Mac Issues: SASL Crashes and Red Lines

I have two updates on Mac-specific bugs. Windows users, now is a good time to go get another cup of coffee. Update: it looks like neither of these bugs can be fixed or bypassed within X-Plane, so they could be with us for a while. So I am adding instructions on work-arounds for Mac users.

Red Red Lines

There is a bug on recent Nvidia cards (specific to OS X) where, at high rendering settings, you'll see a red outline around the horizon. At this point I believe that this is a driver bug.

Here's the interesting part: this bug is fixed in the Mac drivers that Nvidia provides. (Yes - NVidia provides a driver you can run on your Mac instead of the OS X shipping one.)

Now here's the down-side, before you go install this thing. When I used this driver, I managed to repeatedly hang my entire machine while using X-Plane. This doesn't happen using Apple's driver.  So at this point I'd say "use at your own risk."

(In Nvidia's defense, the driver is targeted at after-market PCIe cards for pro users; use in a RetinaBook is "beta" and that's what I did.)

We don't have a work-around for the red line bug in sim - if I did, I'd have applied it. So this bug will probably be in 1040, and it will be up to you to either try the NV driver, wait for an Apple fix, or use different rendering settings.

Options for Work-Around:

  • Turn down shadow settings until the artifacts go away or
  • Install the Nvidia drivers and enable them in the menu bar control panel. (In the driver picker, pick OS X and you'll find Mac after-market drivers.)

Crash Changing Planes or Quitting

Updated 11/20/15: this bug has been fixed - see here for the details.

If you get a crash when changing aircraft or quitting X-Plane, and the plane you were flying uses SASL, please don't file a bug with me or send me a crash log. The crash is SASL crashing inside OpenAL. The crash is specific to El Capitan, and we don't know what causes it.

This one is an area of on-going investigation; you can basically live with the annoyance of "crashing" out of every SASL aircraft or not use El Capitan. You already know how I feel about being an early adopter to new operating systems.

Options for Work-Around:

The problem is that the crash is when you unload an aircraft running SASL, so the bug appears to be "loading any plane crashes" - it's really the unloading of the aircraft before that is causing a problem.  So the work-around is:

  1. Launch X-Plane.
  2. Pick Quick Flight and enable "Show this window on every startup of X-Plane".
  3. Quit X-Plane - it may crash since you are unloading a SASL aircraft.
  4. When you re-start X-Plane, pick the default Cessna and you will no longer be "stuck".

If you are stuck on El Capitan and you need to fly SASL aircraft and you are seeing crashes, my suggestion is to keep Quick Flight enabled at startup. If you have Yosemite and fly SASL-enhanced aircraft, I suggest not upgrading.


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About Ben Supnik

Ben is a software engineer who works on X-Plane; he spends most of his days drinking coffee and swearing at the computer -- sometimes at the same time.
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21 Responses to Mac Issues: SASL Crashes and Red Lines

  1. Michel Zehnder says:

    Thanks Ben!

    Any Steam(y) updates?

  2. vonhinx says:

    Could be the onAvionicsDone statement (os.exit) — maybe wrapping a pcall statement over that could indicate the nature of the error.

    • Ben Supnik says:

      It's not necessary - the crash is in the C++ implementation of SASL, not in code called by a script. It's clear what's going on - SASL is shutting down it's sound code, calls OpenAL to delete it's OpenAL context, and OpenAL blows up in its own internals.

      The source for OAL isn't available yet - Mac open source drops tend to lag the OS release - I only see Yosemite and earlier sources on Apple's repos.

  3. Dan says:

    OK Every one stop asking about the steam update this question has been answered many times at last statment from ben is it will be a few days after RC2 has been cut and there is no eta for that at this time.

  4. Alain champs says:

    The crash sasl is not limited to elcapitan. Yosemite also

    • Ben Supnik says:

      I have not been able to reproduce this in Yosemite. If you can get this crash in Yosemite, please file a bug and include an Apple crash report.

      • Thomas Kirk says:

        I've got several hundred crash reports I could send you if you wish

        tomcat357

      • Alain Champs says:

        ?? I could not get the RC2 to crash like it used too?

        Something as changed? I swear it was craching up to RC1.
        I have loaded almost all the plane i have and I see some error. on some plugin but nothing like it was....

        I tested IMAC now time to test Windows side. but RC2 look to be a keeper. 🙂

  5. Chris Hallam says:

    Glad it's on the radar (re the crashing) and it's too late to downgrade to Yosemite , owell. Only the carenado 337 and FF a350 are problematic for me as of now but I hope this gets resolved. Just curious Ben, does Apple help Laminar with such issues

    • Ben Supnik says:

      They can - Apple has a bug base so we can file bugs against OS X, and there's a developer support program - you can pay for tech support on programming issues from Apple. This case is a little strange because it's _not Laminar Reearch's code_ - it's SASL, that has the problem.

  6. Frank says:

    Thanks for getting UB40 stuck in my head, Ben.

  7. Don Knee says:

    Thank you. The annoying RED lines are gone and no crash for me. I'm running Yosemite 10.10.5 on a late 2012 iMac with 2GB video RAM. I did not download any video drivers from Nvidia so running Apple provided drivers.

    • Don Knee says:

      Correction. The RED lines are still there. My rendering setting were turn down at first and I didn't realize it. Turn back up to where I normally have them and RED lines are still there. Will see if I can find those Nvidia drivers now. Hopefully that does the trick.

  8. Don Knee says:

    Apparently there is not a new Nvidia driver available for my iMac, GForce GTX 680MX for MAC. Only windows and Linux. 🙁
    Is this red line fix only for notebooks?

    • Ben Supnik says:

      The notebook driver won't run on your machine? Might be worth a try-it-anyway...

      • Don Knee says:

        According to Nvidia driver support, I have the latest for my iMac. I would be a bit leery about installing a driver that may not work. Especially, a graphics driver. It might really difficult to change it back if you cannot see anything on the screen.
        I'm putting my money on you finding a solution for iMac's also.
        Thanks in advance

        • Ben Supnik says:

          For what it's worth, the instability I have seen (which may be just my machine) only happens when the control panel is in NV mode - when I go back to "use OS X driver" stability goes back to normal - so I haven't had to do an uninstall.

  9. Don Knee says:

    I just update to the latest ( Aug 2015 release ) Nvidia CUDA Driver Version 7.0.36. It can be done using the system preferences ( never knew it was there until now ).
    The red lines are still there along the horizon but maybe not quite as pronounced as they were. But I do think there is an increase in FPS. That's a very good improvement.
    Hopefully, the red line issue will be found soon.
    Thanks

  10. Manuel says:

    i did install the nvidia beta drivers on my late 2013 imac (gtx 780m, intel 3.6). they are working just fine after several days testing. Horizon artifacts are gone and performance seems a few fps better to me.

  11. Don Knee says:

    It's the only Nvidia driver available for my graphics card. After the install I tried it at lower resolution levels as well but still get red lines at the horizon.

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