Free upgrade pushes
Five months after launch, Mavericks has already grabbed slightly over 40 percent of all North American OS X usage, according to web traffic data from ad network
Five months after launch, Mavericks has already grabbed slightly over 40 percent of all North American OS X usage, according to web traffic data from ad network
Recently in the MacNN Forums, members gathered in a thread titled "Mac Pro config" started by Senior User "I'mDaMac" to discuss what the best configuration options would be for someone looking to buy a new Mac Pro. Yesterday "Hawkeye_a" asked fellow forum-goers if it was possible to install Snow Leopard on a new Mac or even boot into Snow Leopard while being installed on an external HDD.
Last week, Apple updated its Safari browser for Lion, Mountain Lion and Mavericks -- but for the first time since 2010, did not include an update for the Snow Leopard version, last updated to 5.1.10. The move may signal that Apple is winding down support for the three-generations-back OS, which remains the third-most popular version of OS X behind the current version, Mavericks and 10.8 Mountain Lion (respectively).
Mavericks is already the predominant version of OS X in use by the public, according to November tracking data from Net Applications. During that month, Mavericks' share rose from 0.84 percent to 2.42 percent of the Mac's total global share of 7.55 percent. Mountain Lion's share, meanwhile, plummeted from 3.31 percent to 1.85, while Lion dipped from 1.56 percent to 1.34. Leopard and Snow Leopard, already marginal platforms, dropped only slightly, slipping from 0.33 and 1.6 percent to 0.32 and 1.53 percent, respectively.
In the wake of OS X Mavericks' release, Apple has already posted three related software updates. The first is Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Update 4.09. The code adds iPhoto '11 and Aperture 3 support for Olympus' PEN E-P5 camera, and brings back lens correction for Sony RX100 photos. It also solves bad white balance for Nikon images edited by third-party apps.
Apple today released printer driver updates for two different manufacturers' products, with all of the updates available for Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6) and Lion (10.7), while a few also include updates for Mountain Lion (10.8). Brands include Epson, and a number of labels owned by Ricoh, including NRG, InfoPrint, Lanier, Infotec, Savin and Gestetner. The updates will appear in Software Update as relevant for users' existing printers, and when users connect new printers to their network or computer. New models have been added alongside updates for older models with unspecified changes.
Apple has posted twin Java updates for OS X, Java for OS X 2013-004 and Mac OS X v10.6 Update 16. Both deal with security, stability, and compatibility flaws. The first is targeted at Lion and Mountain Lion users, while the second is for Snow Leopard only.
As expected, Apple has issued Security Update 2013-002 for older versions of OS X that are limited to the security-oriented changes present in the latest Mountain Lion update, v10.8.4, which was issued earlier today. Updates for Snow Leopard (10.6), the OS X Server version of Snow Leopard, the OS X Server version of Lion (10.7) and the client version of Lion are all now available through Software Update or Apple's own Support Downloads page. Issues were found and patched for OpenSSL, QuickTime, Ruby and SMB among other areas.
On Thursday, Apple released updated printer drivers for its supported Xerox printers for users of OS X Snow Leopard (10.6), Lion (10.7) and Mountain Lion (10.8). Unusually for such a release, there is not yet a list of the specific changed or added models supported by the built-in software. All three versions of OS X support a wide and expanding list of Xerox products, including standalone, all-in-one and wireless printer models, as well as some standalone scanners.
Oracle has released a new version of Java 7, Update 17. The patch is being released early, Oracle says, to cope with a security hole that is being "actively exploited by attackers to maliciously install the McRat executable onto unsuspecting users’ machines." The vulnerability was made public late last week. It also fixes a second, previously undocumented flaw, believed to be likewise connected to Java SE's 2D component.
Apple has released a promised Java update in the wake of an attack by Chinese hackers. The patch is available in two versions, for Lion/Mountain Lion and Snow Leopard. In both cases the code should bring Java SE 6 up to v1.6.0_41.
Apple has put OS X Snow Leopard back on sale at its online store, at a cost of $20, notes French site MacGeneration. The software was originally pulled around the time of Mountain Lion's release. Snow Leopard is now two generations old, making the software's return somewhat unusual.
In addition to today's major releases of iOS 6 for mobile devices and OS X updates 10.8.2 for Mountain Lion and 10.7.5 for Lion, a handful of firmware updates and OS X app updates have been posted to Apple's support webpage, mostly to increase compatibility with iOS 6 device interactions but also adding support for Shared Photo Streams in iPhoto and Aperture as well as addressing bugs and other issues. Along with the photo apps, a security update was posted for users of Snow Leopard, and Apple's iCloud Control Panel for Windows was bumped to v2.0.
Apple has posted two new OS X Java updates: one for Lion, Java for OS X 2012-005, and one for Snow Leopard, Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 10. In both cases the patches now prevent Java from running in an always-on state. The Java plugin is killed if no applets have been run for an "extended period of time;" in fact, if Java for OS X 2012-004 wasn't previously installed, 005 disables Java by default until a person choose to enable or re-enable a Java plugin in their browser.
According to tracking from ad network Chitika, the latest version of OS X is already installed on over 10 percent of Macs accessing the Internet, a reliable measure of the active user base. The figure comes only one month after the launch of Mountain Lion, meaning the OS version is well ahead of Lion penetration at the same point in its release schedule. Currently, Snow Leopard still has the largest share of Macs, followed by Lion and Leopard.
Apple has pushed out a minor upgrade to it's earlier major update of Aperture, released two weeks ago. The new 3.3.1 version fixes a bug that could cause the program to hang or crash when upgrading libraries to the new iPhoto and Aperture unified format. The company also introduced or updated hundreds of printer and scanner drivers for major brands under Snow Leopard and Lion, along with more support for several smaller printer brands.
The Java runtime environment has been updated for both OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8, and OS X Lion 10.7.4. While Apple historically doesn't discuss specific security updates, this package updates Java to version 1.6.0_33. All previous security fixes are included, such as the Flashback removal tool and automatic disabling of the Java plugin when it has been idle for 35 days.
Apple on Thursday released a minor maintenance update for its photo-editing software, Aperture. Version 3.2.4 is said to improve stability when operating in Mac OS X Snow Leopard. The update also resolves an issue that sometimes prevented the Viewer from correctly updating after a photo had been modified in an external editor.
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, ghporter asks "is it worth upgrading from Snow Leopard to Lion?" read more here. Also yesterday one Senior User discovered they were having problems copying and pasting from e-mails and have turned to the forums for some advice.
Accompanying the just-released OS X 10.7.4 update, Apple has also posted several new versions of other products -- including Safari, Remote Desktop, the server version of Lion's Server Admin Tools and a security update for Snow Leopard users. The Safari and Remote Desktop updates apply to both Lion and Snow Leopard, and should be available through Software Update. The Safari update is available for both Mac and Windows users.
Apple is now preparing a pair of Java 6 runtime updates for OS X 10.6 and 10.7 that will mark the last Apple-custom versions of Java, handing over all future development and responsibility for Java on the Mac platform directly to Oracle. Apple had already stopped shipping a default version of Java with new Macs beginning with the release of Lion last summer, but had made in-house versions available to Lion users as well as continued supporting the Snow Leopard version.
Users of Intel Macs that have not, for one reason or another, yet upgraded to either Snow Leopard or Lion may be rewarded for their lethargy: an e-mail sent out to qualifying MobileMe customers offers them a free copy of Snow Leopard so that they can then upgrade to Lion and maintain their MobileMe account and address through iCloud. Respondent simply click on a special link to log into their MobileMe accounts and are directed to a registration form.
Apple has posted a new version of Safari, v5.1.5. The update is a minor one, simply resolving a glitch that "could affect website usability" when running in 32-bit mode. Separate Windows, Lion, and Snow Leopard downloads are available.
Apple late yesterday took an unusual step in posting a software update specifically for Snow Leopard users that resolves an issue where certain Apple software fails to install properly. The update is for users on the last version of Snow Leopard, 10.6.8, and is recommended for all such users. It will show up automatically in Software Update on qualifying machines, and is available from Apple's support website with a filesize of 1.34MB.
Apple has posted several new articles in its support database, including two that address specific issues. One deals with upgrading to Lion from Snow Leopard from a RAID volume, while the other explains some unexpected XSan Admin behavior when inconsistent or missing-name server records are used. XSan users also got a tutorial on advanced mounting options, while a fourth deals with restoring Lion Server from a Time Machine backup.
Late today Apple has updated almost all Epson printer drivers with built-in support for Snow Leopard and Lion, and has posted a minor update to its pro-photography tool Aperture to grant it the ability to delete photos from Photo Stream, an iCloud feature that can be set to wirelessly copy photos from mobile devices to desktop and notebooks and vice versa. The Epson update is number v2.9, while Aperture is now v3.2.3.
A new variant of the Flashback Trojan is infecting Macs, says security firm Intego. Dubbed Flashback.G, the malware is reported to use three different methods to try and infect a Mac. The first two involve Java vulnerabilities, which are stopped if a computer's Java installation is up to date. If a system has an outdated version of Java however, the Trojan may be able to install itself without a chance to intervene.
A problem with the previous 2012-001 Security Update posted for users of Snow Leopard (client and server) that caused Rosetta-based apps to misbehave or fail entirely has been corrected, and the company is pushing a "v1.1" edition of the update through its Software Update servers (support web page not yet updated). Over the next 24 hours, users who installed the previous security patch for 10.6.8 systems should see the update available.
The separate Security Update 2012-001 download for Snow Leopard users is breaking apps that depend on Rosetta, according to complaints. Rosetta allows PowerPC-based apps to operate within Snow Leopard. Programs such as Eudora 6, Acrobat Pro 7, Quicken 2007, and Office 2004 will reportedly crash, freeze, or exhibit other unexpected behavior, such as failing to print documents.
Today in the MacNN forums Grizzled Veteran sdilley14 asks other members for good reasons to purchase an Apple TV since they already have a PS3 and a XBox 360. One Posting Junkie has had a "troubling amount of pageouts in Snow Leopard" and has turned to the forums for some guidance.
Game makers Aspyr have re-released Doom 3, now in a version designed for modern Intel Macs. The game, first released on OS X in 2004, sports a rare (for the Mac platform) "M" rating for its nightmarish setting, violence and gore. The new version runs only on Intel Core2Duo or later chips under Snow Leopard or Lion, and does not work with the pre-Intel 3000HD integrated graphics chipsets. The engine for Doom 3 was released under the GPL last month.
Apple has released Safari 5.1.2, a bugfix release that contains several improvements, including addressing issues that can cause some webpages to flash white and other issues that would cause hangs and memory leaks. The new version improves stability and allows PDFs to be displayed within web content. The update is available for Lion (10.7.2), Snow Leopard (10.6.8) and Windows XP SP2 or later.
VMware will soon reverse an important change introduced with Fusion 4.1, according to an official blog post. Undocumented in the update was the ability to run virtualized copies of the Leopard and Snow Leopard clients. Apple's licensing normally restricts virtualization to Lion, Leopard Server and Snow Leopard Server.
VMware's Fusion 4.1 update has made an important, undocumented change, users have discovered. The software will now run virtualized Leopard and Snow Leopard clients, something that was previously blocked. The only requirement is that a user click "Continue" to assert that they have a license to run either OS on their system.
Apple has pushed out a new video update for MacBook Pros. The code is extremely narrow in focus, concentrating only on mid-2010 model 15-inch Pros still running Snow Leopard. It is however said to deal with serious graphical issues, including freezing or video disappearing entirely.
Adoption of Mac OS X Lion has slowed significantly in the past month, Chitika found in its latest web traffic results. While it was up to 14 percent in September after being available for two months, it had moved just two percent more by late October to hit 16 percent of the Mac user base. Snow Leopard still had a clear majority at 55 percent, while even the four years old Leopard was at 22 percent.
Apple has quietly posted a Java SE 6 update for Lion (version 1.6.0_29), as well as updating the Java runtime for Snow Leopard to the same version. The release fixes multiple security vulnerabilities that exist in Java 1.6.0_26.
A Mac Trojan now in circulation attempts to disable OS X's built-in anti-malware protection, known as XProtect, according to security firm F-Secure. Identified with the label OSX/Flashback.C, the Trojan first decrypts the paths of XProtectUpdater files, then unloads the XProtectUpdater daemon. To finish the job, the malware then overwrites the XProtectUpdater files with a blank character.
Apple concluded a series of major software updates yesterday by releasing Security Update 2011-006 for Snow Leopard and the iCloud Control Panel for Windows. The former mostly reflects security issues addressed by OS X 10.7.2, solving problems linked to: Apache, ATS, BIND, graphics, Jabber, Mailman, MediaKit, CoreFoundation, CoreMedia, PHP, Python, the application firewall, root certificates, HTTPS servers, QuickTime, Tomcat, X11, the App Store's help content, and finally the web server. The last fix is a part of the Server release of the Security Update.
Lion is still only the third most popular version of OS X, according to Chitika. New weekly data produced by the analytics firm puts Lion at just 14.18 percent of the market, compared with Snow Leopard, which remains dominant at 55.54 percent. Even Leopard -- now nearly four years old -- has greater representation at 22.23 percent.
As has become standard, Apple has quietly updated OS X definitions to counter a recently-publicized malware threat, checks show. Lion and Snow Leopard will now block a Trojan fronted by OSX/Revir.A, which in turn installs a backdoor program identified as OSX/Imuler.A. Although neither part of the Trojan is especially dangerous at the moment, Imuler could potentially be used at a later date to capture screenshots or steal files.
Apple has posted a trio of new software updates, the most important of which are Thunderbolt-related. The Thunderbolt Display Firmware Update fixes unspecified stability problems with Apple's latest product, and apart from the monitor requires a Mac running either OS X 10.6.8 or 10.7.1. A new Thunderbolt Software Update for Snow Leopard is required to use the Thunderbolt Display with the OS, and also fixes compatibility issues with other Thunderbolt devices. A matching Lion update was released late last week.
Apple has posted Security Update 2011-005, a new patch for OS X Lion and Snow Leopard. In each case the code is aimed at fixing just a single problem: fraudulent certificates issued by DigiNotar, a threat Microsoft dealt with on Wednesday. Apple notes that it has removed DigiNotar from the listed of trusted root and extended validation certificates. By default, OS X should now distrust any certificate connected to DigiNotar.
Apple has released updated drivers from Lexmark that cover all supported models under Snow Leopard and Lion, including all-in-one (AIO) models and scanner drivers. The company has only added support for one series -- the 6500e and 6500e Fax units -- but brings most updated drivers to version 10.6.4 or 10.7.0, the latter of which indicates support for Lion. In all, over 276 models or series of models have been updated.
Apple may be working on a Mac OS X 10.6.9 update to extend iCloud to Snow Leopard, an error message reveals. After upgrading a MobileMe account to iCloud, one developer says he encountered a unique error message in Tiger's .Mac preferences pane. "You will no longer be able to sync with this machine because you've upgraded to iCloud," it begins. "iCloud requires running Mac OS X Snow Leopard v10.6.9 or later for Contacts, Calendars, and Bookmarks."
Apple has released a new set of drivers for Epson printers. Now at v2.8, the drivers technically include both printing and scanning software. The download is a sizable 961.5MB, but is compatible with both Lion and Snow Leopard, and also supports a variety of languages.
Software Restore Solutions late Wednesday sued Apple (below) over claims Mac OS X copied its technology. According to the complaint, "at least" the Disk Utility feature in every version of Mac OS X from the 2001 original through to Snow Leopard copies one claim in a workgroup network manager patent from 1998. Apple supposedly knows the automated repair features could infringe on the patent but has shown "deliberate indifference" towards the consequences.
PowerUp is a new active task-management application, optimized for Snow Leopard and Lion, that lets users create to-do lists and easily update their progress. A reminder progress bar keeps users focused on the overall goal, and user can zero in on troublesome sections to change the progress bar to that one task. By checking off completed tasks but leaving them on the list, users gain motivation from accomplishment.
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