Thank You, Nikon, For Your “Support” (updated)

So I got a sweet new camera and went "wow, even comes with up-to-date Mac software!" Little did I know what I was in for.

I tried to install their photo management software, and got a permission error. After attempting the normal things (double-check that it asked for the admin password, etc.) I went to their support page. Oh! Turns out there's a rev-up of the software.

I downloaded that, and it still bombed out. Time to contact support. Their first suggestion was to update StuffIt. (Er? It's a self-contained installer that came in a .dmg, but ok, I'll humor them.) Then we try creating a new account with admin privileges, presumably because they figure I don't actually know how to be an administrator, even though I verified it. No luck.

Finally, I was talking to support on the phone and they started throwing out just completely random and unrelated stuff like, "would you please contact your network administrator about this?" to which I replied "About what? This doesn't have anything to do with networking." So I disconnected from the network just to show that that wasn't it. Still wouldn't install. I then narrowed down the particular file in the installer that was failing, and then tried running the install while running fs_usage. They asked me to finish up with that, attach the info to them, and call support back and it will be time to escalate.

I called back, and this time got another support person, who I speed-walked through what had already happened. Where does he end up? "We suggest you contact Apple support on how to do an Archive and Install, that seems to solve a lot of problems." WTF? This ain't Windows. I'm more inclined to believe VISE is a piece of crap, because, well, it is. (It seems like 99% of any install problems I've had on Mac have been from software that used to be on OS9 and earlier and still use VISE. Sure, has it's problems, but this type of error has been solved long ago in the OSX world.)

My last response to them was this, we'll see what kind of response I get:

was asked to reinstall my system by the support representative. That's just not a reasonable option. I'm not running Windows here, which randomly breaks itself over time.

Is there any option to actually escalate to a developer and have them at least look over the logs? Is there a copy of the files somewhere that don't use VISE installer so that I can try putting them on my system manually? It's not like PictureProject is necessarily not working on my system, the only thing that's broken here is the installer.

It seems like that would be something to try before formatting the system and starting over. (Yes, I know Archive and Install keeps settings, but it makes it a real PITA to get things cleaned up since lots of stuff, palm desktop, etc. installs files to the system directories.)


So I got a response from them, it was:

Benjamin: We apologize for the inconvenience however the issue you are reporting "IS" a known issue with the Mac OSX 10.4 operating system. Apple has been walking Nikon clients through the fix for this OS related issue and I ask that you contact Apple support for help with this problem. The fix apple has been using is the archive and restore feature which repairs permissions on the drive. Your case has been passed to Nikons top level of support and I have reviewed the case note in full. This issue is a permissions problem with the OS and a full and clean uninstall and reinstall of Nikon software will not correct this issue.

...which is just plain silly. I did some more digging, and finally responded with this:

I was able to get it installed by running:

sudo /System/Library/Frameworks/Carbon.framework/Versions/A/Support/LaunchCFMApp "~/Desktop/PictureProject Installer/Contents/Frameworks/LANGUAGE/EN/Contents/MacOS/EN" which allowed it to continue as root.

I guess my confusion is, if it's a permissions problem, and you know what the problem is, why not just say "open a terminal, and run chown root:admin /Library/CFMSupport"? Rather than making someone re-install their entire OS.

I did some more debugging trying to figure out what file it was trying to write at the time, and it turned out to be Zelkova3.shlb. That file ends up in /Library/CFMSupport, which is owned by "root:wheel" instead of "root:admin". Changing the ownership would most likely have fixed this issue.

Either way, "reinstall" is a heavy-handed and unnecessary solution to this problem. Of course, now that it's installed it crashes on importing my library, but that's another matter. 😛

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