Released Wednesday evening, Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard build 9A343 is the first software build of the next-generation operating system to escape the company's Cupertino fortress since build 9A321 broke free in mid-December.
According to those people familiar with the latest seed, Apple continues to keep a close wrap on Leopard's "top secret" features and ongoing development efforts, setting forth only a modicum of changes.
Those improvements apparent in build 9A343 are reportedly less than appetizing and include updated QuickLook APIs and a new "HIRect/Point/Shape-based Window Manager API for resolution independence compatibility."
Of added significance, say those familiar with the software, are updates to the Mac OS X Terminal application which deliver tab support and the ability to save a multi-window configurations through workspaces.
"Settings are now stored in Terminal 'Profiles' rather than .term files," Apple is also reported to have told its developers in documentation accompanying the latest Leopard pre-release. The company said old default .term settings can be migrated automatically on first launch of the updated application or users can choose to import arbitrary settings files if they wish.
Apple has maintained that it does not plan to ship Leopard until sometime later this spring, and an ongoing list of known issues with the system would suggest that sounds about right.
Build 9A343 is reported to contain about twenty significant issues that will need to be ironed out in the coming weeks and months. Most critical are exploitable parental controls and system panics that occur with ATI cards while running QuickTime Player with iChat and Preview.
Leopard, in its current state, also forbids the installation of Adobe Creative Suite, experiences random Finder quits on invocation of Cmd-Tab, struggles with Network disconnects and may be unable to restore Time Machine backups created in MacBuddy.
Other known issues, those familiar with the software say, affect NFS mounted files, iCal synching, Windows sharing, 'Add Printer' dialogs, QuickLook's full screen mode, and localized language support.
For other Leopard news, please AppleInsider's recent report on the system's file recovery tools & Spotlight enhancements, Quicklook & Dashboard changes, new Safari tab & search features, resolution independence, OpenGL & QuickTime improvements, and Safari's anti-phishing measures.
Of course, the initial batch of publicly disclosed Leopard features is available as part of AppleInsider's WWDC Leopard coverage.