This is a weird story. Yesterday, Variety’s Janko Roettgers reported that a bunch of Mac Pros in the Hollywood area were refusing to restart:
Film and TV editors across Los Angeles were sweating Monday evening as their workstations were refusing to reboot, resulting in speculations about a possible computer virus attack. Social media reports suggested that the issue was widespread among users of Mac Pro computers running older versions of Apple’s operating system as well as Avid’s Media Composer software.
The folks at Avid were in for a rough week, as Roettgers goes on:
Avid said in a statement Tuesday morning that it was aware of the issue, and that its engineers had made it a top priority to resolve the cause of it. On Tuesday afternoon, the company followed up with a video featuring its CEO Jeff Rosica and its CTO Tim Claman. Rosica said that the company has working “around the clock, whatever it takes” to solve the issue, and added that company engineers were on site “at a number of sites” to further investigate the problem.
Today, it looks like the problem is actually Google’s fault. Here is Roettgers again:
A serious data corruption issue that resulted in Mac Pro workstations being rendered unusable at a number of Hollywood studios Monday was likely caused by a browser update gone haywire: Google told Mac Pro users Tuesday evening that an update to its Chrome browser is likely to fault for the issue, which particularly impacted video editors across Hollywood and beyond.
“We recently discovered that a Chrome update may have shipped with a bug that damages the file system on MacOS machines,” the company wrote in a forum post. “We’ve paused the release while we finalize a new update that addresses the problem.”
That forum post is wild:
We recently discovered that a Chrome update may have shipped with a bug that damages the file system on macOS machines with System Integrity Protection (SIP) disabled, including machines that do not support SIP. We’ve paused the release while we finalize a new update that addresses the problem.
If you have not taken steps to disable System Integrity Protection and your computer is on OS X 10.9 or later, this issue cannot affect you.
SIP was introduced in OS X 10.11 El Capitan, which would make sense with the original reporting that this failure was showing up on machines running older versions of Mac OS X. The 2013 Mac Pro originally shipped with OS X 10.9 Mavericks, so it’s certainly possible that these machines just haven’t been updated very much.
That’s not super unusual in production workflows, especially when tools like Avid are expensive to upgrade and require the developer to spend time certifying later macOS releases.