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Tech Tip: Freehand MX and 'Not Enough Memory'

A quick fix for the memory error in Mac OS X By Dave Nagel
Macromedia Freehand MX, as I wrote in my initial review of the product, is a fantastic upgrade for those who work with vector graphics. It has a great, new workflow and several new creative tools. But it also comes with its own set of new problems--nagging little issues that have not, to date, been addressed with a patch to correct what seem to be some fairly simple bugs. So we'll fix one of these ourselves today.

Among the bugs introduced in the latest version is an error that occurs in Mac OS X whenever you're working with complex graphics involving a large number of paths--and especially when you're using the Extrude or Smudge tools. The error reports that there's "not enough memory" to complete the operation in question. Then you're just stuck, unable to continue with your work. And there's no reason for it, not when we have a ton of memory installed. (In my case, I have 1.5 GB installed, so I should never run out of memory for anything.)

But there is a fix for this, one that should eliminate most, if not all, of these errors. And it may even give you a bit of a performance boost as well.

The problem seems to be that Freehand MX is constraining its maximum memory usage according to a fixed limit, as would be the case if you were using the software in Mac OS 9. Well, in Mac OS 9 the solution would be simple: allocate more memory to the application. But in Mac OS X, memory is dynamically allocated, and you can't adjust the memory values in the Get Info pane as you could in Mac OS 9, right? Right, because you can't edit the "Preferred Memory" partition in the Get Info pane in Mac OS X. The values listed there are for your reference only.

So how can you set an upper memory limit higher than the default, especially if you're using a newer Mac that can't boot into OS 9?

Here's how.

Important: Please note that this fix is purely for Mac OS X. You should make a backup copy of your software before beginning this process. Do not attempt this process while Freehand MX is running.

1. To begin, locate your Freehand MX application. Right-click (or Control-click) on the application icon, and, from the contextual menu that appears, choose "Show Package Contents."

2. This will open up a new window, showing you the contents of Freehand MX's package. In this new window, navigate to Contents > MacOS > Freehand MX.

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