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Why does the Mac OS X firewall dialog recurringly pop-up and disappear by itself (without letting me respond) under Snow Leopard?

Why does the Mac OS X firewall dialog recurringly pop-up and disappear by itself (without letting me respond) under Snow Leopard?

From time to time, I'll be on my Macbook using a program that accesses the network – whether Firefox, or Sony's Reader Library – really, it seems like it could happen with any program that accesses the network – and for no reason that I can discern so far (that is, it happens intermittently) the OS X firewall dialog pops up to ask me the question:

Asked by: Guest | Views: 133
Total answers/comments: 1
Guest [Entry]

"Symptoms
According to the Apple Support Forums link posted earlier, the popup appears only for certain apps. Adding a permanent exception did not fix the issue for the poster there. Asker reports the popup appearing for all apps, although intermittent.

Diagnosis
It seems that the firewall is not correctly recognizing the applications and/or acting incorrectly upon their detection. This belief is reinforced by the notion that for some people not all apps are causing this.

Testing
To determine what in the firewall is b0rked, we could test several scenarios:

A completely clean computer with only some basic apps installed. This will guarantee that the system-wide config as well as the user-configs would be clean.
A new user. If the affected people could create a new account and the firewall doesn't b0rk under that account, the user's config is invalid and would need to be rebuild (i.e. cp'ed from the new user).

If we do this option, we can also diff the config files and check for anomalies.

Disable the firewall. This will probably fix the symptoms. If it doesn't, we're screwed. Disabling and enabling might also fix it, but we would need to test if that is the case. I cannot figure why that would work, though.

Extra info
Some people are suggesting to turn off their firewall, but no-one who reported the problems seems to have done so (or they haven't reported back) so we don't know if this fixes it."