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Wednesday, 23 January 2008 02:19

Leopard: Take three

Details of what we can expect in Mac OS X 10.5.2 are gradually filtering out.

Build 9C16, released to developers last week, addresses issues in a veritable laundry list of components from AirPort to X11.

If you want to see just how long the list is, MacScoop has collated the fix lists from this and previous builds.

So if you have run into a bug in Leopard, it seems there is a better than usual chance that it'll be fixed in 10.5.2.

What's more, rumour sites such as BabyGotMac are suggesting we will see some functional improvements when the update is released.

High on the list is the ability to use Time Machine with a disk connected to an AirPort Extreme base station. This was originally billed as a Leopard feature, but was dropped from the 10.5.0 release without adequate explanation. Its restoration in 10.5.2 is presumably a prerequisite for Apple's forthcoming Time Capsule, and should smooth feathers ruffled by the suggestion that Time Machine was deliberately crippled to encourage the replacement of AirPort Extremes with Time Capsules. (An old adage says a cock-up is more likely than a conspiracy.)

It also seems that the optical drive sharing feature associated with the MacBook Air is more generalised and is a part of 10.5.2.

Those of us that have resorted to third party utilities such as Leopaque or manually editing system files to turn off the translucent menu bar will be pleased to see a setting in Desktop Preferences that gives control over this misfeature. Who thought a translucent menu bar was a good idea in the first place? All it does is reduce legibility.

Another feature that's taken a caning is Stacks, and as previously reported 10.5.2 will improve it with the addition of a List view resembling the traditional hierarchical display of the contents of a folder in the Dock.

Bad news for those on ISP plans with small download quotas: build 9C16 is more than 400M. While Apple may be able to trim a little fat from the final version, there are still a couple of known bugs to be fixed and I don't expect it to be substantially smaller.

With the MacBook Air due to ship in two to three weeks and Time Capsule sometime in February, it seems that 10.5.2 can only be a few weeks away.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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