[tech] The memory leak that was bedeviling my Macintosh

As some may recall, prior to replacing my MacBook Pro with my MacBook Air, I was going through a series of increasingly frustrating virtual memory errors on the MacBook Pro. These were difficult to document and almost impossible to replicate on demand, but always involved my morning prep of my blog posts.

Having finally run through the process of excluding one by one each piece of software involved, the culprit was TextWrangler. I’m now editing the blog posts in TextEdit, which is far less satisfactory from a feature/functionality perspective, but does not generate the performance slowdowns and VM errors.

This bums me out, because I like TextWrangler a lot. And I rather dislike TextEdit. So I’m now looking for a TextWrangler replacement. The obvious candidate is BBEdit Pro, but (a) I don’t really want to spend $50 on a text editor and (b) I’m afraid BBEdit Pro might share enough code base with TextWrangler to generate the same VM problem over time. So anyone with thoughts on a good text editor for Mac OS X, please do share them here. Meanwhile, I lump along.

11 thoughts on “[tech] The memory leak that was bedeviling my Macintosh

  1. Meran says:

    BBEdit has a long reputable history.. I’ve not tested it for the memory errors you’re having problems with, but it was always my choice for webpage generation.
    Sorry you’re having problems.

  2. There are lots of great text editors for the Mac. I like Byword:


    For short things and Scrivener for writing books (I write tech books, and have written six or seven using Scrivener):


    I also like WriteRoom if you’re into distraction free writing:


    And for dedicated blogging I use MarsEdit:


    There’s also TextMate which is comparable to BBEdit:


    Hope that helps! Though none of them are free 🙂

    1. Jay says:

      Well, TextWrangler wasn’t free either — paid successor to the old BBedit Lite — and I loved it til it began trashing my machine. Thanks for the reccos!

  3. Ahh, you bought it when they were charging for it… TextWrangler is free in the Mac App store now.

    You can always use Word! Hahahahah. 😉

  4. Paulette says:

    Jay, talk to the guys at BareBones. They are great and will help you out. Allan has a longer history with the company, but we’ve both worked there and they do have a dedication to producing a solid product. So they’ll want to know if something’s causing problems.

  5. Harald Striepe says:

    You might try the app store version. Based on my experience with the iOS App Store, they run their submission through an automated test sequence that might catch this (would not be hard to do).

    I would also contact their support. They will want to know the leak issue.

    My Mac Pro is always on, and I am running into issues. VM is around 450GB!!! Something is leaking for sure…

    I am suspecting VMWare Fusion in this case.

  6. David S. says:

    I’ve been using TextWrangler for yonks and I’ve never had any issues like yours, it’s very strange, but perhaps I simply don’t use it enough or with large enough docs to encounter the problem. I used to use the free download of TW from the Bare Bones site (as far as I recall TW has _always_ been free) but I recently switched to the Mac App Store version as it cost nothing to switch and getting updates that way is more convenient.

    Which raises the question – have you been using the latest version of TextWrangler, 3.5.3? If not it’s possible the problem has been fixed already in that version.

    1. Jay says:

      Yep, it’s 3.5.3 from the App Store. (I just doublechecked.)

  7. David S. says:

    In fact, now that I look on the Bare Bones support site for the latest release notes for TextWrangler 3.5.3:

    “Fixed a fistful of bugs which contributed to unnecessarily high memory utilization.”


    If you’re already using 3.5.3 you should contact them and report the issue so they can investigate and if necessary fix it.

  8. Hi Jay,

    Sorry to hear that you’re having trouble with TextWrangler. If you’re seeing something wrong when using our software, we definitely want to know about it. If you identify a problem, we want to fix it, and if there’s some system conflict or update, we can help to troubleshoot that, too.

    Just drop us a line at support@barebones.com.


    1. Jay says:

      I will be happy to send you guys a detailed write-up next week, once I’m off the chemo pump and my brain can be assumed to working with enough accuracy to type up a bug report.

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