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Linux's own BSOD. We need to get it out into the open!
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davecs
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 12:46 pm    Post subject: Linux's own BSOD. We need to get it out into the open! Reply with quote

My only real frustration when using Linux is a fault that seems only to happen on some boxes and not others, and only when using GLX/3D acceleration, especially on nVidia but also occasionally on ATi.

What happens is that everything freezes except the mouse pointer which moves around the screen but its cursor stays fixed. Apparently if the computer is on a network, you can SSH into it (whatever that means) and find that X has taken over all your memory, you can close X and the computer is still running. Otherwise you are forced to press ALT-SYSRQ-S to save all open files, ALT-SYSRQ-U to unmount them and reopen them as read-only, and ALT-SYSRQ-B to reboot. There are other combinations that restart the keyboard, etc, but ultimately you never get up and running properly unless you reboot.

There are several theories about the origin of this fault. One is the nVidia drivers. I'm not sure about this, because I have read that it can happen in any 3D-enabled X setup. Another is the kernel. Another is somewhere in X.

Everyone blames the other, and you only read about it on forums. It never seems to be discussed in magazines, or acknowledged by any developers. At the nvidia help site, it is one of the biggest topics, but no "official" answers at all.

It also seems to strike randomly, I didn't have this problem for ages, and then it got so bad that I had to switch to the nv (2D) driver which is slow even in 2D.

It can strike in any distro, and there is no rhyme or reason. Two people with identical computers and identical distros can find that one persion never sees this bug and another sees it all the time. A little tweak of xorg.conf can result in it going away for a while only for it to come back with a vengeance later.

If developers can't work out what's causing it, can they at least add a means of escaping from it without having to reboot? Has anyone else had this problem?
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towy71
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 2:01 pm    Post subject: RE: Linux Reply with quote

It happened to me yesterday but I did not know the keyboard sequence to reboot so had to resort to reset button which then set off whole sequence of fsck stuff but the system did eventually get going again!
so thank davecs for the tip will bear it mind if it happens again
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Rhakios
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 7:11 pm    Post subject: RE: Linux Reply with quote

One thing to be aware of with the alt+sysrq sequence, some distros disable this function by default for security reasons. SuSE, for example: one of my first tasks after a fresh installation of a SuSE distribution is to re-enable it.

There is a full explanantion of all the magic sysrq key sequnces in the kernel docs, such as
/usr/src/linux/Documentation/sysrq.txt
on SuSE. IIRC, it has also been dealt with briefly in the magazine.
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davecs
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 9:07 pm    Post subject: RE: Linux Reply with quote

If you don't actually need 3D/GLX, the "nv" solution is OK, it just slows the machine down so much. Oh and if you have an analogue connection to your monitor, it shifts the picture over, about 6-7%, so you have to adjust it, which is annoying if you need to change back and forth.

But still, is there a way to force this issue right out into the open so that the developers will get their heads together and deal with it? Maybe we need a "bribery" fund for them.
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towy71
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 9:29 pm    Post subject: RE: Linux Reply with quote

Bribery? What are you implying?

Thats my tuppence! Wink
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fingers99
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 9:54 pm    Post subject: RE: Linux Reply with quote

So,

Alt + backspace won't do it?

That would seem to point to something more fundamental than X.
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linuxgirlie
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Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2005 7:34 pm
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 10:16 pm    Post subject: RE: Linux Reply with quote

I must admit I always resort to alt + backspace if I have a problem, unless I have a winex problem when I do kill wine -9 I use that, but i'm lazy Wink

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davecs
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 10:18 pm    Post subject: Re: RE: Linux Reply with quote

fingers99 wrote:
So,

Alt + backspace won't do it?

That would seem to point to something more fundamental than X.


The problem is that whilst X is running, it controls the keyboard. It is X that has locked up, not the kernel. The only keys that work at this point are the ALT-SYSRQ-key combinations, because they are directly controlled by the kernel!

So the problem is definitely X. But a lot makes up X, it's a question of which part and who is responsible. Or is a clash with part of the kernel to blame?

No-one is taking responsibility...
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nelz
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 11:21 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: RE: Linux Reply with quote

It doesn't sound like a kernel issue. If, as you said earlier, you can still SSH into the computer from another, the OS is running fine. The problem is that X has locked up and, as you say, X is grabbing almost all input so you cannot get out of it. Using SSH bypasses all of that since it sets up a new console login that has nothing to do with X. From there you can kill X.

A kernel level lockup would also kill networking, so SSH wouldn't work.


Last edited by nelz on Sat May 14, 2005 3:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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fingers99
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 12:03 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: RE: Linux Reply with quote

OK, so what effect does

Alt + SysRq + R have?

Is it true for all the nVidia drivers or only the latest one(s).
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towy71
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 12:43 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: RE: Linux Reply with quote

I don't like you fingers99 Razz

I had to try it and then had to Alt+SysRq+B grrrr
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Rhakios
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 12:53 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: RE: Linux Reply with quote

Why? You should have been able to switch to another terminal and shutdown gracefully. That is the purpose of alt+sysrq+r, to free the keyboard from a locked X session and allow you to switch to a terminal where you can do things in a more controlled manner.
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systemx



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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 4:10 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: RE: Linux Reply with quote

The current state of nvidia is pretty unstable and it is my experience that anything over 1.0-6629 can and will cause lockups on most systems...

As for ATI, I have no idea because I don't use it Smile

If yr already using that nvidia version, maybe you should apply there patch set: http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=553970&postcount=1

It fixes most, if not all the known bugs in that release...
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davecs
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 11:59 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: RE: Linux Reply with quote

Unfortunately, Nvidia 6629 won't install on my PCLinuxOS system, only 7174 will. There is a fix in the full version of the above post, but that doesn't work for me either!

I've put back "nvidia" in my xorg.conf and am running in 3D at present. Just to see how long it lasts!
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doctorflange



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Location: Anniesland, Glasgow

PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2005 11:34 am    Post subject: Re: RE: Linux Reply with quote

davecs wrote:
Oh and if you have an analogue connection to your monitor, it shifts the picture over, about 6-7%, so you have to adjust it, which is annoying if you need to change back and forth.

Ah, I thought that was just me. Ye olde nvidia squint. Plus, it's nice to be able to run the flurry screensaver to annoy my mac-using flatmate. He gets more annoyed when I run systempreferences Twisted Evil
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