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Apple Unveils Mac OS X 10.5.7 and Safari Updates

Apple rolled out Mac OS X 10.5.7 last week, fixing several bugs and addressing security issues in Leopard. Although there’s nothing groundbreaking in this release (not that anyone would expect such with Snow Leopard on the horizon), Mac OS X 10.5.7 Update touches on several areas of the operating system and provides numerous security fixes.

For example, Mac OS X now supports raw image formats from several recent cameras (some of which were added by earlier camera raw updates; presumably the 10.5.7 update incorporates them at the system level). The update also addresses problems related to logging into Gmail, syncing contacts with Yahoo, syncing notes and adding BCC addresses in Mail, printing to third-party printers, and using the Dvorak keyboard layout.

Other changes include better Finder search results for network volumes that don’t support Spotlight searching, improved reliability in iCal with CalDAV and automatic sync with MobileMe, and improved stability for network home directories hosted by Mac OS X Server 10.4. The Parental Controls feature gains a few fixes, including improved consistency with application restrictions, time limits with full-screen games and Fast User Switching, and a new option to let non-admin users administer printers.

Some changes are hardware specific. Newer Macs with Nvidia graphics processors gain improved playback of video and cursor movement (though VMware is warning users with ATI video cards who rely on VMware Fusion’s 3D Acceleration feature to put off upgrading for now). Plus, the Expansion Slot Utility for the Mac Pro now reports correct PCIe configurations (no, we didn’t know it existed before this either – read Apple’s page on PCIe slots for details). Network performance is also improved when connected to Ethernet switches with Flow Control enabled.

Security improvements feature heavily in Mac OS X 10.5.7 as well, with numerous fixes for problems whose descriptions start “Visiting a maliciously crafted website…” (so don’t do that!). Along with Apple’s own code, a number of open-source components of Mac OS X have been updated to address security vulnerabilities.

Mac OS X 10.5.7 Update is available via Software Update, with download sizes depending on your Mac. It’s also available as standalone downloads in a delta update (442 MB), for people updating from Mac OS X 10.5.6, or a combo update (729 MB) that updates any version of Mac OS X 10.5.

Leopard Server 10.5.7Mac OS X Server 10.5.7 was also released, with all the fixes in the desktop version of 10.5.7, and with numerous additional improvements. Areas that caught our attention include fixes to problems in the AFP server and client, in client management and directory services, and in the Mail service. If you run a production server that relies on open-source components and third-party libraries, we strongly encourage you to schedule the update for a time when you can check your installations afterwards since we’ve seen previous security updates wreak havoc with carefully configured servers. You can use Software Update to get the update, or
use a standalone download in delta (452 MB) or combo (951 MB) forms.

Tiger Security Updates — To bring Mac OS X 10.5.7’s security fixes to Tiger users, Apple also released Security Update 2009-002 for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Software Update will get you the right version for your Tiger installation, or there are standalone downloads for Intel– (165 MB) and PowerPC-based (75 MB) Macs. Also available are versions for Mac OS X 10.4 Server: PowerPC (130 MB), Intel (165 MB), and Universal (203 MB).

Safari Security Updates — To complete the massive update rollout, Apple released Safari 3.2.3 – in Leopard (40 MB), Tiger (26.3 MB), and Windows (19.7 MB) versions – and Safari 4 Public Beta Security Update, both of which address three vulnerabilities that could lead to arbitrary code execution if you were to visit a maliciously crafted Web site or access a maliciously crafted feed URL. Apple’s
Support Downloads site doesn’t have a download link for the Safari 4 Public Beta Security Update, but it is showing up in Software Update.

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