Updated throughout at 12:33 p.m. with additional details and analysis.
The first update to Mac OS X Leopard has arrived, with fixes for bugs in Time Machine and Finder, among other things.
Version 10.5.1 is now available through Software Update or on Apple's Web site. It's a 110MB update that smooths out some of the more notable bugs reported in the first three weeks of Leopard's life on the planet, and it arrives just one day after Apple shipped what will probably be the last update for Tiger, Mac OS X 10.4.11.
This is a little faster than Apple moved ahead with the first update for Tiger, which launched in April 2005. The Leopard launch went smoothly for most of the 2 million Mac OS X users that upgraded over the first weekend, but the first release of any operating system is usually problematic for some. And Apple was under the gun to deliver Leopard in October, after missing its first deadline in order to make sure that the iPhone shipped on time.
Time Machine was probably the most hyped feature of Leopard prior to its release, but a number of problems cropped up with formatting and restoring files. Those are now a thing of the past, according to Apple, as the new software fixes issues related to backing up on MBR (master boot record) hard drives greater than 512GBs and drives that use the NTFS file system. The update also fixes a problem where some files that have been restored did not appear in their designated folders.
The well-publicized Finder flaw, where data could be erased from a system if the connection was interrupted following a "move" command, is also addressed in the update. And changes were made to Leopard's firewall; Apple tweaked the wording on one of the firewall selection tabs to make it more clear, according to a support document released along with the updates. The default setting for Leopard's application firewall is still, "Allow all incoming connections," but you can now set the firewall to "Allow only essential services" instead of "Block All."
Leopard comes with an application firewall that can be set to allow anything to access your Mac, allow nothing across the wire except for essential networking communications, or allow access on a case-by-case basis, as determined by the user. If you chose that third option for the firewall settings in Leopard, it was still possible for the executables attached to some background processes that run as "root" to gain access to the system, even if you had identified those executables as things you wanted to block. That's not good.
The update corrects that issue so that any executable file marked as "block incoming connections" is blocked, even if its process mate is running as "root," meaning that it has full access to your system. And now when you make changes to the firewall settings, they are enabled automatically so you don't have to restart for the changes to take effect.
There are also fixes for issues with Back to My Mac, Airport wireless networking, and several features. Here is the complete list.