I'm posting this here for the next poor bastard who encounters this
problem since I searched the net and could find nothing on it.

Symptom: Attempting to eject a CD by dragging it to the trash, or
using the Finder Eject menu item, or holding down the F12 key results
in the disk being unmounted but not ejecting. Disk Utility hangs
looking for it and a hard restart is the only remaining option to eject
the disk.

I traced the problem to the "Put hard disk(s) to sleep when possible"
option in the Energy Saver panel. Apparently, the SuperDrive can be
put to sleep and doesn't wake up. You can also verify this by trying
to open a file on the CD after it goes to sleep - you get a file error.
Configuration: Intel Mac Mini Solo, 1.5 GHz running OS 10.4.8. I had
the screen and hard disk(s) set to sleep, but not the computer since it
has a network shared printer attached.


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