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How to debug init.m?

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg92294] How to debug init.m?
  • From: Bob F <deepyogurt at gmail.com>
  • Date: Sat, 27 Sep 2008 06:47:54 -0400 (EDT)

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to debug a problem with an
init.m file (located in ~/Library/Mathematica/FrontEnd)? I am using
Mathematica 6.0.3 on Mac OS X (both 10.4 and 10.5 show the problem)
and if I simply start up the program and have a completely empty
notebook, then open the "Options Inspector" and then start up the
"Documentation Center" the program always crashes. If I empty the
init.m file there is no crash, so the problem is related to what it
has. But, the things that are there are there because of how I want
things set up, e.g. positions of palettes, kernel configuration
definitions, recently opened files, etc, and only because Mathematica
puts them in there according to how I have things defined and what
files I have opened, etc. I have not edited this file by hand, so the
error is there as a result of Mathematica.  I have looked at the file
and don't find any strange control-characters or anything glaringly
obvious, but it's all regular looking text in the typical verbose
Mathematica low-level encoding.

The file has 218 lines in it right now, so trying to debug by
eliminating things line by line is a bit daunting. Wolfram says they
can reproduce the crashing with my init.m file, and want me to debug
the file and find the offending line to narrow down the problem for
them. Surely this would be trivial for them to debug given source and
a simple breakpoint, but they don't seem to think the same, so I am
stuck trying to debug their problem for the moment. Perhaps someone
might have a suggestion for narrowing this down?

Is this typical for Wolfram to push this level of debugging onto
customers for problems with the program? For software as expensive as
this, I don't think this should be the normal behavior on their part,
but that is only my opinion. Anyone wish to comment about this in
general?

There is an error that is flashed up on the screen in the Messages
window, and I believe the error says something about an "internal self-
test error", and gives a reference to a specific routine, felexAPI.c|
33, which I am guessing is something about "FrontEndAPI, line 33", but
Wolfram says that's not any help in this case since the problem has to
do with parsing the init.m file.

But something just occured to me -- why would this file get parsed
when the "Documentation Center" window is opened? Maybe it gets parsed
when any file is opened?

Any ideas or suggestions??

Thanks....

-Bob


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