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Apple's Mac OS X 10.4.8 Update nears release

Users of Apple Computer's Mac OS X Tiger are soon to receive a handout from the Cupertino, Calif-based company — a new software update to the operating system that will offer increased stability and some performance enhancements.

Under development since the summer, Mac OS X 10.4.8 Update will represent the eighth such maintenance release issued to users of Tiger since the system made its debut in late April of 2005.

While Apple has only tapped its developer community on three separate occasions to test pre-release builds of the new update, people familiar with ongoing development of the software say the latest builds are now rid of any known issues.

In its most recent distribution this week, the Mac maker posted to its developer website a 30.8MB version of the update for users of PowerPC-based Macs, labeled Mac OS X 10.4.8 build 8L2125. At the same time, it also issued a hefty 206 MB version for Intel Mac users listed as Mac OS X 10.4.8 build 8L2125.

As part of the ongoing development of Mac OS X 10.4.8, Apple has asked developers to extensively test scientific applications under the Rosetta PowerPC emulation environment for Intel machines, which is said to sport some noticeable enhancements in the area of performance.

In notes to developers accompanying previous pre-release builds, Apple was reported to have addressed issues with Image RAW, ImageIO, ColorSync, Xsan, Xsan File Manager, CoreImage and web images.

According to those familiar with the impending update, Mac OS X 10.4.8 will also introduce improvements to AFP, DVD Player, Graphics and Graphics applications, iCal, iPhoto, Mail, Microsoft Word & OpenType fonts, Modem usage, Networking, Printing, Safari, and USB.

Additionally, the release is likely to bundle support for new lines of Core 2 Duo-based MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks, which are due for release prior to the start of the holiday shopping season in late November.