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Friday, March 06, 2009, 03:00 pm PT (06:00 pm ET)

Apple ready with second beta of Mac OS X "Juno" [updated]

Users still facing software issues while running the most current version of Mac OS X Leopard may take kindly to word that Mac OS X 10.5.7 is moving swiftly through its development cycle.

Apple as early as this weekend is expected to equip its vast developer community with a new build of the maintenance and security release, according to people familiar with the matter. The target build is said to be Mac OS X 10.5.7 build 9J27 — again, this could change at any time.

The Cupertino-based Mac maker kept this forthcoming update largely in-house for 21 builds before unleashing build 9J22 to its third-party coders a little over one week ago.

As was reported at the time, that build arrived with nearly six dozen code corrections, a barebones weight of 440 megabytes, and requests that developers focus their testing efforts on over 20 core components, including AirPort, Mail, graphics drivers, and Time Machine.

Those people familiar with the software also mentioned a significant focus on addressing syncing issues that have plagued many of Leopard's standard, forward-facing apps, such as as Mail, AddressBook, and system preferences.

Mac OS X 10.5.7 was also publicly mentioned on Apple's online store as a prerequisite for the ATI Radeon HD 4870 Graphics Upgrade Kit for owners of previous generation Mac Pros. After the blunder was widely reported, Apple changed the page to indicate that the card required 10.5.6, which is actually the case for the just announced Mac Pro, which will ship with a custom milestone of 10.5.6 that includes the appropriate driver support.

However, with standalone orders for the $349 card not expected to ship for another 5-7 weeks, its likely the original requirements on the page were accurate and that Mac OS X 10.5.7 will be released within that same time frame.

On an intriguing note, AppleInsider has also picked up hints that the 10.5.7 "point" release is internally referenced in some circles as "Juno" or project Juno. The precise significance of this code-name is unknown, though cursory checks suggests that OS X 10.5 Leopard point releases may be following naming conventions tied to Roman goddesses or the names of asteroids.

Similarly, earlier point releases from major OS X releases of years past were named after colors, where in one instance during the Mac OS 9 era they were named after red wines.

Saturday update: We're picking up that seed 9J27 was indeed released late Friday. Among the changes were about 10 new bug fixes targeting FileVault, Time Capsule, preference panes for Print & Fax and MobileMe, iCal sync, and more.