is: http://tidbits.com/article/12276
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Mac OS X 10.6.8 Update Preps for Lion

by Michael E. Cohen

With the sound of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion roaring in the distance, Apple has released Mac OS X 10.6.8 Update. The update addresses some bugs, improves some networking features, provides additional security improvements, and paves the way for the release of Lion next month.

Among the bugs that Apple states have been resolved in this update, according to the linked support document [1], are the following:

The update also tosses in raw image support for additional digital cameras.

On the networking front, the update improves VPN reliability and, especially important given the imminent exhaustion of the IPv4 address pool, provides improved support for the new Internet protocol, IPv6. Although this fact is in Apple’s release notes, Contributing Editor Mark Anbinder tells us that 10.6.8 also resolves a significant problem related to compatibility with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 that had prevented some organizations from migrating from Exchange Server 2007.

As is common with this sort of update, there are numerous security-related fixes [2] addressing vulnerabilities in the App Store (where your password could be logged to a local file in certain circumstances), ATS, Certificate Trust Policy, CoreFoundation, CoreGraphics, FTP Server, ImageIO, International Components for Unicode, the kernel, MobileMe, MySQL, OpenSSL, patch, Quick Look, QuickTime, servermgrd, and Subversion. Mac OS X 10.6.8 also provides all previous security enhancements released to date, and it detects and removes all known variants of the MacDefender malware.

For those who were troubled by 10.6.7’s font-related problems (and who might have stayed with 10.6.6 as a result; see “Apple Releases Snow Leopard Font Update [3],” 26 April 2011), the 10.6.8 update includes all of the fixes provided in the Mac OS X v10.6.7 Snow Leopard Font Update.

The most tantalizing feature of 10.6.8, however, is the first one that Apple mentions in its support document: “Enhancements to the Mac App Store to get your Mac ready to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion.” We’re not quite sure what these enhancements are, but given that the Mac App Store is the only venue by which existing Mac OS X users will be able to obtain Lion upon its release, we’re reassured to know that Apple is working to make the multi-gigabyte purchase and download process as smooth as possible.

As usual, Apple suggests you back up your system with Time Machine before applying the update, and notes that the update provided by Software Update varies in size depending on the Mac you are running.

If you wish to install the update manually, the following versions are available:

[1]: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4561
[2]: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4723
[3]: http://tidbits.com/article/12131
[4]: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1400
[5]: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1401
[6]: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1399
[7]: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1402
[8]: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1403