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Re: [pcgen] Re: [BUG?][OS][5.6.1][BARAK] PCGen hangs on PDF export

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  • mtucker@airmail.net
    ... Hi, Bryan: Thanks for your reply. I haven t seen this issue before, either, so we re even. ;-) I m writing from work, so this isn t exact quotes of what
    Message 1 of 14 , Jun 2, 2004
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      Bryan wrote:
      > I have not seen this issue before. If you export while you have the
      > debug console up do you see any useful messages? There was a change
      > in how the dirty flag on the character was set/used, but I think that
      > was post 5.6. ...

      Hi, Bryan:

      Thanks for your reply. I haven't seen this issue before, either, so we're
      even. ;-)

      I'm writing from work, so this isn't exact quotes of what shows up in the
      console, but maybe this will be helpful:

      With the console up, when it works successfully I see a series of messages
      indicating that it's reached various milestones of success, e.g. "[1]",
      "[2]", etc., plus some other useful messages, finally a message about
      stopping the renderer. There *are* some ominous messages about areas that
      are overflowed (don't remember the exact text), but when it works, this
      doesn't seem to be a problem.

      When it *doesn't* work there are *no* messages once you start the PDF
      renderer. The PCGen process hangs, totally, irrevocably, and instantly.
      Makes it pretty hard to debug. :-(

      There is no such problem when exporting to HTML, by the way. This is
      *only* when using the PDF output engine, so I suspect either 1) the PDF
      engine itself, or 2) the PDF output sheets.

      If the HTML output sheets were as nice as the PDF ones, this wouldn't be
      an issue to me; I'd just use the HTML sheets instead. :-)

      I've added Barak to the flags on this thread, in case he has any ideas.

      > ... I'd be very curious to know if you experience the same
      > problem in the latest alpha (lots of construction going on in the
      > alpha, so don't install it over a previous version of PCGen!).
      >
      > -Bryan

      Are you saying there's an alpha version of 5.6.1? Or are you referring to
      the alpha version of 5.7.x? Because if it's the latter, I have no
      intention of going down that road. I'm trying to get my installation of
      PCGen to work with the latest files from CMP; and in the past their policy
      seems to have been to only support the latest production version (in this
      case, 5.6.1). So, if I'm having problems, I'd better get them working with
      5.6.1 first before I even consider venturing onto the 5.7.x path.

      Michael
    • notyetmousse24@aol.com
      mtucker sez... Howdy: Ditto. I m running Mac OS X 10.2.8 on a 400 MHz G3 PowerBook with 512 MB RAM. Think I ve found your problem. Aside from being a Mac,
      Message 2 of 14 , Jun 3, 2004
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        mtucker sez...

        'Howdy:'

        Ditto.

        'I'm running Mac OS X 10.2.8 on a 400 MHz G3 PowerBook with 512 MB RAM.'

        Think I've found your problem. Aside from being a Mac, it's also running OS
        X which many versions of don't support the version of Java that PCGen is being
        (has been?) converted to (1.4.2 if memory serves).

        'Until recently I've been happily using PCGen 5.5.3. I'm trying to "get with
        the program", and have downloaded the latest production (5.6.1) version.'

        The easiest thing to do (aside from rummaging around a used comp shop and
        getting a real PC), is to either go back to the older version of PCGen, or try
        and get your Mac to play nice with a newer version of Java.

        NotMousse
        TM, QA Tamarin, Made Emily Smirle laugh

        I mean, if I can't even get a discount out of someone else's misfortune,
        what's the point?
        -MisterTambo, founding member of the League of Unemployed Gentlemen


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • mtucker@airmail.net
        ... Thanks for the suggestion, but 10.2.8 is the latest version of OS X, running the latest version of Java. If you d read the rest of the message you would
        Message 3 of 14 , Jun 3, 2004
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          NotMousse wrote:
          > 'I'm running Mac OS X 10.2.8 on a 400 MHz G3 PowerBook with 512 MB RAM.'
          >
          > Think I've found your problem. Aside from being a Mac, it's also running
          > OS
          > X which many versions of don't support the version of Java that PCGen is
          > being
          > (has been?) converted to (1.4.2 if memory serves).
          >

          Thanks for the suggestion, but 10.2.8 is the latest version of OS X,
          running the latest version of Java. If you'd read the rest of the message
          you would have seen the output from a "java -version" command in the text.
          I'm running Java 1.4.

          Any other ideas? Memory usage, maybe?

          Michael
        • mtucker@airmail.net
          Replying to myself, before someone else points out my error... ... That s not quite true. OS X 10.3.4 is the latest version of the Mac operating system.
          Message 4 of 14 , Jun 3, 2004
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            Replying to myself, before someone else points out my error...

            I wrote in response to NotMousse:
            > Thanks for the suggestion, but 10.2.8 is the latest version of OS X,
            > running the latest version of Java. If you'd read the rest of the message
            > you would have seen the output from a "java -version" command in the text.
            > I'm running Java 1.4.

            That's not quite true. OS X 10.3.4 is the latest version of the Mac
            operating system. However, 10.2.8 is the latest "pre-Panther" version, and
            it *does*, in fact, run Java 1.4.

            Besides, I would be surprised to find that a difference between Java 1.3
            versus Java 1.4 was the culprit behind hanging the PCGen process when
            attempting a PDF export. If there were any such problems, I would expect
            them to manifest elsewhere in the code.

            In any case: I'm still puzzled over this problem. I'm wondering if it's an
            "out of memory" error (or something similar) that's being masked by the
            fact the process hangs immediately (without getting a chance to output
            anything useful to the console).

            Michael
          • Chris
            ... It shouldn t be java 1.4... 5.6 and 5.6.1 should only be using valid 1.3 java. :) But, that aside, could you send me the .PCG that s locking things up
            Message 5 of 14 , Jun 3, 2004
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              > In any case: I'm still puzzled over this problem. I'm wondering if
              > it's an "out of memory" error (or something similar) that's being
              > masked by the fact the process hangs immediately (without getting a
              > chance to output anything useful to the console).

              It shouldn't be java 1.4... 5.6 and 5.6.1 should only be using valid
              1.3 java. :)

              But, that aside, could you send me the .PCG that's locking things up
              when you export Michael? While I don't have/use a Mac, I'd be
              interested to see if the lockup is on mac only or if it's something
              else.

              It seems I had a problem like this at one point and I don't remember
              what it was that caused it. :(

              Just a couple of quick questions... I'm at work using webmail and your
              original mail is gone from my ISP server, so pardon me if you already
              answered these questions in your first post.

              Is this from a fresh/clean install?

              If not, when you installed did your unzip util overwrite existing
              files, most importantly the ones in the LIB and OUTPUTSHEET directories?

              Is it any PDF print job, or just certain characters? .xslt or .fo
              templates? (I can't remember when we stripped the .fo from the
              distro...)

              Barak
            • mtucker@airmail.net
              Hi, Barak: Thanks for your reply. :-) [Barak] ... I ll be happy to when I get home tonight. Like you, I m using webmail from work, and don t have the character
              Message 6 of 14 , Jun 3, 2004
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                Hi, Barak:

                Thanks for your reply. :-)

                [Barak]
                > But, that aside, could you send me the .PCG that's locking things up
                > when you export Michael? While I don't have/use a Mac, I'd be
                > interested to see if the lockup is on mac only or if it's something
                > else.
                >
                > It seems I had a problem like this at one point and I don't remember
                > what it was that caused it. :(
                >

                I'll be happy to when I get home tonight. Like you, I'm using webmail from
                work, and don't have the character files with me.

                > Just a couple of quick questions... I'm at work using webmail and your
                > original mail is gone from my ISP server, so pardon me if you already
                > answered these questions in your first post.
                >
                > Is this from a fresh/clean install?
                >

                Yes. Recent download of 5.6.1 (right after it was put in the download
                area), installed to its own directory. The CMP core rules, splatbooks, and
                Forgotten Realms datasets are also installed (unzipped to that directory,
                not copied from elsewhere; i.e. a "clean" install).

                > Is it any PDF print job, or just certain characters? .xslt or .fo
                > templates? (I can't remember when we stripped the .fo from the
                > distro...)
                >
                > Barak

                I first saw the problem with my existing character, imported from 5.5.3.
                It would not export to PDF at all. But I wasn't sure what the problem was,
                because I'm using the RSRD, the CMP splatbook datasets, and some house
                rules.

                To eliminate variables, I exited PCGen, relaunched and loaded *only* the
                RSRD. Then I created a new character from scratch. (Fairly simple, an elf
                with a few levels of fighter and paladin, and minimal feats, skills and
                equipment.) At 1st level, it exported ok. Then I ran it up to 6th level,
                and the problem showed up. I don't know whether it would have showed up
                before that. As I said previously, I had already invested 2-3 hours trying
                to debug this. I didn't want to invest any more until I had asked the
                group whether this was a known problem.

                The problem shows up whether using the CMP .fo output sheet, or the
                bundled .xslt output sheets. The behavior is the same either way. If I
                load this "virgin" character and export it immediately (with no changes),
                it works ok. If I make any changes that mark the character as "dirty",
                then (whether I save first or not) try to export it to PDF, PCGen locks up
                immediately.

                The only difference between this and my imported character is that the
                imported character locks up PCGen regardless. I have been unable to export
                it to PDF, no matter what I try.

                Michael

                p.s. performance with 5.6.1 is a *dog* compared to 5.5.3. Just selecting
                the Equipping tab, I might as well go get a cup of coffee. Something
                related to equipment is beating the h*ll out of the CPU. This is with all
                the default settings, i.e. no equipment is being auto-generated. I suspect
                that whatever is doing this, is also consuming memory. I further suspect
                that this is an out-of-memory problem, since presumably more memory is
                consumed by a "dirty" character than a clean one, and presumably more
                memory is consumed by the PDF exporter than the HTML one. However, this is
                on Mac OS X (which is actually BDS Unix under the hood), with 512 MB of
                RAM; I wouldn't expect memory to be an issue, unless there's a problem
                with the software.
              • Darkon
                ... OS X, ... the message ... the text. ... version, and ... Java 1.3 ... when ... expect ... it s an ... by the ... output ... I ve also ran into an out of
                Message 7 of 14 , Jun 3, 2004
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                  > Replying to myself, before someone else points out my error...
                  >
                  > I wrote in response to NotMousse:
                  > > Thanks for the suggestion, but 10.2.8 is the latest version of
                  OS X,
                  > > running the latest version of Java. If you'd read the rest of
                  the message
                  > > you would have seen the output from a "java -version" command in
                  the text.
                  > > I'm running Java 1.4.
                  >
                  > That's not quite true. OS X 10.3.4 is the latest version of the Mac
                  > operating system. However, 10.2.8 is the latest "pre-Panther"
                  version, and
                  > it *does*, in fact, run Java 1.4.
                  >
                  > Besides, I would be surprised to find that a difference between
                  Java 1.3
                  > versus Java 1.4 was the culprit behind hanging the PCGen process
                  when
                  > attempting a PDF export. If there were any such problems, I would
                  expect
                  > them to manifest elsewhere in the code.
                  >
                  > In any case: I'm still puzzled over this problem. I'm wondering if
                  it's an
                  > "out of memory" error (or something similar) that's being masked
                  by the
                  > fact the process hangs immediately (without getting a chance to
                  output
                  > anything useful to the console).

                  I've also ran into an out of memory error when exporting to PDF with
                  two characters. I managed to get one to work by reducing the length
                  of the SPROP of her weapon to fit within one line on the forst
                  page's SPROP line. I haven't figured out what causes the problem on
                  the other character is yet.
                • notyetmousse24@aol.com
                  mtucker sez... Thanks for the suggestion, but 10.2.8 is the latest version of OS X, running the latest version of Java. But it s still a Mac. So the easiest
                  Message 8 of 14 , Jun 4, 2004
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                    mtucker sez...

                    'Thanks for the suggestion, but 10.2.8 is the latest version of OS X, running
                    the latest version of Java.'

                    But it's still a Mac. So the easiest solution is to convert to a better
                    supported OS (Linux, DOS or something along those lines).

                    'Any other ideas? Memory usage, maybe?'

                    Memory has been an issue, but if memory serves (did *not* mean to pun here)
                    the symptoms are nothing like what you're suffering. But in case that *does*
                    somehow happen to be the problem just set it to use more memory. Someone else
                    posted the details yesterday so just look back.

                    NotMousse
                    TM, QA Tamarin, Made Emily Smirle laugh

                    I mean, if I can't even get a discount out of someone else's misfortune,
                    what's the point?
                    -MisterTambo, founding member of the League of Unemployed Gentlemen


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • notyetmousse24@aol.com
                    mtucker sez... Replying to myself, before someone else points out my error... Reminds me to read all posts before replying to them. I wrote in response to
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jun 4, 2004
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                      mtucker sez...

                      'Replying to myself, before someone else points out my error...'

                      Reminds me to read all posts before replying to them.

                      'I wrote in response to NotMousse:'

                      And I replied, but here I am replying again... awkward...

                      'However, 10.2.8 is the latest "pre-Panther" version, and it *does*, in fact,
                      run Java 1.4.'

                      But does it run Java 1.4.2?

                      'Besides, I would be surprised to find that a difference between Java 1.3
                      versus Java 1.4 was the culprit behind hanging the PCGen process when attempting
                      a PDF export.'

                      Actually this is exactly why there was so much debate about changing between
                      one and another. Some things that work with 1.4.2 most certainly do not in
                      prior versions, which can cause some obscenely nasty things to happen.

                      Overall my advice remains the same, but I suggest upgrading to the currently
                      uber-expensive line that Jobs is pimping out.

                      NotMousse
                      TM, QA Tamarin, Made Emily Smirle laugh

                      I mean, if I can't even get a discount out of someone else's misfortune,
                      what's the point?
                      -MisterTambo, founding member of the League of Unemployed Gentlemen


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Michael Tucker
                      ... Oh, you re right. Of course. Why didn t I think of that. The obvious, easiest solution to getting PCGen to run on my Mac is to set up an Intel
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jun 4, 2004
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                        On Friday, June 4, 2004, at 04:37 AM, notyetmousse24@... wrote:

                        > mtucker sez...
                        >
                        > 'Thanks for the suggestion, but 10.2.8 is the latest version of OS X,
                        > running
                        > the latest version of Java.'
                        >
                        > But it's still a Mac. So the easiest solution is to convert to a
                        > better
                        > supported OS (Linux, DOS or something along those lines).
                        >

                        <sarcasm>
                        Oh, you're right. Of course. Why didn't I think of that. The obvious,
                        easiest solution to getting PCGen to run on my Mac is to set up an
                        Intel box running Linux.
                        </sarcasm>

                        Seriously, I disagree. I've been using PCGen quite happily and well for
                        a long time. There's something wrong with this release of PCGen. It may
                        be subtle, and it may not be affecting that many users. But the problem
                        lies in PCGen, not in my computer.

                        On Friday, June 4, 2004, at 04:47 AM, notyetmousse24@... wrote:

                        > 'However, 10.2.8 is the latest "pre-Panther" version, and it *does*,
                        > in fact,
                        > run Java 1.4.'
                        >
                        > But does it run Java 1.4.2?

                        I posted this previously, but again for your convenience:

                        % java -version
                        java version "1.4.1_01"
                        Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.4.1_01-69.1)
                        Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.4.1_01-24, mixed mode)

                        So, the answer is: no, I'm not running Java 1.4.2. Perhaps Panther (Mac
                        OS 10.3.4) has Java 1.4.2.

                        But the only thing that's changed between "happy, joy!", and "woe!"
                        regarding my PCGen experience was upgrading from 5.5.3 ("happy, joy!")
                        to 5.6.1 complete w/GMGen ("woe!"). I think that this weekend I will
                        download the limited version of 5.6.1 (without GMGen) and see if that
                        makes a difference in the memory footprint.

                        By the way, last night I invested another 2 hours fiddling with this,
                        and it *is* definitely a memory footprint issue. By increasing the size
                        of my Java environment, as follows ...

                        % java -Xms128M -Xmx256M -jar pcgen.jar

                        ... I was able to export my moderately complex character from 5.5.3.
                        [Note that this is 2-4 times the default allocation for Java (64M),
                        which has worked for me for previous versions. I.e., I've never had to
                        explicitly increase the memory allocation for Java before, to use
                        PCGen. So this version (5.6.1) is demanding at least *twice* the memory
                        of a recent previous release (5.5.3).]

                        However, curiously, I achieved success with Debug mode turned on.
                        Here's what I tried, and what worked:

                        a) java with extra memory - failed
                        b) debug mode - failed
                        c) java with extra memory AND debug mode - success

                        Curious, eh? But now it's definitely identified as a memory footprint
                        problem, and nothing else. [Strangely, the memory problem is masked (or
                        avoided) with Debug mode on. I would think that Debug would use *more*
                        memory, not less; but software behavior isn't always intuitive.]

                        By the way, the painfully slow performance problem also went away when
                        I increased the memory allocation for Java. I suspect that all these
                        other strange sporadic reports of "5.6.1 is a dog!" from other users,
                        are actually page-swapping problems due to the excessive memory
                        requirements of this release. Thus, the *real* solution is for the
                        developers to identify what changed in 5.6.1 (compared to previous
                        releases) such that it's suddenly gobbling up memory, and fix that. I
                        suggest looking into the "Equipment tab" area of the code, as that
                        seems to take the longest to load.

                        Michael
                      • notyetmousse24@aol.com
                        mtucker sez... The obvious, easiest solution to getting PCGen to run on my Mac is to set up an Intel box running Linux. I was actually thinking of ditching
                        Message 11 of 14 , Jun 5, 2004
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                          mtucker sez...

                          'The obvious, easiest solution to getting PCGen to run on my Mac is to set up
                          an Intel box running Linux.'

                          I was actually thinking of ditching the Mac completely as it's apparently
                          being out performed by a PC from roughly a decade ago. then again I've never
                          used a Mac I could stand (by stand I mean didn't bomb within a day).

                          'But the problem lies in PCGen, not in my computer.'

                          You may be right, and as it seems to be the case I'll make sure there's a
                          tracker (FREQ unless is affects more people) that says something along the lines
                          of 'optimize it already damn!'

                          'So, the answer is: no, I'm not running Java 1.4.2.'

                          Which was my point the whole time. While I'm not completely positive PCGen
                          demands this I understand that running the latest often solves problems
                          suffered by the less L33T among us (self included).

                          'I was able to export my moderately complex character from 5.5.3.'

                          Hmm... While I admit I don't export via PDF (never liked the format), I
                          hadn't noticed any significant slowdown when exporting via HTML.

                          'By the way, the painfully slow performance problem also went away when I
                          increased the memory allocation for Java.'

                          True, adding memory keeps it from collecting 'garbage' so often which is the
                          majority of the slowdown anyone will face with the program. Been this way for
                          at least the last few releases I can recall.

                          'I suggest looking into the "Equipment tab" area of the code, as that seems
                          to take the longest to load.'

                          This I did notice taking awhile, but as I hadn't experimented with it
                          previously had just assumed equipment to be one of the less well developed areas.

                          NotMousse
                          TM, QA Tamarin, Made Emily Smirle laugh

                          I mean, if I can't even get a discount out of someone else's misfortune,
                          what's the point?
                          -MisterTambo, founding member of the League of Unemployed Gentlemen


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Michael Tucker
                          ... Strangely enough, I feel the same about PCs as you seem to feel about Macs. If you want to start picking on platforms, Windows is certainly a target-rich
                          Message 12 of 14 , Jun 5, 2004
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                            On Saturday, June 5, 2004, at 04:26 AM, notyetmousse24@... wrote:

                            > mtucker sez...
                            >
                            > 'The obvious, easiest solution to getting PCGen to run on my Mac is to
                            > set up
                            > an Intel box running Linux.'
                            >
                            > I was actually thinking of ditching the Mac completely as it's
                            > apparently
                            > being out performed by a PC from roughly a decade ago. then again
                            > I've never
                            > used a Mac I could stand (by stand I mean didn't bomb within a day).
                            >

                            Strangely enough, I feel the same about PCs as you seem to feel about
                            Macs. If you want to start picking on platforms, Windows is certainly a
                            "target-rich environment".

                            Call it a personal preference (which is shared with me by several
                            million people), and let it go at that. I really don't think a
                            "religious debate" about platforms has any place here on the PCGen
                            discussion board. PCGen is written in Java, to be platform-neutral.
                            Java is fully supported by Mac OS X. Let it go.

                            > 'But the problem lies in PCGen, not in my computer.'
                            >
                            > You may be right, and as it seems to be the case I'll make sure
                            > there's a
                            > tracker (FREQ unless is affects more people) that says something along
                            > the lines
                            > of 'optimize it already damn!'
                            >

                            You apparently aren't "getting" the issue I'm trying to point out here.
                            This isn't about "optimizing performance", it's about fixing runaway
                            memory consumption.

                            PCGen's memory requirements have at least doubled from 5.5.3 to 5.6.1.
                            To make matters worse, evidently the part of the code that manages PDF
                            exports does not throw an "out of memory" exception; the process just
                            silently locks up. I'm guessing that FOP (or maybe the code that calls
                            FOP) isn't as good about throwing exceptions (let alone handling them)
                            as it ought to be.

                            > 'So, the answer is: no, I'm not running Java 1.4.2.'
                            >
                            > Which was my point the whole time. While I'm not completely positive
                            > PCGen
                            > demands this I understand that running the latest often solves problems
                            > suffered by the less L33T among us (self included).
                            >

                            Running the latest has been pointed out repeatedly on this board as
                            often being the *source* of problems, not their cure. Many has been the
                            time when someone complained that their latest beta version of the JRE
                            crashed when running PCGen. The solution was to downgrade to an
                            earlier, stable version of the JRE.

                            Regardless, Java 1.4.1 ran PCGen 5.5.3 just fine. It also runs PCGen
                            5.6.1 just fine, but only if I'm very, very careful about how much
                            memory PCGen is given and induced to consume. The version of Java is
                            therefore obviously a non-issue (especially since I'm not running
                            GMGen).

                            Please step away from that issue; nothing to be seen there.

                            > 'I was able to export my moderately complex character from 5.5.3.'
                            >
                            > Hmm... While I admit I don't export via PDF (never liked the format),
                            > I
                            > hadn't noticed any significant slowdown when exporting via HTML.
                            >

                            Nor had I. HTML outputs run fine, as I said in my post.

                            By the way, you're missing out on some truly beautiful output sheets,
                            if you aren't using the PDF sheets. The latest color PDF sheets are
                            works of art. :-)

                            > 'By the way, the painfully slow performance problem also went away
                            > when I
                            > increased the memory allocation for Java.'
                            >
                            > True, adding memory keeps it from collecting 'garbage' so often which
                            > is the
                            > majority of the slowdown anyone will face with the program. Been this
                            > way for
                            > at least the last few releases I can recall.
                            >

                            Which begs the point I'm trying to make, which is the excessive memory
                            demands of PCGen 5.6.1 in the first place. *That* is the problem that
                            needs fixing.

                            > 'I suggest looking into the "Equipment tab" area of the code, as that
                            > seems
                            > to take the longest to load.'
                            >
                            > This I did notice taking awhile, but as I hadn't experimented with it
                            > previously had just assumed equipment to be one of the less well
                            > developed areas.
                            >
                            > NotMousse
                            > TM, QA Tamarin, Made Emily Smirle laugh
                            >

                            Thanks for taking the time to reply, in any case. Despite your "troll"
                            regarding Macs, I do appreciate the feedback.

                            Bryan, Barak, if you're reading this and have made it this far: I'm
                            still trying to debug this, but I'm not making much progress. It's hard
                            when the process just locks up tight without any messages to the
                            console. HTML output works. PDF does sometimes, if I hold my mouth just
                            right; but usually it just locks up the moment I click "Save". I
                            suspect, at this point, that it dies when it tries to call FOP (but
                            without throwing an exception, at least not one that makes it to the
                            console).

                            Michael
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