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July 9th 2012 8:32 pm

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.
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ryan's pick

I believe there are more examples, but iOS 4.2 jumps to mind:­/69518­/apple­-releases­-second­-gm­-b...
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I seem to recall at least once where they released a build to GM and then found a bug before the discs were in stores, requiring a rushed patch that was waiting for download immediately after the OS was installed.
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I believe that they did have a slight version change for snow leopard, but any changes from here on out will probably be issued through software update
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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.
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