Guru Meditation

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Guru Meditation is an error notice displayed by early versions of the Commodore Amiga computer when they crashed. It is analogous to the "Blue Screen Of Death" in Microsoft Windows operating systems. Guru Meditation errors also occur on Nintendo DS Homebrew applications, in the SISCWeb when any kind of error processing requests occurs, in the Varnish http accelerator[1][2][3][4] and in the VirtualBox virtualization platform.[5]



When a Guru Meditation is displayed, the options are to reboot by pressing the left mouse button, or to invoke ROMWack by pressing the right mouse button. (ROMWack is a minimalist debugger built into the operating system which is accessible by connecting a 9600 bit/s terminal to the serial port.)

The alert itself appears as a black rectangular box located in the upper portion of the screen. Its border and text are red for a normal Guru Meditation, or green/yellow for a Recoverable Alert, another kind of Guru Meditation. The screen goes black, and the power and disk-activity LEDs may blink immediately before the alert appears. In AmigaOS 1.x, programmed in ROMs known as Kickstart 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3, the errors are always red. In AmigaOS 2.x and 3.x, recoverable alerts are yellow, except for some very early versions of 2.x where they were green. Dead-end alerts are red in all OS versions.

The alert occurred when there was a fatal problem with the system. If the system had no means of recovery, it could display the alert, even in systems with numerous critical flaws. In extreme cases, the alert could even be displayed if the system's memory was completely exhausted.

The error is displayed as two fields, separated by a period. The format is #0000000x.yyyyyyyy in case of a CPU error, or #aabbcccc.dddddddd in case of a system software error. The first field is either the Motorola 68000 exception number that occurred (if a CPU error occurs) or an internal error identifier (such as an 'Out of Memory' code), in case of a system software error. The second can be the address of a Task structure, or the address of a memory block whose allocation or deallocation failed. It is never the address of the code that caused the error. If the cause of the crash is uncertain, this number is rendered as 48454C50, which stands for "HELP" in hexadecimal ASCII characters (48=H, 45=E, 4C=L, 50=P).

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