Because Apple does not allow large numbers of people actually test its products before releasing them publicly, Mac users have to wait for a major update after each OS X release before they get to something resembling final, RTM-quality code. That release shipped today as Mac OS X 10.5.2, a massive 180 MB patch to Leopard that fixes some of the stupidity Apple forced on users in Leopard. I complained about these features in my original Leopard review.

The big changes include:

Stacks update, which adds two new view styles that users have been begging for since the "final" release: List view and Folder view. Apple also changed the background on Grid view to make it less translucent.

Menu bar update. The horribly transparent menu bar that debuted in Leopard to huge criticism has been modified to support a return to its pre-Leopard opaque roots. That's right: You can turn off the transparency now. Additionally, related another "feature" that was foolishly added to Leopard has been detuned: System menus are now less translucent, like they used to be.

Bug Fixes Oh My. Apple has fixed bugs in virtually every single Leopard component, including the Finder, AirPort, Dashboard, iCal, iChat, Mail, networking, parental controls, the Preview application, printing, Safari, disk repair, Login and Setup Assistant, Energy Saver, and Time Machine, as well as "general stability" issues. Also, there were fixes and additions to Leopard's Active Directory support, Back to my Mac, the desktop, iSync, RAW image support, Automator, and two international keyboard layouts. Gosh, that's like 300+ buggy features that were fixed.

It's like getting a new Mac. Again!

Just a thought: This is what Leopard could have been like back in October if Apple just did a proper beta test with non-developers.