General System Failure

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
November 21st, 2003 • 1:16 am

It was, as usual, too good to be true… I had been using Panther non-stop for over two weeks, without a single restart. I had been doing all kinds of stuff, from burning CDs to laying out a review in InDesign to designing a cover in Photoshop to working on all kinds of Word documents to visiting all kinds of web sites with Safari and Camino to downloading all kinds of files via FTP and HTTP and…

I had a file download in progress in Safari. I was typing Mail, BBEdit, Word, etc. I was visiting a number of sites. I was playing with some pictures.

The first hiccup happened in Photoshop. I tried to save an image file as a BMP, I clicked on “Save”, and nothing happened. Photoshop stopped responding. I then switched to Safari to make sure the downloading process was still proceeding as expected. No problem. I got some new messages in Mail and checked them.

I then went to type and save something in BBEdit. BBEdit stopped responding as well. Then things started getting worse much faster. The Dock stopped responding. I was able to click on the windows of other applications to bring them to the fore, but then those other applications would stop responding as well. Eventually, I was getting the spinning pizza everywhere.

I had no choice but to press on the Power button on my Apple Cinema Display and wait for five seconds. (I only found out recently that I didn’t have to reach for the Power button on the G4 itself to do a hard reset.)

Unfortunately, what this all means is that there are still vulnerabilities in Panther that can lead to a general system failure. And since there’s not much I can do to try and identify the source of the bug (there are no system logs for freezes, only for crashes), it also means that such problems are likely to remain with us for the foreseeable future.

They are unfortunately rather uncommon, but they are not completely gone, as my experience demonstrates.

2 Responses to “General System Failure”

  1. Pierre Igot says:

    I don’t know what it is, but my problem definitely turned into an irreversible system failure.

    Maybe it’s only because I use BBEdit a lot, but I’ve certainly noticed that BBEdit is often “involved” in such problems. I don’t really see why it would be, though.

    I’ve noticed hiding problems with other applications in Panther, though. So I suspect your particular problem was not specific to BBEdit.

  2. John Moltz says:

    I had a weird experience in BBEdit this morning. First it wouldn’t bring up the Open dialog so I rebooted. Then it would open something but it wouldn’t Hide. I could minimize to the Dock, but not Hide it. When I’d minimize and then click back on BBEdit, the icon in the Dock would look faded out, like it was hidden (I have that option turned on).

    I used to use Cocktail to tweak settings like that. Wonder if that’s the issue.

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