Crashing (especially Safari)? Remove Input Managers first!

Input Managers - Just say no.

[Published Friday, July 6th]

A recent cartoon in The New Yorker shows a doctor telling his patient: "Sure, it's a routine procedure, if you routinely have someone slice you open with sharp instruments and then fiddle with your insides." Pretty funny, eh? Who would "routinely" permit that? Yet MacFixIt readers do routinely do something analogous to applications that they depend on - and then they wonder why those applications are behaving oddly.

We here at a MacFixIt continue to receive email from people who are disregarding our advice about Input Managers. How many times do we have to say it? We've told you in the past here (for example), and recently here and here. And we have repeatedly referred to this article, which explains what Input Managers do. They reach right into an application and alter its code! This puts the behavior of the affected application outside the control and responsibility of its developers.

To permit that kind of thing is to revert to the confusion of Mac OS 9 and before, with its conflicting INITs and Extensions that were so difficult to manage and caused all kinds of incomprehensible crashes. If an application doesn't have a feature that you want, place a feature request with the developers, or use a different application. Don't modify the application behind the developers' back.

At their worst, Input Managers can be a massive and frightening security hole. Remember, one of these puppies can make your applications do things they were never intended to do. That's what the Oompa-Loompa trojan was all about, remember? The trojan was itself just a proof of concept, and didn't make your application's misbehave in any drastic way; but it could have, and that was the point.

Just today we received this email:

Dear Sirs:

Safari 2.0.4 freezes on Mac OS X 10.4.10 while surfing Internet. Console says:

2007-07-06 08:07:28.023 Console[1117] *** -[NSBundle load]: Error loading code /Library/InputManagers/Menu Extra Enabler/Menu Extra Enabler.bundle/Contents/MacOS/Menu Extra Enabler for bundle /Library/InputManagers/Menu Extra Enabler/Menu Extra Enabler.bundle, error code 2 (link edit error code 0, error number 0 ())

I am puzzled.

Well, stop being puzzled and try the advice we have given again and again. Stop using Input Managers. Just stop it! Locate your InputManagers folders (in your user Library directory and in the top-level /Library directory), empty them, and restart the computer. Yes, you'll lose some cute customization, but you'll gain a computer that operates with more of the stability and predictability that you expect from Mac OS X.

Resources
  • The New Yorker
  • here
  • here
  • here
  • this article
  • difficult to manage
  • Oompa-Loompa trojan
  • More from Tutorials
  •  

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