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meshpig
04-15-2008, 09:45 AM
Hi

I'm stretching it a bit here because this has nothing directly to do with LW.

At the same time, I have a reputable app. which is somehow directly associated with the generation of corrupt or otherwise dysfunctional .plist files in the Users/~/Library/Preferences dir which totally mess with it's performance. Like it fatally hangs the whole system, but if deleted during the session, no problem!

Don't panic, I don't think it's mac malware ( no prizes for being the first) because I did a clean install a few days ago then went offline and unpacked the same app. and no change!

-10.5.2 with all updates. No hardware probs.

Apple says it's x, and x says it's Apple.

In the same dir like in the local prefs, I can see when I open x app. these ****-cake .plist files arise.

if I modify their permissions to "read only", new names are applied when the app. opens a new project and I then have x 2 more apparently redundant/corrupt files created.

Storm in a Tea Cup but significant because they crash/hang the whole system without the hang reporter identifying them. The app works fine if the dodgy prefs are trashed mid session.

Yeah like this is nothing new, but...

anyone paying attention to this?

m:devil::devil::devil:

rakker16mm
04-15-2008, 10:11 AM
I wonder if you could create an apple script to move the files to the trash.

eblu
04-15-2008, 11:48 AM
I wonder if you could make your story easy to follow.

what app is making this plist?
do you know what a plist is?

why exactly are you making it read only? because that will definitely force the app to generate more plist files.

How do you know that the files are corrupt exactly?

Chilton
04-15-2008, 01:41 PM
meshpig,

That is very weird. Is the reason you are keeping the name of the offending app quiet because it is a competitor's product?

If not, I'd be happy to help figure it out if you can provide more info on it.

-Chilton

meshpig
04-15-2008, 06:27 PM
meshpig,

That is very weird. Is the reason you are keeping the name of the offending app quiet because it is a competitor's product?

If not, I'd be happy to help figure it out if you can provide more info on it.

-Chilton

Thanks Chilton.

No, not a competitor as such, more that I don't know enough about it to say anything definite.

The plist antics is surely only a symptom of another conflict elsewhere, all I know is their tech support say the app doesn't generate these files yet it is the only app which does and they have/ are symptoms with dire consequences. Permissions verify identifies them as damaged/parse error and not repairable.

I changed the permissions to "read only" to see if it was writing into them during it's operation and yes, it does but how if they're not associated with the application itself?

The files themselves reveal nothing and in fact don't appear to be any different from any other similar file but then at some point all the data is replaced by only "YY" on line 1.

They're looking at my system profile but the same app ran on Tiger with no problems and I have an older version on the G4 and there are no such files being generated there... but if I run the older version via the network from the G5, it too creates the same and crashes???

I can't really tell you much more except the system is otherwise functioning normally and the particular app runs normally too once I've deleted those files.

matt

meshpig
04-16-2008, 12:36 AM
I wonder if you could make your story easy to follow.

what app is making this plist?
do you know what a plist is?

why exactly are you making it read only? because that will definitely force the app to generate more plist files.

How do you know that the files are corrupt exactly?

I don't really know whether they're corrupt or not except that Disk Warrior singles them out as "damaged".

Whether or not they are actually responsible for the instability is what I am trying to establish.

As it happens, today I had the same freeze whilst using X-plane. I didn't want to name the app ( Unity 2.02 game-engine ) because I wasn't sure if it was the cause.

Even still, why it's generating files it shouldn't be is still a mystery.

Time to take the machine to the shop to run a proper hardware diagnostic to rule that out or in.

Life's tough when your machine is on the blink!!!

m

meshpig
04-16-2008, 01:42 AM
Chilton

Here's a bit more info if you have the time?

I bought a 3gb chipset from OWC just before installing Leopard. The 1 gb chip actually died today and no longer registers in the profiler. I replaced it with the old 512mb but I have a nasty feeling the 2 gb is on the way out too.

I can't check it myself by putting the old chips back in because Leopard won't run Unity or X-plane on 1 gb RAM.

That might explain the RAM intensive apps like Unity and X-plane, as it turns out being the main victims?

As for the weird plists which Unity claims shouldn't be there, is it possible that they just bring on the same panic sooner and when removed don't... but it crashes eventually anyway I see now. Or are they possibly a product of the faulty RAM?


Thanks.

m

ps. after such a crash the desktop gets these artifacts

57745

eblu
04-16-2008, 05:48 AM
mesh.
openGL. no plist is ever going to cause you a hard crash. they might be open when the machine goes down, the app may be writing to them when the bug occurs, but there is something bigger going on here.

its time to collect the exact specs of the machine, the name of the plist file thats corrupted, and the steps that you are typically running when the crash occurs.

btw... your "artifact" looks strangely like a mac desktop, theres a tiny freaking menu in it, with a drop shadow, gradient shading, and even an apple on the left! your texture memory is getting messed up!!! This is looking more and more like something is screwing up openGL or quartz.

Chilton
04-16-2008, 05:58 AM
I agree with eblu, this looks like a video card issue. That's about the only thing that can bring down the whole OS.

These .plist files though--are they actually named, ".plist" ?

And what is in them?

-Chilton

meshpig
04-16-2008, 06:38 AM
I agree with eblu, this looks like a video card issue. That's about the only thing that can bring down the whole OS.

These .plist files though--are they actually named, ".plist" ?

And what is in them?

-Chilton

Thanks to both of you, but that sounds bad for me. The 24" iMac has the nvidea GT 7300 built-in.

Chilton: They're empty for the most, just the one line with only YY in it.

Yes, they are named: "com.conic.setout.plist" for example and multiply with ever more quasi medical/pharmaceutical sounding names?

Ok, thanks, I'll take that as good advice.

matt

Chilton
04-16-2008, 06:59 AM
And you say both Unity3D and X-plane create this file, or is it just Unity3D?

-Chilton

Chilton
04-16-2008, 07:06 AM
Hi,

Another, more important question--do you use Logic Pro?

-Chilton

meshpig
04-16-2008, 08:07 AM
And you say both Unity3D and X-plane create this file, or is it just Unity3D?

-Chilton

Just Unity creates the odd prefs. But they share a common crash scenario...

m

meshpig
04-16-2008, 08:18 AM
Hi,

Another, more important question--do you use Logic Pro?

-Chilton

Chilton

No I don't but if you're aiming at the LW9 dongle I've ruled that out already.

m

Chilton
04-16-2008, 09:02 AM
No, I did some research on that plist, and found that it's happening in other apps as well. And I read the thread on the Unity site. This is a really odd problem. That file, btw, is not empty. It's 'invalid' because it does not contain plist data. It does, however, contain binary data. I don't know if it's executable data or not.

Curiouser and curiouser...

-Chilton

meshpig
04-16-2008, 06:04 PM
... so it would seem sir! Thanks for that. The one's I posted on the Unity forum were created on the first run of Unity after a clean install. They contain data for about 5 or 6 runs then revert to just "YY". Perhaps after you verify permissions?

m

eblu
04-16-2008, 10:20 PM
binary? in a plist? Logic and Unity make the file? Mesh, get a virus program, or update the one you have, just in case.
next... enumerate for me, the latest plugins... hardware and software, thats you've added to your system.

I'm talking about photoshop plugins, hard drives, usb pen lights... everything, especially smart devices like scanners. I had a cannon scanner that generated files in the preference folder... about 50 a day, and each one was named with gibberish, including unprintable characters. Cannon said it was "expected behavior". the files never caused me to crash, but I kicked the scanner to the curb anyway.

if unity and logic are making these files, there either has to be something in common, someone is wrong, or theres a virus.

Chilton
04-16-2008, 10:41 PM
Meshpig,

Alright, here's what you do to figure this out...

1) Read up on opensnoop.
http://theappleblog.com/page/6/

2) Either use it from the Terminal, or use one of the utilities on that page, to monitor your drive(s) while you spin up Unity.

The offending program/plug-in/widget/whatever, be it Unity (which I doubt) or something else (which I suspect) will be revealed.

3) Come back here and let us know. We're of the curious breed.

-Chilton

meshpig
04-17-2008, 05:06 AM
Meshpig,

Alright, here's what you do to figure this out...

1) Read up on opensnoop.
http://theappleblog.com/page/6/

2) Either use it from the Terminal, or use one of the utilities on that page, to monitor your drive(s) while you spin up Unity.

The offending program/plug-in/widget/whatever, be it Unity (which I doubt) or something else (which I suspect) will be revealed.

3) Come back here and let us know. We're of the curious breed.

-Chilton


Thanks Chilton, you're a genius... it ran me out of ink but I have found it.

Comes up as UID 501 PID 132 FD 8

501 is the Unity ID...??? What else am I looking for?

m

meshpig
04-17-2008, 05:28 AM
binary? in a plist? Logic and Unity make the file? Mesh, get a virus program, or update the one you have, just in case.
next... enumerate for me, the latest plugins... hardware and software, thats you've added to your system.

I'm talking about photoshop plugins, hard drives, usb pen lights... everything, especially smart devices like scanners. I had a cannon scanner that generated files in the preference folder... about 50 a day, and each one was named with gibberish, including unprintable characters. Cannon said it was "expected behavior". the files never caused me to crash, but I kicked the scanner to the curb anyway.

if unity and logic are making these files, there either has to be something in common, someone is wrong, or theres a virus.

eblu

Thanks for the input. I'm booking it in for a logic board test as well.

Yeah, I'd be pi**ed too if Canon tossed that crap at me.

m

eblu
04-17-2008, 05:37 AM
uid is the user id... 501 is anther way to refer to you PID and FD are the important values. Pid is the process id, ummm... the serial number of the particular sub-program.
FD is file id. its a serial number for the file being accessed by the sub-program.

you can launch unity
do opensnoop
make sure that a bad Plist is created.
copy the results of opensnoop to texteedit
and then search the opensnoop output for the filename, to see which app made the file.

it will tell you in plain enrgish.

meshpig
04-17-2008, 06:16 AM
eblu

This is what I get.

57797

m

Chilton
04-17-2008, 08:28 AM
Hi Meshpig,

Those aren't the droids you're looking for.

What you're seeing in that case is Unity's actual plist, and then the name of the app touching it, in this case MDWorker. MDS and MDWorker are other names for part of Spotlight, which will also be poking at files in the background. In other words, this time, that's not it. What you want to do is let that openSnoop run for a bit while you're in Unity, and see if the path to these mystery .plist files show up.

Or if you have one of those mystery .plist files already, and leave it there while openSnoop runs, if Unity itself actually trips over it somehow, you'll see its name next to one of the paths to the errant plist.

So just let it run for a bit and watch for those files. As soon as you see one, go halt openSnoop and search the contents. Also, set your scrollback buffer in Terminal.app to Unlimited (in Terminal.app's preferences) before you run openSnoop so you can make sure you catch it. And try to run as few apps as possible at the same time, or you'll see traffic from everything.

Search for the name of the files you're finding that are corrupted. Then look after that line and see who did it.

-Chilton

Chilton
04-17-2008, 08:41 AM
I hate you, 5 minute edit limit...

------------- Elaboration ----------------

You can also cut down on extraneous background file access by the Finder by following these instructions:
1) Close all windows in the Finder except the one that will have the errant plist in it.
2) Remove all icons from the desktop. Put them in a temp folder and shuffle that off for the time being. ***
3) Set that one remaining window to View as List, and turn off all additional detail (command+j while the window is open in list mode).

-Chilton

*** Note: 'for the time being' is an English phrase meaning 'right now', often used when you want to sound fancy. For those whose primary language is not English, and who are sci-fi fans, I am referring to an inexact point in time, not a super-powerful entity that can travel back and forth through, control, or distort time. Though I am sure that entity exists, was the inventor of the 5 minute edit timeout for forum posts, and apparently has it out for me.

meshpig
04-17-2008, 10:29 PM
Chilton

Thanks for your patience and persistence.

I have a feeling the "time being" might also be at work here...

If they are only generated when you open a project, is it likely they will appear in another guise whilst Unity is running?

I deleted them when opensnoop was running and that didn't reveal much either.

57826


But otherwise seen nothing which suggests they're active and being used once the app is up and running.

Which rather spoils the fun?? Unsporting little critters.

m

Chilton
04-17-2008, 11:24 PM
Unsporting critters indeed!

If you trash those plists, then fire up opensnoop, then fire up Unity, do those files eventually appear? If so, look back through the details that opensnoop reveals, and find the first instance of that file. That should tell you who made it.

-Chilton

meshpig
04-18-2008, 02:48 AM
Chilton

OK, gotcha!...

2008 Apr 18 13:17:34 501 103 11 /Users/~/Library/Preferences/com.hostcyte.octodecimo.plist Finder\0

It helps to be systematic. This is the first instance of it.

There's another part to this story if it means what it suggests.

Thanks.

m

Chilton
04-18-2008, 05:55 AM
Hi Meshpig,

If that's the first time it shows up, and the file wasn't there before this happens, that means that the Finder is the culprit in this case. Weird!

What's the second part of the story?

-Chilton

eblu
04-18-2008, 06:38 AM
Chilton, the finder is making the file!!!!!!????? kext?
ugh. the file name suggests to me that the file name was at some point being generated by a bot with a dictionary.
google hostcyte
and octodecimo.


Meshpig, if you have virus protection, call their tech support now.

Chilton
04-18-2008, 07:06 AM
eblu,

I would suspect (in this order):
1) Input manager of some sort -- these suck and I hate them. I rank them first because I really hate them. Or SIMBL.
2) kext -- good call
3) Some 'enhancer' like APE. Something that would use Mach Inject.
4) Some Finder plug-in
5) Some background app like QuickSilver.
6) Some AppleScript
7) Some commandline tool hooked into another service.
8) Virus or malware of some sort.
9) Some video card driver debug code left in by accident.
10) Something else so I have an even 10 things in my list.

-Chilton

meshpig
04-19-2008, 01:28 AM
Hi Meshpig,


What's the second part of the story?

-Chilton

Chilton

That the hangs and freezes began with installing Leopard
(Dec 07) and Finder needed to be constantly relaunched soon after (I use zoom a lot and it would get stuck).

Unity started guaranteeing a seizure in Feb 08 but just as I was repopulating the desktop after doing the upensnoop test with no apps open and nothing on the desktop... bang!, the exact same crash.

I'm totally impressed although I don't fully understand your 10 point diagnosis.

I did a clean install 2 weeks ago and ran Unity from a new dmg whilst being offline. Would that rule out a virus?

Are you saying it's like an Apple bug in Finder or is it a hardware/logic board problem? Weird, because I had no problem with Tiger. I did buy some RAM to run Leopard but that's the only difference and putting the old RAM back in it still did it?

What to do??

Thanks!

m

meshpig
04-19-2008, 01:50 AM
Chilton, the finder is making the file!!!!!!????? kext?
ugh. the file name suggests to me that the file name was at some point being generated by a bot with a dictionary.
google hostcyte
and octodecimo.


Meshpig, if you have virus protection, call their tech support now.

eblu

Unfortunately, if you google them you'll get only my posts at Unity and here.
There was nothing for the com.conic.setout ( the other culpit) before either.

Thanks, I use Norton for want of anything better. I'll give them a bell.

m

Chilton
04-19-2008, 06:23 AM
Hi Meshpig,


Chilton
That the hangs and freezes began with installing Leopard
(Dec 07) and Finder needed to be constantly relaunched soon after (I use zoom a lot and it would get stuck).


If you are referring to the control+scroll wheel zoom feature, you can override that with the shortcuts for Universal Access if you get stuck. Take a look at the Universal Access panel in Preferences for more info on that.



Unity started guaranteeing a seizure in Feb 08 but just as I was repopulating the desktop after doing the opensnoop test with no apps open and nothing on the desktop... bang!, the exact same crash.


That's not right, but it's what I'd expect. See below.



I did a clean install 2 weeks ago and ran Unity from a new dmg whilst being offline. Would that rule out a virus?

No, whatever this is, is not actually linked to Unity. Unity is just tickling whatever is causing the problem.



Are you saying it's like an Apple bug in Finder or is it a hardware/logic board problem?

The fact that 'octodecimo' shows up, is too 'human' for a bug, especially a hardware one. My suspicion is that it's a background process, or something injecting code somewhere else.

So let's try this instead. Since you've seen this without Unity running, quit all of your programs, fire up Terminal.app, paste this in, and hit return.


top -tl 1 -f

This will list everything resident in memory right now. Then email, PM, or post the resulting text. Don't take a screenshot, as the text will likely exceed the height of your window, and some possibly important stuff might be left out.

-Chilton
([email protected])

Chilton
04-19-2008, 06:25 AM
...also adding (pretty high up) to my list of culprits would be software protection...

meshpig
04-19-2008, 08:17 AM
Chilton

You mean do I have any aberrant licenses or other hardware locks? No.

I follow how it's not a bug.

I don't use the control+scroll zoom anyway (I'm legally blind, as it were but that tawdry fact doesn't stop me from overusing it. MM scroll lasts about a month per unit).

The Terminal output:-

57885

m

PS. Good Morning!

Chilton
04-19-2008, 08:34 AM
Okay, there are a few odd ones in that list. I'll do some research and get back with you.

-Chilton

meshpig
04-20-2008, 04:17 AM
Chilton

I've found another Unity user who has the same files, different names happening when Unity fire's up. It doesn't crash his system though. I mean we know it's not Unity but I thought I'd add that.

I've been reading about "magic menu" too ( Stuffit ) but just did an activity monitor quit and it made no difference, Unity still brought it down.

-My system doesn't have an "input manager" folder only "input method" which are empty in both dir's and magic menu is an app in the app folder??

m

Chilton
04-20-2008, 09:00 AM
Hi meshpig,

I'd consider anything that is not of Apple origin a suspect here.

Three from your list spring to mind, SymQuickMe, MagicMenu, and anything Norton or anti-virus*.

I'd get rid of all third party plug-ins for the System itself, and remove everything in your /Library/Startup Items/ folder, and see what happens next...

-Chilton

*Here's the thing--while most people would consider anti-virus software to be a good thing, there aren't any real Mac viruses. I'm not going to go into why this is, or if I think this will always be the case. But for now, I would like to point out that no viruses exist, and any piece of always-on software you add to your system increases entropy in that system.

meshpig
04-21-2008, 12:56 AM
Chilton

Thanks again.. I 've always thought that and only bought anti-virus a few weeks ago because I thought maybe the situation had changed. Needless to say I didn't find any viruses.

Also removing the plug-ins from the start up menu didn't seem to prevent the freezes or Unity doing one or other of it's jigs last night.

So,... I know you're saying it's not a hardware problem but I've had it booked into the apple garage for a while so I thought I'd keep my place in the que and get it checked for what it's worth ( ... a week without the problem?).

I will post in a week if you are stil interested. Your help is much appreciated.

Thanks!

m

eblu
04-21-2008, 08:42 AM
mesh,
let us all know what apple comes up with.

meshpig
04-21-2008, 03:38 PM
will do!

m

meshpig
04-29-2008, 04:30 AM
Ahem!

I know everyone is waiting with bated breath to hear about my sick iMac...

Well, a week later Apple are telling me it took them 3 days to get a crash... I bet they just leave them on because it crashed on screen saver all by it's little self.

In the meantime, I've checked the strange plist files on several computers across the globe and on my G4 and Unity just brings them on. Pro Books get five, PPC's 3 and Intel Imacs 2. Shsssh! How would you be though, as they say?

How incredibly boring if it's just a hardware problem after all? I really thought we were sleuthing it to the max, hunting down droids and rendering them null and void!!

Damn, I really don't like the shiny screen covers on the new imacs either.

ETA Friday!

m:hammer:

meshpig
05-06-2008, 02:59 AM
RAM, RAM thank you MAM!

- Intermittent RAM fault in the after market chips (both).

m:thumbsdow

eblu
05-06-2008, 07:38 AM
sorry to hear that,
but it is gratifying to know that the software troubleshooting didn't miss anything.

meshpig
05-07-2008, 03:35 AM
Thanks, yes that's very gratifying.

-The RAM itself is no huge cost...

m

meshpig
05-09-2008, 05:28 AM
Yeah right, problem hasn't gone away with 2 new RAM chips and considering lobbing the useless kit and caboodle into the nearest ditch.

- I will give GPS coordinates when I do if anyone wants a mud covered imac.

Before I do though, in build 1371 I'm getting artifacts like so. After flipping a few polys.

They're definitely not polygonal.

58655


Same thing I see in X-plane sometimes.

WTF?

m

Chilton
05-09-2008, 05:56 AM
"build 1371" ? What is that, some kind of secret code? Oh yes, you're referring to the Open Beta stuff there. I'll see if some kind soul will move this thread...

-Chilton

meshpig
05-11-2008, 12:34 AM
Chilton

No problem, I'll begin again there.

m