[X Newbies] Onyx

Alex alist at sprint.ca
Sun Apr 25 22:02:01 PDT 2004

On Sunday, Apr 25, 2004, at 13:45 Canada/Eastern, Charles Martin wrote:

>> From: "Chris Walker" <chris at mymac.demon.co.uk>
>> One of the things that intrigues me with Onyx is, 'delete core.xxx 
>> files'
>> found under automate.  What exactly are these files and should they be
>> deleted?
> [...] The core files are the results of some kernel panics -- the 
> computer writes out the entire core file to a log (which is quite 
> large). These files can take up a lot of room if you have successive 
> problems, and yes they should be deleted.

Don't go looking for any core.xxx files. I believe the term is an 
inheritance from pre-semiconductor days, when memory was a "core" of 
ferrite rings (and sometimes reached such amazing values as 32KB). When 
a process was aborted due to an internal error, a listing of the 
contents of the "core" (core dump or core file) was generated, which 
was used by the programmers trying to find out what had gone wrong.

Those days are long gone, but "core dump", "core files", or just 
"core", are still used to describe a listing of a section of memory 
generated when an internal error causes a crash, and used to debug the 
respective piece of software.

As such, you will find "core files" generated by crashing apps in 
/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/ and ~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/; a 
system crash is a kernel panic, and its core is dumped to PRAM and 
written to disk in /Library/Logs/panic.log upon restart (cf. Apple KB 
article ID 106227).

> It's unlikely any of us have these files, but if present they are log 
> files you can safely delete.

They can be safely deleted, indeed. They aren't of much use, except to 
programmers who understand the applications whose crash generated them. 
However, app crashes are not unusual, and I suspect most of us have a 
couple of them in those locations; kernel panics are rarer, and so 
panic.log may be absent. Unless you're experincing an unusually high 
number of crashes and panics, I shouldn't expect these files to be 
large; all told, I'd be surprised if they amounted to more than, say, 

There, now you've read my core dump on the subject of core files.


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