1.8.8-5 crash macOS Catalina

szymon

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May 2, 2020
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So there I was, adding files to a list (I think I was about to do calibration of about 180 lights), when bam the whole PI window vanishes, and after some time up pops the dreaded problem report box, abort due to EXC_BAD_ACCESS, so I thought I'd file a report. Crash dump attached as txt file.

-simon

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szymon

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May 2, 2020
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Same just happened again -- no warning whatsoever. I was saving a final image as PNG, and bam. Completely different data, completely different action to the previous crash. While you might say "it's not being caused by PixInsight", it's the only app that crashes like this. In this instance it's really irritating, because I've lost a whole evening's work -- perhaps I can recover some of the files from the swap directory, but the history as I understand it is gone.

Is there any way to make project files auto-save every few minutes?

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szymon

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May 2, 2020
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And another crash -- this time I was just running a blink. Thankfully I've learned to save my project after every major action so I didn't lose any serious work, but it's getting kind of irritating... ;-)

Since it's only PI that is doing this, is there any way that I can work towards tracking down what is happening? Some sort of extra logging or something which could tell us whether it's interacting with something specific to my system, perhaps my hardware or a program I have installed or something?

-simon

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szymon

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May 2, 2020
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yes, it’s a 16” 2019 MacBook with 32Gb of memory and an octocore intel i9.

thanks, I will install chrome and chromium and see if I can get something else to break :cool:
 

Juan Conejero

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Installing Chrome shouldn't change anything because PixInsight uses its own version, which is integrated with the core application.

I am writing this on a MacBook Pro 15-inch 2018 with a 6-core Intel Core i9, 32 GB of RAM, Radeon Pro 560X 4 GB, and macOS 10.15.4. PixInsight works perfectly on this laptop, which is very similar to yours.

See my answer to this report. Disabling the integrated Intel HD graphics adapter should solve all of these issues.
 

szymon

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May 2, 2020
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Unfortunately I already have that setting enabled — I only use the discrete graphics card, as the machine is more of a desktop than a laptop (I work from home permanently so it never really gets unplugged from the desk!). My though was that if I can replicate the crash with some other chromium based app then I have something else to debug...
 

Juan Conejero

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In such case I have no idea of what could be causing these crashes. I cannot reproduce them, so fixing them is very difficult.

I'll try to analyze the crash reports to see if I can find something that could give me a clue of the origin of the problem. Sorry for not being able to offer more useful help.
 

szymon

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May 2, 2020
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Oh, interesting! In Catalina the option to disable automatic graphics switching is missing:

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so I use a program called gfxCardStatus to ensure that it sticks with the discrete card:

1590218759470.png

Well, it turns out that after a reboot it goes back to dynamic switching! So it looks like we might have a solution after all -- I just need to work out how to make it permanently stick on the discrete card and the world will be good :)

Thank you!
 

szymon

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May 2, 2020
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Interesting addendum -- I run a lot of Web apps as "standalone" applications (because it's easier for me to deal with them that way, my browsers have way too many tabs open usually!). Well, I recently switched from nativefier (which uses electron under the covers) to fluid because my electron based apps were hanging. Electron, of course, uses chromium's rendering engine...
 

pfile

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Nov 23, 2009
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while i wasn't sure if CrBrowserMain was really chromium, from some googling i did see a bunch of people reporting the same crash with electron-based apps around the web. so it seems there is something here, maybe a bug in chromium.

juan - do you think the problem is intel/apple's drivers for the integrated graphics, or does it have something to do with the automatic switching? i am considering a 2020 13" macbook pro but i think they only have intel integrated graphics. if the problem is strictly the intel integrated graphics then maybe that is not such a good choice of machine.

i currently have a 2013 macbook air which also has integrated graphics and have not had problems but i don't use the laptop that intensively for PI, so it is hard to tell how stable it actually is.
 

szymon

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May 2, 2020
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Meep. I spoke too soon. It's happening a lot less since I moved to discrete mode only, but it just crashed on me when I was going through 171 files in blink. Same thing, CrBrowserMain. Logs attached just in case they are at all different...

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szymon

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May 2, 2020
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Just to confirm, when this last one happened I was explicitly in discrete only mode, no dynamic switching...

1590416221876.png
 

Juan Conejero

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Just to confirm, when this last one happened I was explicitly in discrete only mode, no dynamic switching...
Definitely this must be a graphics drivers issue. Try running PixInsight from a terminal with this command:

/Applications/PixInsight/PixInsight.app/Contents/MacOS/PixInsight --opengl=software&

This will disable OpenGL GPU acceleration for the entire user interface. If this does not fix the problems you are experiencing, then I have no solution.
 

Juan Conejero

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juan - do you think the problem is intel/apple's drivers for the integrated graphics, or does it have something to do with the automatic switching?
Probably both. However, the info.plist file included in recent versions of PixInsight forbids automatic graphics switching for the PixInsight core application explicitly:

<key>NSSupportsAutomaticGraphicsSwitching</key>
<false/>


Assuming, of course, that presence of this key is being honored in current macOS versions (no, don't take these things for granted...).

i am considering a 2020 13" macbook pro but i think they only have intel integrated graphics. if the problem is strictly the intel integrated graphics then maybe that is not such a good choice of machine.
Given the long history of buggy OpenGL implementations in Intel HD graphics drivers, I cannot recommend that machine.
 

szymon

Active member
May 2, 2020
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Definitely this must be a graphics drivers issue. Try running PixInsight from a terminal with this command:

/Applications/PixInsight/PixInsight.app/Contents/MacOS/PixInsight --opengl=software&

This will disable OpenGL GPU acceleration for the entire user interface. If this does not fix the problems you are experiencing, then I have no solution.
Umm. So it might just be my imagination, but it seems like the whole interface is significantly faster with this option enabled. Fascinating. So far I haven't seen a downside so I'm going to stick with it for now. (Is there a preferences option that I can flick on to have this permanently enabled rather than having to start it from the command line?).
 

Juan Conejero

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it seems like the whole interface is significantly faster with this option enabled.
Strange, but not excessively surprising to be sincere. Let's see if this stabilizes the application on your machine. I hope so.

There is no way to 'fix' these startup options right now, but I am considering implementing a new command-line argument to make them persistent.
 

pfile

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Nov 23, 2009
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Given the long history of buggy OpenGL implementations in Intel HD graphics drivers, I cannot recommend that machine.
well that's too bad... the 15/16" laptops are just too big for me. there are a plethora of 2018/2019 13" machines hitting the market in various refurb capacities so maybe it makes sense to buy a cheap one and see how it works out before messing with the 2020 machine. the 2020 machine is 'perfect' IMO as it has a) a real ESC key and b) the non-broken keyboard.

oh well.