Has Apple ever changed a release build that's gone GM (golden master)?
As you might have heard, Mountain Lion went GM today. For those not in the know, in the software world GM (golden master) refers to a final build that's considered complete and ready to ship to customers -- it's the software equivalent of a completed master recording of an album.
GM software is usually released to manufacturing and distribution channels (hence the acronym RTM), and becomes available to consumers at some predetermined point in the future -- sometimes same day, sometimes in weeks or even months. Basically, however long is necessary to get the software onto the media and/or devices are necessary to meet the launch strategy.
But now that we've had a few years where apps (and operating systems) have been shipping in a centralized manner via the App Store, it got me wondering: has Apple ever released something to GM (like its annual upgrades to iOS, and its now-annual upgrades to OS X), but then actually changed something -- like, say, issuing a critical bug fix -- before actually releasing it to the public?
In my experience, GM means GM and nothing has ever changed in final Apple builds, but I'm wondering if anyone's ever seen post-GM changes before broad consumer release.
I believe there are more examples, but iOS 4.2 jumps to mind: www.cultofmac.com/69518/apple-releases-second-gm-b...
Clicking the mark as good answer button helps us highlight the best answers.
Also: www.macstories.net/news/xcode-4-gm-seed-2-released... I think it's safe to say there's always a chance this can happen, if something significant comes up in a GM build.
Yeah, good call. Think I'm gonna install it on my Retina MBP anyway. Hey, I'm a risk-taker.
I think it's pretty safe to install software Apple considers GM—I usually go for it. I don't think the risk is much different than if you were installing it immediately after it was released to the public. I would recommend making sure you have a current backup of important data, of course, and if I'm feeling paranoid I'll unplug my backup drive first. ( You never know: www.macintouch.com/panfirewire.html )
I remember talking to some Apple Engineers at a Tech Update who said that the QA team was getting stretched pretty thin with all the releases, devices, and now two OS's to support. We've had smaller goofs like the OS X 10.6.8 Supplemental Update, or the OS X Server 10.5.8 update v 1.1. I think it's only a matter of time before a GM gets pulled and replaced. As a school IT director I certainly hope not, though - takes me days to perfect my system images!
I tried to see if this occurred with the Lion GM and could find no evidence-- but I can't remember if I did a MD5 checksum or not.
I don't believe I did a checksum on Lion, but I have definitely done them on various GM builds for iOS, and I've never seen anything change over the years. But jstanley's example above of a second GM is a great example of Apple getting an OS update in under the wire.
Yeah, the App Store certainly makes that pretty easy. My guess though is that if it did happen it might come through as a software update as opposed to a whole new installer-- that is for those of us who install this GM.