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"This can be necessary in OS X but, important software such as Flash Player shouldn't require it or if it must, should pop a better explanation of the error."
NO software installer from ANY manufacturer can determine or predetermine if your permissions are screwed up. That includes OS X updates.
is indicative of a user deleting the mach_kernel file, which was made visible by the 10.8.5 update in early October. This has been the case for hundreds of thousands of Mac users since that update. While upgrading to 10.9 replaced it in most cases, I've seen several people in the Apple forums who managed to install Mavericks without it and, because they had screwed up permissions, it didn't install with the new OS and then they saw all sorts of problems installing everything from Flash Player and Reader to App Store purchases from Apple.
You need to understand, that neither screwed up permissions, nor a mistakenly deleted NECESSARY kernel file are Adobe problems or responsibilities. They're a software manufacturer, not a computer daycare service.
Having browsed the Apple Communities messages from last year, I can see that people did delete the mach_kernel file. Luckily, it didn't stop OS X from working for them - I used to think the kernel was critical to the OS but, there you go. I haven't been able to find a report on the number of people who deleted the file. Can you point me there ?
Anyway, that wasn't my problem. As mentioned it was permissions and my mach_kernal file was properly in place and hidden. Having used OS X for years, I should have twigged but, for me, normally permissions issues don't stop software installs so it just didn't occcur to me. I suspect that many Mac users could have the same problem and so a reference to permissions on the relevant Adobe support page would obviate users going through the hoops of a clean install etc.
Yes, software developers can't manage things like permissions for users. However, if the install fails, I'm surprised that the output of the install command can't be used to determine what kind of error was encountered. I can't find a list of return codes for Installer.app. But, in my own log file there are lots of permissions messages e.g. "Could not open job overrides database at: /private/var/db/launchd.db/com.apple.launchd/overrides.plist: 13: Permission denied". Perhaps the Flash installer could parse such returned data to help determine why the installer has failed and so advise users. I should acknowledge that when I tried to run the install from the Adobe Flash Player.pkg file the error message did mention possible permissions issues. So, maybe I should have taken the hint.
I can see you've talked a lot of people down to a safe landing on flash install problems so, many thanks for all your efforts. Much appreciated.
I think inidvidual system analysis is a bit much to ask of third party freeware. Even Apple updates don't do that, and it's THEIR OS.
As to the number of people who've had mach_kernel problems... Here's just a small sample of the ones who found it "unhidden" and didn't delete it.
Nearly 15,000 views of that thread alone, and there are more than 14,000 views of similar threads listed on the right hand sidebar.
And, as many people point out here and in the Apple forums, those are just the ones who saw fit to try and find out what it was. Usually, that's about 1 in 10 at the very best.
10 years ago, I worked for Intuit, and because I worked pretty closely on a daily basis with the Apple development people there, they had me certified through an ACE course in Phoenix, AZ. That cert lasted till June 2006, but I was no longer with them by then, and I let it lapse. One thing I was taught by Intuit was to never assume to know everything about every computer, Windows or Mac. The first thing that'll happen when doing that... is that you'll be proven wrong, and usually in a pretty embarassing manner. That's why I "ask" what people are seeing before offering a solution in nearly every case.
There are some things that are painfully obvious, and they can be remedied with a copy & paste of a tried & true set of steps, but I try to keep an open mind. I remember when I first started using Macs, and there was nothing like this forum (at least not in its present state) in those days, and I learned a lot of things by "trial and error". Trial and error meaning I had to reformat my HD once again and reload everything for the fourth or fifth time this month. I'm glad those days are behind me, and I appreciate the opportuntity to save others the stress and bother of that.
Point taken on third party freeware, although, Flash is just about the only choice for so many web sites. I'm glad that Adobe keep it up to date against possible threats etc.
Had no idea about the volume of people experiencing the mach_kernal issue, thanks.
Glad you are able to help so many people.
I've been a Quicken user since 1997. Intuit's laudable attitudes to IT and problem solving are a great contrast to their treatment of Quicken for Mac users outside the US. I've a long history of frustrations with Intuit - not over the product (which is why I still use it) but the difficulty in buying/updating. In the most recent episode I wanted to pay for a copy of Q2007 (Intel). It was not easy.
Cheers and all the best.