Kernel panic

I’ve written before about how, according to Apple, reason number 1 to get a Mac is because “all the hardware and software just works, and works well together“. I can’t be bothered to get into the whole Mac vs. [Windows] PC (vs. Linux) thing now… I’ve written plenty on that subject before, and anyway – it’s just a PC – but no sooner had I just commented to Alex about how a certain podcast presenter is very quick to criticise Windows for it’s blue screens of death (of which I’ve seen very few in recent years – and only then because I’ve done something stupid like installing the wrong device driver or removing a hard disk before powering down the computer), did I witness my first OS X kernel panic (actually, from looking at /Library/Logs/panic.log, I seems that I had one a few days ago as well, which explains why the Mac had strangely shut itself down whilst I was at work one day last week).

Mac OS X kernel panic

So, my point is that Macs don’t “just work”. They run software, created by humans, that crashes from time to time, just like non-Apple PCs running any other operating system. Now, if Apple really could create “the world’s most advanced operating system” and it did “just work”, I’d be very impressed.

3 thoughts on “Kernel panic


  1. Well, that’s certainly set the record straight: your Mac has crashed once (maybe twice) in over a year of ownership. I bet Apple are eating their words now!

    If you weren’t so permanently riled by Apple’s choice of advertising slogans and so focused on proving it wrong at every opportunity, you might stop to consider that Apple did make a machine that “just works”, and you broke it.


  2. If you want me to set the record straight, in a year of ownership, my Mac has crashed (or at least become unresponsive and required a restart), on average, once a week and, it would seem, experienced two kernel panics (with different causes) this week. Over the same period, the various Windows XP and Server 2003 computers that I run have not had any significant issues (my Windows Vista machine is probably on a par with the Mac) – except when I did something stupid – as I already mentioned.

    Apple did not make a machine that “just works”. Neither did Microsoft, Red Hat, Novell, or anyone else who provides an operating system for PC hardware. The difference is that Apple’s advertising is inaccurate (and would probably be illegal in the UK – I understand that it’s normal to deride the competition in the US).

    If I did accept that I broke it, it would seem that I broke it, by keeping it patched to the latest levels and running iTunes, Firefox, Entourage, Photoshop and Cyberduck at the same time – not exactly an unreasonable demand for a multi-tasking operating system running on a dual-core machine with a couple of gigs of RAM.

    Now, if you weren’t so focused on defending Apple at every opportunity, perhaps you might re-read what I wrote last night and notice that I stopped short of saying that any one system is better than any other – just that OS X falls down sometimes too.


  3. If you look back at some of your previous Apple-lambasting posts, you’ll discover that I actually don’t defend Apple at every opportunity. Most of your “Apple’s ad campaigns are heinous lies and would earn them a public flogging in the UK” posts* get no retort from me whatsoever. Nice attempt at a rejoinder using my own phrasing though ;)

    I agree that you certainly don’t seem to be making unreasonable demands of your machine, although Entourage and Photoshop CS2 will both be running under Rosetta, which won’t help. If I was suffering a restart every week, I would wipe and reinstall, and I suggest you do the same. In my experience, a required weekly reboot is poor for any PC; I wouldn’t expect that from a Windows machine and I certainly wouldn’t stand for it from a Mac. My current uptime is 5 days and that’s only because I had to restart after installing OS updates; fair enough.

    My Linux experience is limited (to 30 minutes of Ubuntu) but I would say that Microsoft also make an operating system that “just works”. The instability comes when third-party developers write code which interferes with the OS, or doesn’t remove itself properly leading to registry bloat. Norton Internet Security, I’m looking in your direction.

    I thought Apple’s assertion was that other things “just work” with a Mac. This is an assertion that was proven to me when I plugged my camcorder into my new iMac which saw it and interfaced with it straight away. On Windows, I had to install and use clunky, ugly third-party software. Windows wouldn’t see the camcorder without installing the drivers and Windows Move Maker 2 wouldn’t read the movies.

    iMac and iMovie just worked.

    * It’s satire; I know you never wrote those exact words.

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