By David Worthington | Friday, September 11, 2009 at 4:13 pm
Apple has delivered a service pack for its Snow Leopard operating system just a matter of two weeks after it shipped. The company says that the update will “enhance the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac.”
The update targets specific issues such as device driver compatibility and performance, stuck DVD drives, and SMTP routing. More importantly, it fixes three major security vulnerabilities, including one that Apple introduced by bundling an outdated version of Adobe’s Flash run time that had a well-publicized security hole.
Apple already patched existing versions of OS X for the vulnerability in July. That should have been a showstopper for Snow Leopard’s distribution.
The update, weighs in at about 75MB, and brings OS X up to version 10.6.1. Given how specific some of those issues were, I’ll go out on a limb and say that Apple should have waited two more weeks before it made Snow Leopard generally available. My colleague Harry McCracken and I both updated from Leopard, and have experienced numerous glitches.
Snow Leopard was a major update of the OS’s internals at a very low level. While Apple deserves credit for emphasizing quality over adding new features, some of the new plumbing is leaky.
Both Harry and I have noticed random screen defects. Exposé’s mouse gestures randomly stopped working shortly after I turned on my machine this morning, then began to work again. The OS is also taking me far longer to log into (though it shuts down faster), but that may be due to an incompatible anti-virus utility.
Harry has not noticed many speed improvements. “I’m not denying that they exist, but I’m not noticing and enjoying them, except for Spotlight,” he said. Google Desktop Search is incompatible with Snow Leopard, so I’ve defaulted back to Spotlight, and agree with Harry’s assessment.
In his coverage, The Inquirer’s Paul Taylor quipped, “The code wizards of Cappuccino looked long and hard at their big white cat and figured out those were actually holes, not spots, on the pelt… and that it had a bit of a limp, too.” That is true to an extent, but OS X is a mature operating system.
I’m confident that the bugs will be licked over time. It may take a few more updates, but Apple will likely have a rock solid base on which to move forward and innovate with new features. Snow Leopard is a great operating system–I’m just disappointed that Apple shipped it as a kitten.