Reading a Crash Report

scalf's picture

I am wondering if we can gather some ideas in one place for reading crash reports, spin dumps, and other messages. Then how to interpret and make use of them within Quartz Composer

Sometimes it is obvious why a program crashed, other times you look at the crash report and it is not always obvious what it says - to the untrained eye.

-> Which are the right reports to look at, and where can they be found, after Quartz Composer crashes/freezes/stops responding?

-> What parts of the report are important to look at?

-> How can one make use of them?

sinsynplus started a thread over here but I think there can be more http://kineme.net/forum/General/readingacrashreport

Thanks for any tips or resources!

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Achim Breidenbach's picture
Re: Reading a Crash Report

In case Quartz Composer freezes or is performing badly there is no log for it. You have to use the Activity Viewer app to get a "Spin dump" (select the Quartz Composer process in the list an click "Sample Process"). This gives slightly different information than a crash report but you may be able to see which part causes Quartz Composer to stall.

In case of a crash you will get a crash log obviously. In this log there are all threads of a process listed and what they were doing at the time of the crash. Often it helps to look at the "Crashed Thread" to see which component actually causes the crash. Sometimes the crash is caused by a total different part of the app so this information might be misleading thought.

After the thread section of the log there are all binaries listed that were loaded during the runtime of Quartz Composer. Here you can lookup all the plugins the Quartz Composer has found in your system. Many Quartz Composer crashes are caused by incompatible plugins (that weren't maintained for your installed MacOS) so check the list for any unexpected plugins (The universe is full of surprises! ;-) ). For convenience the full system file path for each binary is given so you are able to locate it quickly for deinstallation.

In one of the last sections in a crash log you will find the memory usage of the crashed app. If you are running Quartz Composer in 32 bit mode, it usually crashes at usage of about 3.6 GB of total used memory. That about the memory a 32 bit app can acquire from the MacOS system (even if it is specified for 4 GB). That does NOT include graphics card memory (VRAM) ! Running in 64 bit gives you literally unlimited memory usage but your system isn't infinit so it may stall and/or crash.

However it takes some practise and OS insights to read a crash log in detail. If there are any doubts post it here and we will have a look! :-)