For whatever reason, XEmacs decided tonight to crash on me when I fire up Gnus. Not good – I like to be able to read my e-mail. Fortunately, there’s a workaround – it doesn’t happen if I touch my .newsrc first – but otherwise the crash is quite reproducible.

Sigh. I’d seen XEmacs crash once or twice since I bought the new computer – I guess it’s not rock-solid in 64-bit mode. But this is the first time it’s been a real problem.

I would say that this is what happens when I use an unusual mail client (Gnus) on an unusual editor (XEmacs) in an unusual operating system (64-bit Linux). But, on reflection, I’m not sure that’s fair – XEmacs is doubtless not the only mail client out there whose 64-bit version has bugs, and it’s certainly not Gnus’s fault that XEmacs is crashing. And at least I feel that, with XEmacs, I have a slight chance at being able to figure out what’s going on: if nothing else, I’ve built it from source many times before, so with luck I’ll be able to reproduce the crash under GDB with full debug info. Whereas I’d feel a good deal more helpless if this happened under, say, Thunderbird or (The latter of which was doing remarkable things to my boss’s mail headers earlier this week.)

And, if worse comes to worst, all the mail data is sitting there in flat text files, so nothing’s would be irretrievably lost if this whole setup stops working. Indeed, I could try just running Gnus in Emacs instead of XEmacs – the bug might well not be present there. I’d rather not, though…

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