Mac OS X 10.3.9: Safari 1.3: Java Issues; Plug-in (AcidSearch, etc.) problems; more

Mac OS X 10.3.9: Safari 1.3: Java Issues; Plug-in (AcidSearch, etc.) problems; more


Java Issues By far the most detrimental issue with Mac OS X 10.3.9 for most users is a set of problems affecting the Java subsystem. This range of issues can cause problems with Safari repeatedly quitting, inability to play Java content, and more.

After our initial coverage and posting of some successful workarounds, Apple acknowledged the issue with a Knowledge Base article that offers some limited fixes, including those published here.

Finally, Apple has released a software download that will resolve this issue on most afflicted systems.

In a description of the issue, and subsequent fix, Apple says:

"To reduce the memory footprint of Java applications, the HotSpot Java Virtual Machine (JVM) in Mac OS X makes use of a Java Shared Archive (JSA). The JSA contains the preprocessed internal HotSpot JVM representations of common standard Java classes that would otherwise be found and processed from the standard classes.jar file. Mac OS X 10.3.9 has exposed an issue in the use of the JSA, by which the virtual memory location of libhotspot.dylib can become incompatible with the current JSA. This can result in Java crashing on every execution.

"The Java Update for Mac OS X 10.3.9 addresses this issue.

"After installing the automatic software update and fixing the issue, Java no longer has a Java Shared Archive (hence the optional steps above). Users that run a large number of Java applications simultaneously will see an increase in memory pressure (usually 3Mb per application), because there is no Java Shared Archive."

The Apple Java Update for Mac OS X 10.3.9 is available as a 1 MB download, or through Software Update.

Other solutions for this issue include:

Terminal fix MacFixIt reader Camillo Lugaresi offers a workaround that can be executed through the Terminal (located in Applications/Utilities), and replicates the fixing mechanism utilized by previous workarounds.

The Terminal commands are as follows (press the "Return" key after each line):

  • cd /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.4.2/Libraries/
  • sudo ../Commands/java -Xdump

Camillo explains why this fix works:

"The reason why Java 1.4.2 Update 2 and Security Update 2005-002 can be used to fix the Java issue is that they include the JavaStartup startup item. This startup item rebuilds the Java Shared Archive on the first reboot after the upgrade, and then deletes itself. The commands I suggested above reproduce the exact steps taken by JavaStartup to update the JSA, with the advantage of avoiding a reboot and not requiring any downloads."

Re-applying the combo updater Re-application of the Mac OS X 10.3.9 combination updater has (for some Macs) resolved issues where Safari repeatedly quits.

However, as noted by a number of readers, repairing permissions (using Apple's Disk Utility, located in Applications/Utilities) after the combo update has been installed may be necessary for the fixes to materialize.

MacFixIt reader Tom Lowry writes

"Updated my PowerBook with delta version of Mac OS X 10.3.8, using MacFixIt's tried and tested rules. All went well, no problems, firewire drives working, sleeping etc.

"Safari on the other hand started crashing when closing windows or quitting. Also java on Google maps not working. However terminal was returning java versions with no problem.

"Then applied combo update, again all went well, repaired permissions, one difference noted it repaired as follows:

[Permissions differ on ./private/etc/slpsa.conf, should be -rwxr-xr-x , they are -rw-r--r--
Owner and group corrected on ./private/etc/slpsa.conf
Permissions corrected on ./private/etc/slpsa.conf

"Safari stopped crashing, although Google maps US still not working unless User Agent changed to Windows Internet Explorer [Ed.- Changing the Safari user agent can be accomplished by entering the command defaults write IncludeDebugMenu 1 in the Terminal (located in Applications/Utilities) while Safari is not running, then selecting the desired browser agent) when all worked as should."

Deleting the Safari preference file If you are still having problems with Safari intermittently crashing under Mac OS X 10.3.9 after trying the workarounds posted in the past several days, try deleting the file:


from the folder ~/Library/Preferences and restarting Safari.

Crashes on launch -- removing SIMBL plug-ins, clearing caches Several plug-ins that were causing problems initially under Safari 1.3 have now been updated for compatibility. Make sure you are using the latest versions of all Safari add-ons -- particularly AcidSearch (now at version 0.41) -- if you are experiencing repeated crashes or other issues.

MacFixIt reader Del Marshall writes:

"I updated to Mac OS X 10.3.9 and Safari wouldn't launch, crashed every time. Tried the various fixes currently on your page, no go. Finally looked at plug-ins, updated the neat little add-on called AcidSearch to the latest version, 0.41. All OK now."

If updated, compatible versions of these plug-ins are not available, removing them from the folder Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins (e.g. acidsearch.bundle) will resolve the on-launch crashes in most cases.

Also, as previously noted, several readers have noted that clearing system caches with a tool like OnyX or Panther Cache Cleaner can resolve crash-on-launch issues. Select "Delete all caches" or a "deep" cache clean, dependent on which tool is being used. After deleting caches, use Apple's Disk Utility (Applications/Utilities) to repair permissions.

Slow performance, launches solved by deleting icons folder For most users, Safari 1.3 (included with Mac OS X 10.3.9) provides a noticeable page rendering speed boost.

Some users, however, are experiencing slower performance after applying the update.

In some cases, performance problems can be solved by deleting Icons folder located at ~/Library/Safari/Icons. Note that this procedure will eliminate any favicons (the small logos that appear in Safari's URL entry field for some Web sites) stored in cache.

MacFixIt reader Rick Zerman writes:

"Safari would take 30 or so bounces to load (about 45 seconds) and then run exceedingly slow. Running top -u in a terminal window showed that that Safari process would be using up to 135% of the CPU (dual processor Mac) even to load simple web pages.

"The solution was to go to /[username]/Library/Safari folder and delete the Icons folder."

Apple bookmarks put back A minor annoyance associated with the upgrade to Safari 1.3 is the replacement of Apple's default bookmarks that have been deleted by the user.

MacFixIt reader TJ Ronningen writes:

"The Safari update included an 'update' to my bookmarks. Apple decided I once again needed to have all the bookmarks that they like. This feels like a Microsoft thing to do in the worst sense of the word. Very annoying to weed out the garbage they left behind."

iGetter fix coming iGetter 2.2 Input Manager Bundle is incompatible with the new release of Safari (1.3, included with Mac OS X 10.3.9), causing crashes. To avoid crashing of Safari v1.3 you must uncheck "Add Contextual menu support for Internet browsers" option at iGetter preferences, Integration panel.

The developers of iGetter report that an updated, Mac OS X 10.3.9-compliant release is on the way:

"We're working on a fix of this problem and will release a new version as soon as possible. Note that the 'Integrate with Internet browsers (Watch for URL clicks)' option works well with Safari v1.3."

File saving changes As noted by a number of readers, Safari 1.3 changes the default option from save as to save to download folder. You can still specify the download location by holding down the option key while control-clicking a link.

Flash problems Some users note problems with Macromedia Flash content in Safari 1.3.

One reader writes: "I too am having flash problems. The file just downloads but will not play even though Safari plugins show the Flash plugin is registered. Reinstalling Flash player/plugin doesn't solve the problem either."

MacFixIt reader Michael Landes adds:

"After the Mac OS X 10.3.9 update, Gameday on no longer provides continually updated scoring (i.e. dynamic content for the game) -- it gets stuck on the splash page (you have to reload to get the latest info). Also, with any flash-based video content on, the audio is choppy now. Haven't seen the problem with any other flash sites."

For some readers, however, re-installing Flash does provide resolution.

Safari being updated outside of Applications folder? We normally recommend that users keep any Apple applications inside the default "Applications" folder so they can be properly recognized by Software Update and other processes.

However, some readers are noting that the Mac OS X 10.3.9 installer updates copies of Safari that are not in the default location.

Don Card writes:

"I had an odd experience updating to Mac OS X 10.3.9. Due to the problems reported with Safari, I saved a copy of Safari in a subfolder of my user folder. The updater updated this copy to 1.3 instead of the copy in the Applications Folder! I switched the two, and seem to be doing okay."

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