Hollywood Mac Pro Workstations Hit by Mysterious Software Issue [Updated]

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Update: In a statement, AVID has indicated that the root cause for the reboot issue is unrelated to its creative tools. Google has since confirmed that a Chrome update "may have shipped with a bug that damages the file system on macOS machines" and has provided instructions for affected users.

Original story follows.


Variety reports this morning of a possible computer virus attack or critical software failure affecting Mac Pro workstations across Los Angeles.

According to social media chatter, Hollywood Film and TV editors discovered late on Monday that "trashcan" Mac Pros running older versions of macOS and AVID's Media Composer software were refusing to reboot after shutting down.

The root cause of the issue remains unknown, but online speculation is surfacing a few possibilities, including a virus specifically targeting post-production Macs in the Hollywood area.

Others have suggested an issue with AVID's iLok activation dongle, or perhaps a conflict with the software and a recent system update - possibly related to Apple's Safari browser - that is corrupting data.

Affected users are being advised to try booting in single-user mode and disabling Wi-Fi so that they can back up, while non-affected AVID users have been told not to shut down their Macs so they can also deactivate Wi-Fi and any other networks until a solution is found.

From what I gather there's a massive failure of Macs with iLok/Avid that's happening all over right now. A lot of L.A. post shops and people out on shows having their Macs slowly crash and wont boot again. Engineers are looking in to it. Don't shut your machine off. #postchat - Matt Penn (@mattpenndotcom) September 24, 2019
BIG ALERT tonight regarding #Apple, and #MacOS running on the can. DO NOT SHUT DOWN!! #AvidEditors #Avid Apparently something is corrupting one of the UNIX root level folders. Back up everything, not just on the servers is you are in a connected environment. Refer to below FB pg pic.twitter.com/iLlfHVRfmp - MarcusPun (@MarcusPun) September 24, 2019

Several companies are said to have been affected by the issue. Neither AVID nor Apple have responded to requests for comment. This is a developing story that will be updated as soon as we learn more.

Article Link: Hollywood Mac Pro Workstations Hit by Mysterious Software Issue [Updated]
 
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superiska123

macrumors member
Jun 5, 2014
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Nobody said it was...
I realise that, I felt it was sort of implied since both AVID and Apple were asked to comment, and the article is about a "critical software failure" affecting a high-end Apple product.

That said, I absolutely agree it wasn't explicitly stated.

If you’re working with avid products it’s quite normal not to have the latest macOS. It took avid more then six month until ProTools officially supported Mojave.
Never worked with Avid products I see. They’re notorious for not supporting the latest OS. Plus they’re ubiquitous in the industry so you don’t have much choice but hold off on updating.

That makes sense, but if it is a software bug that only affects machines running an older version of macOS, it would mean they are running an unsupported macOS version. Therefore, it's only the users' fault, in my opinion, if AVID did update their software (even if it was after a while) and so did Apple.

edit: In any case, my only point was that Apple can't be held accountable for their older software not working properly, since they did issue an update... Even if AVID software doesn't work on the latest macOS, Apple is not responsible because they probably did patch bugs in a later update to their OS.
 
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jardinager

macrumors regular
Apr 24, 2015
234
461
NC
In my mind, this Mac was and is a black tombstone-monument to Steve.

Up until being rebuilt, my personal one seemed possessed itself.

Now the spooky plot thickens for this black sheep Mac Pro... at least the ones in LA.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
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That makes sense, but if it is a software bug that only affects machines running an older version of macOS, it would mean they are running an unsupported macOS version. Therefore, it's only the users' fault, in my opinion, if AVID did update their software (even if it was after a while) and so did Apple.
Possibly, though there’s also the mentality of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Frequently they won’t update the OS because it isn’t just a case of waiting for one piece of software to be supported. There’s a whole host of external hardware in these studios that can be screwed up with driver support.

The Snow Leopard>Lion was notorious for this. Whilst 10.7 was utter rubbish, a lot of people got burned and are much more cautious when updating to a whole new OS as a result. Normally they’d wait for the .1 or .2 update before jumping ship so that the groundbreaking niggles will be fixed.

Remember these aren’t consumers. Any downtime from an update that goes wrong or messes up some weird combination of software & hardware (which can happen) is too expensive to risk.

Regardless we don’t yet know the cause of the problem. Could be an Apple issue for all we know.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,559
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I realise that, I felt it was sort of implied since both AVID and Apple were asked to comment, and the article is about a "critical software failure" affecting a high-end Apple product.

That said, I absolutely agree it wasn't explicitly stated.






That makes sense, but if it is a software bug that only affects machines running an older version of macOS, it would mean they are running an unsupported macOS version. Therefore, it's only the users' fault, in my opinion, if AVID did update their software (even if it was after a while) and so did Apple.

edit: In any case, my only point was that Apple can't be held accountable for their older software not working properly, since they did issue an update... Even if AVID software doesn't work on the latest macOS, Apple is not responsible because they probably did patch bugs in a later update to their OS.
Doesn’t Apple still release bug-fixes for older versions of MacOS? Even if they can’t update to the latest feature release, Apple should be publishing bug fixes for at least a year and the shops should be installing those...
 

jazstudio

macrumors newbie
Sep 28, 2012
25
121
If you’re working with avid products it’s quite normal not to have the latest macOS. It took avid more then six month until ProTools officially supported Mojave.
And not just Avid. Our support company always kept us a version or two behind in MacOS to keep our systems stable. The only time I'm running the current version is when I buy a new machine.
 

PBG4 Dude

macrumors 68030
Jul 6, 2007
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Doesn’t Apple still release bug-fixes for older versions of MacOS? Even if they can’t update to the latest feature release, Apple should be publishing bug fixes for at least a year and the shops should be installing those...
Yes they are. My wife’s MBA is still running Sierra because I didn’t want to update it while she was in school and possibly cause issues. The last security update was less than 2 months ago.
 
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martyjmclean

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Jan 24, 2018
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Not just “Hollywood”. The post house I work with in Sydney was affected. Our sister posthouses in Melbs and Auckland were affected too.

It seems to be a problem with iLok on macOS 10.11 - 10.13.6 as a few Flames have gone down too, not just Avids.
 
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flygbuss

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2018
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Possibly, though there’s also the mentality of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Frequently they won’t update the OS because it isn’t just a case of waiting for one piece of software to be supported. There’s a whole host of external hardware in these studios that can be screwed up with driver support.

The Snow Leopard>Lion was notorious for this. Whilst 10.7 was utter rubbish, a lot of people got burned and are much more cautious when updating to a whole new OS as a result. Normally they’d wait for the .1 or .2 update before jumping ship so that the groundbreaking niggles will be fixed.

Remember these aren’t consumers. Any downtime from an update that goes wrong or messes up some weird combination of software & hardware (which can happen) is too expensive to risk.

Regardless we don’t yet know the cause of the problem. Could be an Apple issue for all we know.
This!
I know much more studios running older macOS's (pre 10.13) then Mojave. It is exactly as you describe it.
If it works, don't fix it. I can only talk for audio post production but the work depends on many peripherals and other software. So changing the OS always brings the risk of breaking your chain of devices.
10.15 will be even worse since 32 Bit support is gone, plus the AVID codecs are no longer supported.
It's not comparable to a consumer machine, like "Oh the new macOS beta is out, I'll download it and see if Photoshop still runs."
I finally found a very stable combination with 10.13.6 and PT Ultimate 2019.5. But it took me several macOS versions and much more Pro Tools releases to get there.
 

H2SO4

macrumors 601
Nov 4, 2008
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Of course, but if it only occurs on an unspecified older version, wouldn't that mean they are running an unsupported version that is no longer receiving patches?
No it wouldn’t. For a start you don’t know which older version it is.
 

flygbuss

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2018
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Stockholm, Sweden
Of course, but if it only occurs on an unspecified older version, wouldn't that mean they are running an unsupported version that is no longer receiving patches?
Could be, that's why some studios keep their unsupported systems offline or connected via intranet only.
But we don't know which version this is about.
 

dannys1

macrumors 68030
Sep 19, 2007
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AVID's iLok activation dongle
This doesn't surprised me. I hate iLok. Yet another thing that supposed to stop software priacy but ends up costing the end user. The iLok software digs deep into macOS and installs crap all over the place and causes loads of problems.

I remember back in about 2009 when iLok 1 was cracked and all the audio plugs were released. I actually uninstall iLok and removed the dongle and ran the cracked versions of the plugins on my system instead - they opened (considerably) faster and ran more smoothly and I didn't need any of the iLok stuff running in the background.
 

Val-kyrie

macrumors 68000
Feb 13, 2005
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This doesn't surprised me. I hate iLok. Yet another thing that supposed to stop software priacy but ends up costing the end user. The iLok software digs deep into macOS and installs crap all over the place and causes loads of problems.

I remember back in about 2009 when iLok 1 was cracked and all the audio plugs were released. I actually uninstall iLok and removed the dongle and ran the cracked versions of the plugins on my system instead - they opened (considerably) faster and ran more smoothly and I didn't need any of the iLok stuff running in the background.
It really is a sad state of affairs when the consumer is penalized for legally purchasing software, but that is the inevitable and unfortunate consequence of “security” (DRM).