#794 new
Wes Carroll

Reproducible beach ball while composing message (Gmail)

Reported by Wes Carroll | May 30th, 2014 @ 04:45 AM

Hello Benny and all,

On Day 5 of MailMate trial, and really hoping to find that MailMate is the client for me. Unfortunately, I have found what appears to be a showstopper bug, and I suspect it's related to an inappropriate configuration interacting badly with Gmail.

While attempting to compose an email, I routinely get a spinning beach ball, during which time MailMate locks up completely. The workaround is to turn off my net connection (!) at which time the beach ball disappears and MailMate displays what I typed (invisibly) during the beach ball.

At the moment, I can't offer much information. I know that it happens reliably and routinely when I try to compose an email using MailMate on my computer.

I suspect that some of the following facts are relevant:

  • I use Gmail with two-factor auth.
  • For a long time, I was using Apple Mail under Mac OS X 10.6. Everything worked. I had modified my settings in order to prevent many copies of each draft from appearing in my Drafts folder, but I don't recall exactly what modifications those were.
  • Recently I upgraded to 10.9.2. Mail became unusable. (This is how I learned of MailMate and became excited about Benny's plan to become a one-man full-time mail client wizard so his wife can go to university.)
  • My initial setup of MailMate imported the account as set up in Mail. Heaven only knows what strange settings I've unwittingly imported.
  • My system crashed perhaps a week ago (disk became corrupted) and I successfully restored from backup. I doubt that this is relevant, but I mention it in case I'm wrong about that.

I've noticed that I have some 60K messages in the Gmail account visible to MailMate. That seemed rather a lot, so I have removed a number of labels in order to reduce the number of message being duplicated (due to Gmail's labelling mechanism). I have also made my Sent Mail invisible to IMAP (since that contained 40K of the 60K messages) and have created a new label ("Sent Recently") that includes only a few thousand Sent messages. Sadly, neither of these things seems to have affected the bad behavior in any way.

I'll be happy to provide all manner of diagnostic data, but don't really know what would be useful. Please let me know what data I can provide.

Also, I would be happy to make my MailMate confirm to "best practices" settings for Gmail, but in good faith, I can't figure out what those settings are, nor how to implement them (for example, I can't figure out for the life of me how to get MailMate to cache drafts locally, or even to determine whether it already does).

Many thanks to Benny and all reading this. I look forward to trying whatever is suggested.

Comments and changes to this ticket

  • Wes Carroll

    Wes Carroll May 31st, 2014 @ 03:48 AM

    Since posting this bug, I have changed the system in two significant ways. At present, I am not witnessing the buggy behavior. I am tentatively concluding that these two changes have solved the problem, though I will check back in when I have more data (within a few days).


    1. I upgraded from 10.9.2 to 10.9.3. This alone did not obviously resolve the problem.
    2. I manually rebuilt my MailMate database, per http://manual.mailmate-app.com/rebuild#manually_resetting_mailmate.

    Initial tests fail to reproduce the bug. As I said, I'll update this ticket when I have more-conclusive data.

    Please note: I have saved the dump from four separate application crashes from the time before these two changes. I'll send them along if it becomes evident that they would be helpful.

  • Wes Carroll

    Wes Carroll May 31st, 2014 @ 05:41 PM

    More banging on MailMate seems to indicate stability.

    My current theory is this:

    Recovering my machine from a backup (using SuperDuper) caused the MailMate database to fall out of sync with the actual state of my Gmail IMAP mailbox. And indeed, on retrospect, two of the four crashes I captured came when attempting to delete the same email from my inbox. This also seems consistent with the observed behavior that turning off my net connection stopped all bad symptoms: without a net connection, there was no Gmail IMAP, and without Gmail IMAP, there was nothing for the database to be out of sync with.

    Therefore, I think that the real bug here is:

    When recovering MailMate from a backup, the database may become unusuable in a way that MailMate itself does not notice.

    So unless Benny or an experienced user subsequently comments to say otherwise, I recommend that anyone facing MailMate crashes or hangs after a recovery from backup manually rebuild their MailMate database. The link in the previous comment explains how to do so.

    (If I could close this ticket myself, I would.)

  • Wes Carroll

    Wes Carroll May 31st, 2014 @ 05:47 PM

    Attached find the four crash dumps exhibited before the database rebuild, in the hopes that they may help Benny to teach MailMate to recognize this condition.

  • benny

    benny May 31st, 2014 @ 06:28 PM

    • State changed from “new” to “closed”

    Thanks for all the details Wes. I believe you are correct that the restore from backup was the initial cause of your problems. It is new to me though that this could lead to hanging. Usually MailMate would detect inconsistencies and ask to be allowed to rebuild the database.

    The crash reports are quite strange. None of the crashes are in MailMate code, but in Apple code and not in the same place. 3 of 4 are happening at the same time as MailMate is trying to send crash reports to my server, but that is probably a coincidence. I guess this is a sign of some general memory corruption issue which would kind of explain why you were never asked to rebuild the database…

    To answer your Drafts question: MailMate postpones uploading to Drafts until after you close the composer (without sending). This means that most of the time messages are not uploaded to drafts. You can assign the folder to be used for Drafts by right-clicking a mailbox and open the Mailbox Type submenu. I recommend just using the default Gmail drafts mailbox ([Gmail]/Drafts), but if you really don't want them uploaded then you could simple take this mailbox offline (and only this mailbox).

  • Wes Carroll

    Wes Carroll May 31st, 2014 @ 08:21 PM

    Many thanks for your attention on this, Benny.

    I'm unsettled (albeit not extremely surprised) by the idea that the crashes are in Apple code.

    Thanks also for the answer to my Drafts questions. The detail on MailMate's behavior is good to know (and is also very clever). Now I know how to change Drafts folders, and I also now know that I don't need to.

    I'm still confused as to why a database rebuild seems to have solved the problem, but I'm not going to worry about it any more; my focus now is on simply using MailMate for a few weeks, and continuing to customize it (and simultaneously to cut down on my use of Gmail labels, now that I have a deeper understanding of how dangerous it is to depend on a non-standard IMAP implementation controlled by a corporate entity). I look forward to having no more major troubles, and to buying a MailMate license shortly thereafter.

    Thanks so much.

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Mac OS X email client.

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