Apple seeds Mac OS X 10.3.6 to developers

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While preparing to unleash Tiger in the first half of 2005, Apple is simultaneously working on an update to its Panther operating system that will offer improved web browsing and disc recording.

Apple Computer this week began circulating the first external builds of Mac OS X 10.3.6 Update— an incremental revision to the company\'s maturing Mac OS X 10.3 \"Panther\" operating system that will offer maintenance and performance fixes.

Early builds of the Panther update are members of the \"7R\" milestone, with the current version said to be Mac OS X 10.3.6 build 7R10.

According to reputable sources, the update will deliver improvements to Panther\'s web browsing, audio, USB, graphics card drivers, and OpenGL.

In addition to diagnosing new versions of its Safari web browser (1.2.4) and Calculator (3.2) applications, Apple is asking its developers to focus their testing efforts on audio applications, graphics, FireWire, USB, and OpenGL intensive games.

Mac OS X 10.3.6 will also reportedly include significant changes to the handling of optical media, such as CDs and DVDs. Likewise, Apple has encouraged its developers to experiment with disc recording and to report any anomalies.

The most recent Delta build of the Panther update weighs in at about 90 MB and is being distributed digitally as a 30.4 MB disk image. Most of its mass, sources say, is a result of accumulated framework and extension revisions.

Mac OS X 10.3.6 is on scheduled to be released before the end of the year and will likely be followed by successive Panther updates in 2005.

In related news, earlier this week Apple seeded build 7N141 of its Xsan network file system. The software is scheduled for its inaugural release later this fall.

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