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Tue 04 Jul 2006

Bonjour Mystery

Category : Technology

The 10.4.7 "launchctl load / Bonjour Workaround Error" mystery deepens. I've been searching for an answer for hours. Nothing turns up from a Google search and I wonder who else is affected by it.

Launchctl is used to turn or off the network-related daemons, like Bind, Fetchmail, Postfix, POP, IMAP, and even the Bonjour (previously known as Rendezvous) service itself.

I've turned off Bonjour (not that I want to, because it's built so closely into the fabric of Mac OS X, e.g., BBedit crashed as soon as I turned off Bonjour), to see if it'll stop the workaround error from occuring. But no change, it still does.

Even reloading Bonjour will throw up the "Workaround Bonjour: Unknown Error" as shown below :

So, in 10.4.7, Workaround Bonjour occurs every time a call to /bin/launchctl is made, no matter which services are launched. And it affects both PPC and Intel Macs updated to 10.4.7.

The thing is, the launchctl command actually succeeds and completes. But it'll be followed by the Workaround Bonjour command(?) which executes and then just hangs there. Where did that come from? That's the big question.

From the point of view of a user using DNS Enabler, or trying to enable Postfix, IMAP, POP or Fetchmail (as opposed to just restarting Postfix, POP or IMAP), he'll see the progress indicator spin for a long time, until the application decides to time out and return control to the user.

Actually all the services have completed successfully - if the user has the patience to wait for a minute or so - and all the Postfix, DNS, POP, IMAP, Fetchmail services would have been set up correctly, even before the Bonjour Workaround Error hang-up occur.

But watching the progress indicator spin for a minute or so, I'm sure the user would (reasonably) feel that something has gone wrong. Wait is what the user should do, because the Bonjour Workaround would eventually time out.

Remember this only came with 10.4.7. And the services, once enabled, will work correctly as usual, even across reboots. It's just that the "enabling" process will seem to take longer (when it used to take a mere few seconds).

So, don't be in a hurry to update your server. Wait for things to be fixed.

Conversely, that's why I do the updates as soon as they appear - it's better that I know before I'm swamped with mail from the users. The search continues. I'm starting to hate this thing called Bonjour.

As an aside, I'm learning to appreciate how having a weblog helps in a situation like this. It's a low-overhead communications tool, to keep the communications channel open, for when the time is better spent searching for solutions. I say this because I've often wondered what a weblog is worth - surely it's not meant to be a diary because who cares what I think or do? - surely there's got to be a more potent use.

Posted at 4:33PM SGT | permalink


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