About SheepShaver, a PPC Mac emulator for Windows, MacOSX, and Linux that can run System 7.5.3 through MacOS 9.0.4.
Tue May 21, 2019 8:01 am
I am experiencing a strange problem with SheepShaver 2.5 following an update to macOS 10.14.5.
Everything was working fine under 10.14.4, but following the update SheepShaver will go to a black screen with the spinning pinwheel icon every 3 or 4 launches.
What makes it strange is that the problem is inconsistent. I might get five normal launches in a row, and then if I come back after 5 minutes the very first launch will freeze. Or I might randomly get several failed launches in a row. I have to force quit SheepShaver every time this happens.
I highly doubt my SheepShaver install or VMs are the problem, as they have been working fine for years. The problem occurs across a variety of VMs with System 7 through 9 and various sizes of hard drive image and configurations.
Basically, nothing changed on my system other than the macOS update.
Does anyone have any ideas what could cause this?
Tue May 21, 2019 8:35 am
I have had no issues with SheepShaver in 10.14.5 so far and I can't think of what could cause the black screens. Which 2.5 version build do you use? Does you Mac have a Retina screen? And which settings for screen resolution, window/fullscreen, scaling, and (hard)cursor do you use?
(Make sure you have good backups of the startup system and other images you use. Force quitting SheepShaver could cause file system corruption on those volumes.)
Tue May 21, 2019 8:57 am
I am using a 1440p non-retina screen. The build is the latest one from 4 May 2019. However the problem also occurs with the 1 April 2019 build. I have tested with and without hard cursor enabled, with the same results. I also tried swapping in backups of my DMG files, to rule out corruption.
This is my standard configuration:
rom Mac OS ROM
One thing I have noticed, is that the frequency of the freeze ups seems to be reduced if I wait a while between launching various VMs. For example, I launch one VM and it works fine. I come back 5 minutes later and launch another and it is also fine. But if I launch a VM successfully, quit the application normally, and then immediately open another VM it will often result in a freeze up.
I am going to conduct some tests under High Sierra 10.13.6 to establish for certain that this is a Mojave related issue and not my VMs.
Tue May 21, 2019 9:26 am
So I booted into High Sierra and tested all my VMs and configurations. All worked fine. No issues at all.
The next thing I will try is a 10.14.5 'combo' update. For good measure, I will also install Mojave fresh on another external drive and test on that as well.
I will report back on the results.
Tue May 21, 2019 9:48 am
mac OS 10.14 seems slower in some respects than previous macOS versions. I noticed that in 10.14 it takes several applications longer to fully quit. That may play a role here.
Also, you use SheepShaver full-screen. When you launch SheepShaver full-screen, it will open in a separate (Mission Control) space. You can switch between spaces, between your desktop and SheepShaver, without quitting SheepShaver. Quitting SheepShaver and immediately launching it again (with a different configuration) may get 10.14 confused when it is still in the process of getting rid of the abandoned space.
Just a few thoughts. Most users will not be in the habit of quitting and again launching SheepShaver within seconds repeatedly.
Tue May 21, 2019 10:06 am
Ronald P. Regensburg wrote:Just a few thoughts. Most users will not be in the habit of quitting and again launching SheepShaver within seconds repeatedly.
Thanks for those insights. Although I did not experience this issue in earlier versions of Mojave, perhaps the 10.14.5 update has slowed something down more than usual, so that it now has a noticeable impact on the process of launching and quitting applications.
I will conduct some more tests to see if can validate this.
Tue May 21, 2019 11:38 am
When SheepShaver launces to a black screen, what happens when you then press control-return (fullscreen-window mode toggle)?
Tue May 21, 2019 12:54 pm
When I get the black screen the mouse cursor immediately becomes that spinning pinwheel, so the app then freezes up and does not respond to any key strokes, including control-return.
However, I can still use the F3 key to get into mission control and from there back to the desktop. At that point, I have to force quit SheepShaver.
Whatever is causing this problem is definitely related to fullscreen mode. I tested multiple configurations in windowed mode and I never got the freeze up, no matter how many times I launched SheepShaver in quick succession.
Tue May 21, 2019 3:29 pm
Can't reproduce that here under 10.4.5. You might try experimenting with my "Mac OS 9" application. Search the web for "Mac OS 9 for OS X/MacOS".
Wed May 22, 2019 5:15 am
I tried the MacOS 9 app and it was affected in the same way as the SheepShaver app, as described above.
To rule out any peculiarities with my system, I installed a fresh copy of Mojave on an external drive and upgraded it to 10.14.4 with a combo updater I had backed up. I performed all the same tests and everything was fine, just as under High Sierra 10.13.6.
I then used the 10.14.5 combo updater on the fresh Mojave install. Repeating the tests, I experienced the exact same issues as originally described.
There is something that Apple changed in 10.14.5 which results in this problem, based off a completely fresh installation of Mojave with no third party software, ad-ons or other hacks. My processor is Core i7 3.5ghz (4771), 32GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4 GB. My system may be getting on, but it has decent enough specs that speed should not be an issue.
This has me stumped. I am now going to try building some fresh VMs entirely from scratch - fresh hard drive images, fresh System install etc. and perform more tests.
Wed May 22, 2019 6:21 am
Same thing is happening with completely fresh installs, on System 7 and 9 and whether it is on DSK or DMG images.
I also tested on restored back ups of my VMs, which were confirmed to be working on a different Mac. So no corruption or other issues here.
When I wait a while between launches of SheepShaver, it seems to significantly reduce but not entirely eliminate the problem. I would say it occurs about 50 per cent of the time when launching VMs within 1 minute of each other, whereas it is about 10 per cent of the time when waiting a couple of minutes between launches. That being said, I have walked away for hours and come back to an immediate black screen when launching the SheepShaver app directly, so this is not definitive.
In windowed mode, it looks like it is far rarer, but I have been able to make it freeze up as well if the launches are within about 10 or 15 seconds of each other. For real world use, it is not a drastic problem, but it is very annoying to come back after hours and then immediately go to black screen when launching SheepShaver.
If I force quit, I can then immediately re-launch SheepShaver without any problems. If anything is persisting in the background that clears it. Obviously force quitting is not good, but on a frozen launch it does not appear to be getting to the stage of accessing the disk images.
Everything seems to be pointing to speed and responsiveness issues that Ronald mentioned, but it appears to be a problem created by Apple in 10.14.5 and not based on Mojave per se or underlying system specifications.
Wed May 22, 2019 9:56 am
Few users will notice the issue as most will not quit and relaunch SheepShaver repeatedly with short intervals. As a workaround, does setting the screen settings to window mode and then use the control-return toggle to get your preferred fullscreen display work?
I remember I read somewhere that Apple made a (minor) change to the working of its APFS file system with the macOS 10.14.5 update, but I forgot what it was.
Wed May 22, 2019 10:12 am
To be honest, the problem is bothering me more because I cannot work out what is causing it, rather than the actual effect of it on my regular use of SheepShaver. I do not tend to quit and relaunch SheepShaver at short intervals unless I am configuring new VMs or trouble-shooting software.
It looks like I might just have to put this down to the result of minor changes that Apple has introduced in 10.14.5. Perhaps it will only affect some hardware configurations and not others. It may also go away by itself in future updates.
Yes, I can still use the key command as normal to switch from window mode to fullscreen, as I have found that window mode is hardly affected by the freezing issue. Even with my fullscreen VMs, the worst that will happen is that I need to force quit once, and then I can go straight back in with a second launch. There seems to be little risk of corruption because it is not getting as far as launching the system software.
Wed May 22, 2019 10:21 am
I can't reproduce this on my 10.14.5 machine, so it's very puzzling. SheepShaver starts up in full-screen mode reliably. I've tried it a dozen times or more.
Wed May 22, 2019 10:50 am
emendelson wrote:I can't reproduce this on my 10.14.5 machine, so it's very puzzling. SheepShaver starts up in full-screen mode reliably. I've tried it a dozen times or more.
This would suggest it is something Apple has done to Mojave that only affects certain systems. My clean install testing in Mojave and High Sierra seems to back that theory. If I can get a hold of another Mac using Mojave, I will report back on the results.
Wed May 22, 2019 1:26 pm
And I tried it on a second Mojave system with no trouble.
Have you tried experimenting with the scale_integer and scale_nearest settings in the prefs? If you don't know about these, search the forum for details.
Wed May 22, 2019 1:54 pm
I tried it with the same settings for resolution, scaling, and cursor that almeath uses:
After startup, quitting, and immediatley startup again, SheepShaver froze at the fifth startup, but not with a black screen. The desktop background appeared with the "watch" cursor and startup stopped there. I needed to force quit SheepShaver.
Wed May 22, 2019 2:37 pm
I tried removing all three of integer, nearest and hard cursor. Unfortunately, it still freezes on a black screen after 4 to 7 launches. When it freezes my CPU usage spikes to 300%.
Does SheepShaver rely on anything external like SDL? I am using the latest stable version, 2.09.
I also tried compiling SheepShaver in Xcode but got the same results.
Wed May 22, 2019 3:35 pm
Could this have something to do with security patches for predictive code execution in 10.14.5, and the patches affecting different CPUs in different ways?
Wed May 22, 2019 3:39 pm
almeath wrote:Does SheepShaver rely on anything external like SDL? I am using the latest stable version, 2.09.
My SheepShaver builds are built using the Xcode project in kanjitalk755 source, the latest one with Xcode 10.2.1 in macOS 10.14.4 with SDL2 2.0.9. When the Xcode project is used, the installed SDL2.framework will be included in the application package (in the Frameworks folder). SheepShaver will use that included copy of the framework regardless whether SDL2 is installed or which version is installed.
Wed May 22, 2019 3:59 pm
adespoton wrote:Could this have something to do with security patches for predictive code execution in 10.14.5, and the patches affecting different CPUs in different ways?
That had crossed my mind. It makes sense considering the issue only emerged after the update, and also the fact that it works for me with fresh installs of older OS versions.
I guess we may have to wait for feedback from more users as 10.14.5 becomes more widely installed.
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