Developers remain in dark about Leopard GM bug fixes

Apple says it's ready to release Mac OS X Leopard to customers on Friday. But developers complain that they won't see the Golden Master final candidate before the rest of us.
Written by David Morgenstern, Contributor

Apple says it's ready to release Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard to customers on Friday, Oct. 26. But developers won't see the Golden Master final candidate before the rest of us and some complain that they have no idea whether their problem bugs will be fixed in the release candidate.

As I recall it was with Tiger (the previous major Mac OS X revision), the selection process for the GM final candidate is occurring inside Apple and not with the wider community of developers and ISVs.

This internal process is raising concerns with developers. The smoke, if not the fire, easy to see in the online public developer support lists.

For example, on the Xcode list, one developer posted a question titled "Malloc - double free problem on Leopard." He said the problem was erratic.

Looks like the problematic code is caused by my operator>>, trying to read a float from istrstream. However, this code is very simple and standard, it works fine on 10.4 and it works for most of the time on 10.5 as well.

I tried to link statically with STL, but the problem persists.

Is it possible there's a problem with runtime library?

Could be.

On Apple's Darwin kernel list, another developer reported that everything with his HBA driver was fine until Leopard Build 9A559, the last one handed out to developers. He reports "strange behavior" of the IOInterruptEventSource class.

... the display always freeze for about one minute and in the system.log, appears the line:

NVChannel(GL): Graphics channel timeout!

Also I tried to load standard Apple HBA drivers from 10.4.x under this 10.5 build and observe the same behavior.

What can it be?

On the lists, the answer to these questions is always the same: As of this writing, OS X 10.5 Leopard is still under Non Disclosure. Developers with questions are told to go through the "normal channels," i.e. Apple's Bug Reporter page. In other words, no answer.

A couple of developers I spoke with expressed frustration with the situation.

"This really drives me nuts - we can't test to see if our last batch of bugs have been fixed," said one developer.

Echoing some of the developer comments on the list, he was still seeing problems with the last developer build. He said he expects Apple to release a late-breaking set of fixes that will arrive via Software Update shortly after Leopard ships, if not concurrent with the Friday shrinkwrapped release.

Here's a suggestion: Device drivers often have trouble with major systemware updates. They may not stop working altogether but may experience erratic behavior. They can choke at the wrong time, much like the Cleveland Indians did in the American League pennant playoff series.

Perhaps users whose workflows rely on external storage connected to a RAID or other HBA (host bus adapter) card, specialty video cards, or other measurement devices connected to your Mac with an HBA, may want to hold off on the Leopard upgrade until they are sure of compatibility. BTW: I would include eSATA ExpressCard/34 adapters used on MacBook Pro systems in this list.

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