Bizarre self-inflicted WINE/X11 problem on Mac OS 10.5.
October 28, 2010 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Bizarre self-inflicted WINE/X11 problem on Mac OS 10.5. Help me troubleshoot intelligently, or tell me how to nuke it from orbit and reinstall.

So here's what happened: I foolishly downloaded and ran a font installer that was designed for Windows. Since I have WINE, the .exe actually ran (under emulation, within X11), and installed something somewhere that has rendered Xwindows totally useless on my machine. Any attempt to launch X11 now causes it to crash, then restart and crash again, then restart and crash again, and so on in an apparently endless loop.

It may have been a virus, this Mysterious Thing that the installer installed. It may have been a genuine set of fonts, stuck someplace that would have been sensible on a real Windows machine but that clobbered a necessary file or otherwise bollixed things up on mine. I have no idea.

In any case, the odds that someone else has done exactly this foolish thing seem rather low, and I have no idea how to go about troubleshooting it intelligently on my own. I'd like to either
  1. get some tips on ways to root out the problem, or
  2. just uninstall X11 itself and everything that X11 runs when starting up, and reinstall it all from scratch.
I'd apprediate information on how to do either #1 or #2 in a sensible way. Advice of the form "That's a horrible idea; you should do #3" is also cool.
posted by nebulawindphone to Technology (7 answers total)
Disclaimer: I have about zero experience on actual Macs, but I have it on good authority they are reasonably unixy under the hood - proceed at your own risk.

The X11 error log is usually very informative, and lives somewhere in /var/log. It seems Mac OS X11 is based on Xorg, so try looking for /var/log/Xorg.0.log or something similar.

I don't think it will be necessary to uninstall X11 - there must be a configuration file somewhere, probably in /etc/X11 - a text file ending in .conf. Start by zapping that (keep a backup) and see how it goes.

Also, if wine for Mac OS is anything like regular wine, it should only touch stuff in ~/.wine. Try moving it out of the way - don't remove it though, it contains the things you see as the C: drive in your wine installation as well as your registry and configuration. Wine should recreate a new ~/.wine folder from scratch next time you use it, hopefully bringing things back to normal (and forgeting everything you have done with it so far, so make sure you keep your old .wine folder around).

Since you didn't run the .exe as root (right?) I don't think you have done much damage to your overall system.
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:08 AM on October 28, 2010

First thing I'd try is opening a terminal, renaming .wine to .wine.old and restarting.

Next, it's kind of shotgun surgery, but if you know roughly what time you did the install, you can search for files that were created/modified within that period and trash likely candidates. This is delicate, finicky work, and you should be extremely cautious about it. I don't recommend this approach to anyone who's never (say) used chmod or edited an xorg.conf file by hand.

OSX reinstalls (from the CD) will preserve user accounts and applications, for what it's worth, but I suspect that without actually identifying the problem, a reinstall might not solve it.
posted by mhoye at 8:16 AM on October 28, 2010

Response by poster: I have nothing in /var/log that is clearly X11-related, and no /etc/X11 at all. I think this may be one of those cases where OSX Does Things Differently than normal unices conventionally do.

I also have no ~/.wine, though there is a ~/Wine\ Files — could that be what you have in mind?
Since you didn't run the .exe as root (right?)
This is awful, but I don't actually remember. I should hope Past Me was smart enough not to, but I can't promise anything. (It was months ago now that all this happened, and only recently that I got off my ass to fix it.)

That said, nothing else is obviously fucked up except X11, so whatever damage has been done to the system seems to be limited to that corner of it.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:26 AM on October 28, 2010

I also have no ~/.wine, though there is a ~/Wine\ Files — could that be what you have in mind?

Possibly - what's in there? Here's what's in my .wine folder:

dosdevices drive_c system.reg userdef.reg user.reg

The .reg files are the registry hives, drive_c is what you would expect - there's even a .wine/drive_c/windows/Fonts/ directory for fonts.

It does look like things are done different though, you might want to wait for someone with access to a functioning Mac OS/X11/Wine set-up to turn up: Apple may have streamlined the whole business to the point were you will confuse it further by moving stuff around.
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:34 AM on October 28, 2010

Response by poster: Yes, that's precisely what I have in my ~/Wine\ Files.

And FWIW, if I wind up breaking/uninstalling Wine that's not the end of the world. I installed it once because I thought it would be useful, but I never actually used it much. I really just need a working X11 again.

I'll try renaming ~/Wine\ Files and report back. If anyone else has other tips or ideas I'd still love to hear them.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:46 AM on October 28, 2010

Run "" and find the Xorg log... that will tell you what's crashing X11.
posted by TravellingDen at 6:11 PM on October 28, 2010

Best answer: Aha! ~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/x11.bin* are logfiles with relevant info. (Wouldn't have found 'em if I hadn't looked through instead of just ls-ing around by hand. Thanks, TravellingDen.)

Process: X11.bin [10076]
Path: /Applications/Utilities/
Identifier: org.x.X11
Build Info: X11server-480700~8
Library not loaded: /usr/X11/lib/libpixman-1.0.dylib
Referenced from: /Applications/Utilities/
Reason: Incompatible library version: X11.bin requires version 15.0.0 or later, but libpixman-1.0.dylib provides version 13.0.0

Googling around, it looks like my WINE/.exe misadventure may have been a red herring. Apparently there was an Apple security update that went out around the same time that causes this problem, and the solution is to rerun Apple's X11 installer after applying the security update.

Rerunning the installer appears to have solved my problem.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:10 AM on October 29, 2010

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