Tuesday, March 08, 2016

PSA: Don't attempt to upgrade the built-in openssl on OS X Mavericks

The built-in openssl is version 0.9.8-something-or-other, which is pretty badly out of date.  Today I tried to upgrade that to 1.0.1.  When I did, my laptop suddenly became very, very unhappy.  Mail stopped working.  Safari stopped working.

OK, no problem, I thought, I'll just fire up Time Machine and revert the changes.

Except that Time Machine wasn't working either!  Not only was it not working, it was not working in a particularly nasty way: I could get in to Time Machine, but it didn't actually work.  And once I was in, I couldn't get out.  The only way to escape was to power down my machine.

Then it wouldn't reboot.  I nearly had a heart attack.

I had to boot from the recovery partition and revert the changes from a SuperDuper snapshot I had taken a few weeks before (thank God I had that!)

I had no idea that openssl was woven so deeply into the fabric of OS X that changing it makes the machine unbootable.  In fact, even now I cannot think what mechanism could cause booting to fail.  It didn't even cause a kernel panic, it just never got past the power-up spinner.

No comments: