OS X 10.3.7 Update and Font Corruption

by Stephanie Rewis on December 20, 2004

Beware if you run OS X without a good font management tool. That's me. Somewhere along the way with my HD crash and reinstalling/upgrading programs, I ended up without a working version of Font Doctor. (Yes, I own Suitcase, but somehow can only find the upgrade which does not include Font Doctor.) And yes, if I had a day to spend with my computer, perhaps I could find it. But I'm always two projects behind and well — you get the picture.

In the past few days I had some oddities happen which, by reporting this here, might help someone else. On Friday, Fireworks started crashing when I attempted to change a font in the file. Over the weekend, Photoshop refused to open. I had some other problems with Photoshop relating to color selection, resizing and opening new documents (all fixed today by trashing the preferences … thank you Andrew! :) , so I thought that perhaps this crash when opening was simply my original problem getting worse. I also noticed Saturday that my email program (Entourage) and at least one browser were displaying in very funky fonts.

On Sunday evening, I opened Dreamweaver to create an invoice and, you guessed it, it wouldn't open. Hung up on start up. This was too much. I went to bed. Monday morning, coffee in hand, I decided to tackle my programs one by one so I could actually work. I started with Fireworks since I assumed there was a corrupt font issue. I slowly moved up the font list until I found the font that crashed the program every time. I removed that font from the Library. It still showed up in the FW font list however, and it still crashed FW. So on the advice of Stéphane Nahmani, I downloaded and ran Font Finagler. This cleared up the font caching issue and FW was once again perfect.

So I moved on to Photoshop. Suddenly it opened without fail. I tried Dreamweaver with the same results. Hmmmmm… Everyone opens well, but the offending font had been installed for ages. About an hour later, I received an email on my FreeHand list where someone claimed that after installing the 10.3.7 updater they could no longer open Freehand. That's when it hit me that all my problems began after my 10.3.7 update. And before you jump me, yes, I did repair permissions first. Also this weekend while the problems were happening, I did an /sbin/fsck -y (which found no problems) and zapped the PRAM. I'm not in the least saying that the updater corrupted the fonts. Just that something about this update is touchier than the previous version of the system. And users should beware and know what issues to look for if they're experiencing flakiness as well.

All is well with LiquidSky now, except that since clearing the font caches, I can no longer view Trebuchet MS and Impact within any programs. They are in my font folder in the Library as always, but they're not accessible to anything. Lovely. If you know a fix for that one I'll be grateful, but for now, I'm just happy to have my programs back!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark Douma January 7, 2005 at 5:42 pm

Have you ever used Font Book before? I’m wondering if OS X is mistakenly regarding them as “disabled”, even though they’re in the /Library/Fonts/ folder.

The way Font Book deactivates fonts is that it still keeps the font in the /Library/Fonts/ folder, but it adds the file path of the font to a list of deactivated fonts. That list is stored in the form of a preference file:


(the ATS stands for Apple Type Services).

I’d open up Font Book and see if the font appears there in the list of fonts. If it does, make sure it’s not disabled. Even if it is, in fact, enabled, try disabling it, waiting a sec, and then enabling it again. I had to do that with a font the other day.

OS X 10.3.5 had some font bugs, in the ATS.framework, which were apparently fixed in OS X 10.3.6. It seems that in fixing the 10.3.5 bugs, however, the behavior of the ATSServer has become somewhat unpredictable. Having a large number of fonts installed in the various /Fonts/ folders c

Anonymous October 14, 2005 at 3:15 pm

Delete /Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS


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