I’ve written before about how my machine dies from time to time – it becomes unresponsive, can’t open new Terminal windows, can’t quit some applications, can’t login as anything. Basically, it’s the big kahuna, the Dementor’s Kiss for any work I have underway.
After a number of episodes of this (which comes around every week or so at present) I’ve found what is at least a symptom: the process
nmblookup appears in the process list. Once that’s there,
abandon all hope ye who would like to press Enter here. You’ll never recover the machine: all lookups fail, and many processes such as Microsoft Word, iCal and Mail won’t exit gracefully – they seem to be doing some sort of lookup before they quit which, of course, can’t be resolved, so they just hang forever.
Sometimes, I do catch
lookupd (which is the daemon that does name server lookups, eg for google.com) when it’s given up. You can kill it and it will restart automatically; no problem. But as I say, if the machine is hanging (typical problem: browser unresponsive in Activity Monitor) and you find that
nmblookup is running, you’re toast, and so is any unsaved work.
In the latest episode, I’d not done anything. In fact I’d been away from my machine, which was still happily connected to the office (Appleshare) network.
Can anyone explain why, and what the hell
nmblookup is meant to do, and why it would be appearing in this situation, while I reboot my machine?
Update: from around the web: this Macfixit thread suggests it might be
related to some sort of race condition between lookupd and crashreporter.
..And then some more reading of the same thread suggests it’s due to a bug in
..And there’s this Stepwise piece which says “We’re reported the bug to Apple, and they plan to release a bug fix before the next release of the OS.” Hope you weren’t holding your breath – that was May 1999.