CrashPlan PROe versus Java on OS X

We’ve recently begun changing our clients from local backup drives to CrashPlan PROe for backups. This is good. At the same time, Apple have dropped direct support for Java (which CrashPlan requires), and turned responsibility for development over to Oracle. Broadly, I think this is also good.

Since new Macs no longer ship with Java, users wanting the latest and greatest can simply download and install the SE 7 package from Oracle. CrashPlan, as of v3.3, wants SE 6. This is double-plus ungood, because once you have SE 7 installed, the Apple-provided SE 6 package will refuse to install, citing the presence of a newer version. Adding to the confusion is the fact that users with SE 6 who upgrade to SE 7 will have no problem, since installing 7 leaves 6 untouched. So the takeaways here are as follows.

  1. If a user has SE 6 installed, and upgrades to SE 7, CrashPlan will see and use the older version just fine.
  2. If a user has SE 7 installed and installs CrashPlan, the client will not operate. Resolve this by downgrading to SE 6. Open /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines, and remove the clearly-labeled 1.7 VM. Download the 1.6 installer from Apple (as of this writing, it’s 1.6.0_35), and install it. If the user needs or wants 1.7, you may subsequently install Oracle’s 1.7 package without repercussion. Then launch (or install) CrashPlan.

The long-term fix, of course, is for Code42 to update their client to recognize the 1.7 VM.

Note: This applies to OS X 10.7 and 10.8.

UPDATE: Code 42 has finally given me a formal response.

We still do not have a work-around for the issue of needing Java 6 for the CrashPlan PROe client. Our engineering team is working on getting this sorted, but, as this will require a change in code, nothing will be available until at least the the next patch release.”

Given the frequency of Java patches, I’m not sanguine about this not becoming an ongoing problem now that Oracle is providing OS X Java. We shall, I suppose, see.


Cisco VPN Client, Ralink Wi-Fi Drivers and Random Kernel Panics

A client came in recently with a series of odd, apparently unpredictable kernel panics. A few minute of log trolling led to four panic logs. Knowing that she’d installed Ralink USB Wi-Fi device drivers on the machine under Snow Leopard, I initially suspect them as the root cause (I’ve never liked Ralink’s ugly, kludgy software, and tend to suspect it on principle.)

Two logs showed a crash on loading Airport extensions, and two on USB drivers, but the common link was the extension loaded just prior…in each case, a kext for Cisco’s VPN client. This surprised me not just because I’d expected to find the Ralink stuff, but because we switched from the Cisco native VPN client to AnyConnect over a year ago. Apparently, a significant portion of the old VPN client had remained on her system, and been carried forward through at least one upgrade cycle.

A check of the /private/var/opt/ subdirectory showed most of the client still around. Running the vpn_unintall script removed most of the bits (which I double-checked by visiting each location specified in the script. I then manually delete the cisco_vpn subdirectory in opt. I also removed the Ralink utilities, including a preferences file in /Library/Preferences and a directory in /Library/Frameworks. Ralink provides no uninstaller.

So far, no more kernel panics. Possibly my distaste for both Cisco’s VPN client and Ralink’s just is justified.

UPDATE: This situation is a good argument for keeping a copy of John Welch’s Kext Lister utility handy.

Restoring missing purchases in the Mac App store

Possibly there are other references for this topic, and my Google-fu was weak this morning. Nevertheless, it took me a while to figure out, and if this saves someone else a minor panic, so much the better.

The scenario: I needed to re-download the Mac OS X Lion installer from the App Store. In tinkering with that interface, I unthinkingly clicked the X button on Lion’s entry in the Purchases window. Bam! No more Lion.

A couple of entries suggested things that might restore it, but none did. In the end, the procedure was simple.

  1. Select Store > View My Account and sign in.
  2. Look for a section headed iTunes in the Cloud, with a Hidden Purchases entry, and click View Hidden Purchases.
  3. Click Unhide for those purchases you wish to appear in your App Store Purchases window, then click Done.

That’s it.