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Apple! Where's 10.4.11?

'Upgrade to Leopard if you don't like the bugs.'


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Cupertino (Rixstep) -- No sooner had OS X 10.5 Leopard officially gone on sale than Apple's bug reporting team began sending back bug reports for the previous OS X version Tiger. This can mean Apple are not going to bother with the speculated 10.4.11 Tiger update.

Administrators currently running 10.4.10 are hopeful there will be a 10.4.11 release: issues with networking speeds introduced in 10.4.10 still need to be fixed.

Several developers have reported receiving successive replies from Apple right after Leopard officially went on sale in California - each within minutes or even seconds of each other.

The replies were all sent unsigned and composed with a template. They advised their recipients to upgrade to 10.5 Leopard to check if the bugs they'd reported were finally gone.

This in contrast to several open source projects such as Ubuntu that continue to supply bug fixes for system versions several years old.

Nothing for a Fortnight

There's been speculation since May 2007 about a successor to Tiger 10.4.10; the speculation grew in August with Think Secret, Ars Technica, MacNN, and Apple Insider all predicting an imminent 10.4.11 release.

New builds 8S161 (PPC) and 8S2161 (i386) as precursors to 10.4.11 were distributed to the developer community in the first week October and included major changes to Safari. Apple distributed them with the intent of soliciting feedback on several key changes before assembling a final version of 10.4.11 and releasing it to the general public.

But 10.4.11 never happened - causing administrators to fret as 10.4.10 Mac Pros were suddenly connecting at 10 MB speeds to 1000 MB switches.

Apple mailing lists have been ripe with reports of malfunctioning network connections with 10.4.10; amongst administrators already privy to the 10.4.11 seeds optimism is still high Apple will still release it.

'They have to get it right - they want to get it right', opined network administrator Joel Bruner.

The Band Aid Fix

The culprit in 10.4.10 negotiation is a kernel extension, discovered Bruner.

/System/Library/Extensions/IONetworkingFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleIntel8254XEthernet.kext

And you can get it right without 10.4.11 - the trick is in rolling back the extension.

  1. Open the 10.4.9 Intel Combo Updater DMG. (Use OpenUp or Pacifist.)
  2. Copy out pax.gz inside the package.
  3. Use gunzip to open the file.
  4. Use OpenUp or Pacifist on the unzipped pax.
  5. Copy IONetworkingFamily.kext to /System/Library/Extensions.
  6. Reset the ownership (sudo chown 0:0 /System/Library/Extensions).
  7. Delete the kernel caches or touch /System/Library/Extensions so the system recreates them.

The 10.4.11 seed corrects this automatically.

10.4.9:
Auto-Neg Advertise Reg (04d) = 0xde1,
Link Partner Ability Reg (05d) = 0xc5e1,
Gig Advertise Reg (09d) = 0xe00,
Gig Link Partner Ability Reg (10d) = 0x7800

10.4.10:
Auto-Neg Advertise Reg (04d) = 0xde1,
Link Partner Ability Reg (05d) = 0x0,
Gig Advertise Reg (09d) = 0xe00,
Gig Link Partner Ability Reg (10d) = 0x0

10.4.11 seed:
Auto-Negotiation Advertisement Register (04d) = 0xde1
Auto-Negotiation Link Partner Ability Register (05d) = 0xc5e1
Auto-Negotiation Gigabit Advertisement Register (09d) = 0xe00
Auto-Negotiation Gigabit Link Partner Ability Register (10d) = 0x7800
PHY Specific Status Register (17d) = 0xaf48

Some Yes Some No Some Stay Some Go

Although many bugs have been 'returned' after Leopard's release other bugs have not. Bugs Apple engineers believe they've fixed in Leopard are returned for a perfunctory Leopard followup whilst others are kept for further research as they may have followed along onto the new system. There may be no further update to OS X 10.4 Tiger after all; and should 10.4.11 still see the light of day it won't have fixes for bugs now returned by Apple.

This is a follow-up to Bug ID# XXXXXXX. Engineering believes this issue has been addressed in Mac OS X Leopard.

Leopard is available commercially as of October 26, 2007 at:

<http://www.apple.com/macosx/>

Upon installing this software, please update this bug report with your results.

Thank you for your time. We truly appreciate your assistance in helping us discover and isolate bugs.

Best Regards,

The Bug Reporting Team
Apple Developer Connection
Worldwide Developer Relations
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