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Ubuntu, 11.04 (fully updated)

My main PC seem to have caught galloping bit-rot.

It's been working perfectly for two months but, in the last week or so it's started spontaneously hanging. I was just filing some emails in gmail (via Chrome browser - v13.0.782.218) and the whole system just hung; not even mouse movement. I haven't added any hardware recently. the hardware is only a couple of months old and I'm not running anything particularly weird except (maybe) VirtualBox (non OSE version).

There's nothing I can see in the logs (kern.log and syslog - excerpts below) and I can't find anything on the Ubuntu bug list which might affect me.

Any ideas about where I can look trace-wise and/or if some of the latest updates have caused any grief? :(


kern.log (excerpt)

Aug 30 13:17:45 Silver-Streak2 kernel: [ 217.244605] wlan0: no IPv6 routers present

Aug 30 13:23:26 Silver-Streak2 kernel: [ 547.393520] exe (2370): /proc/2370/oom_adj is deprecated, please use /proc/2370/oom_score_adj instead.

Aug 30 21:16:37 Silver-Streak2 kernel: [28857.348446] warning: `VirtualBox' uses 32-bit capabilities (legacy support in use)

/* crashed here */ (at 10:24)

Aug 31 10:25:58 Silver-Streak2 kernel: imklog 4.6.4, log source = /proc/kmsg started.

Aug 31 10:25:58 Silver-Streak2 kernel: [ 0.000000] Initializing cgroup subsys cpuset

Aug 31 10:25:58 Silver-Streak2 kernel: [ 0.000000] Initializing cgroup subsys cpu



syslog (excerpt)

Aug 31 09:17:01 Silver-Streak2 CRON[5384]: (root) CMD ( cd / && run-parts --report /etc/cron.hourly)

Aug 31 10:17:01 Silver-Streak2 CRON[5538]: (root) CMD ( cd / && run-parts --report /etc/cron.hourly)

/* crashed here */ (at 10:24)

Aug 31 10:25:58 Silver-Streak2 kernel: imklog 4.6.4, log source = /proc/kmsg started.

Aug 31 10:25:58 Silver-Streak2 rsyslogd: [origin software="rsyslogd" swVersion="4.6.4" x-pid="426" x-info="http://www.rsyslog.com"] (re)start

Aug 31 10:25:58 Silver-Streak2 rsyslogd: rsyslogd's groupid changed to 103

Aug 31 10:25:58 Silver-Streak2 rsyslogd: rsyslogd's userid changed to 101



  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    I cannot find any hints in your logs that can point to the cause, except for possible memory issues due to the amount of memory that web browsers consume. Have you attempted to run memtest from the installation disk to test your RAM and see if it is bad?
  • Hi,
    Apologies for the delay in replying. The site outage precluded any reply.

    Yes, I've checked the RAM and it's (allegedly) fine. The problem is fairly sporadic but always seems to happen around 13:00 which, in South Africa, usually means it's pretty hot. However, I've checked the CPU and board temperature and, if the values reported are correct, they're well within the operating limits.

    I doubt if it's running out of memory, the unit has 16GB on board on I don't think its ever gone higher than 10GB in use even when I'm running 2 or 3 VMs.

    It may be hardware but, if so, it's a weird problem. The only thing I can think of is that the board or one of the RAM chips has a microscopic crack which opens up when the system warms up. What is VERY odd is that, when it hangs, the mouse just stops moving and whatever was on the screen just prior to the crash remains there. I even tried to ssh into the unit after it had crashed to see if there was still any life behind the frozen display. Nothin'!

    I think I'll just unplug everything inside and out and stick it back in again. Might just be a loose SATA cable or an intermittent short somewhere.

    The reason I reported it is because I've NEVER seen a Linux installation do anything like this. Although I've had crashes in the past they've usually been picked up by the kernel and reported. Never had a straight 'freeze' like this.

    But thanks anyway.

  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    I also want to ask if you had checked your installation disk's md5sum prior to installing the system. If the disk or disk image was corrupt that might explain such a weird issue.
  • Hi again,
    I must confess I didn't check the MD5 and I seem to have lost the disk I cut the ISO to. That said, I'd be surprised if it was a corruption of the installation as it worked perfectly for about 2 months without a problem. Still, I've seen weirder things so it's certainly possible.

    I've got a bit too much work on at the moment but, when I've got a spare hour or two, I'll scrape the box and re-install it. If that doesn't rectify it, I'll swap out the RAM, motherboard etc. until the issue is resolved.

    All that aside, I'm starting to suspect it's something to do with the sound module or driver. I use Banshee and I noticed the other day that the latter is a bit erratic (spontaneously exits with no error condition on a fairly regular basis). So it may be a prob with the sound hardware or driver.

    I'll keep plugging away though.


  • RSims
    RSims Posts: 146
    Ubuntu 11.10 comes out in less then an hour, good time to give it a try.
  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    I recommended checking the install disk because I have had similar problems in the past in which I went all of the way down to the source code to find the cause before going to the BDFL of Slackware for help, he was quick to recommend checking the install disk which in both cases were the cause of my issues.

    As for your issue with the sound, if may just be a fault with pulse-audio. Pulse audio has been in beta for a long time and was finally released as stable on 9-27-11, so it is likely that the installed version is a beta that did not fit the expectations of the true developers.

    However since the latest ubuntu is being released, it should have the updated version of pulse and other necessary application, so it might be a good idea to try it out. Just make sure to check the md5sum of the downloaded ISO and verify the disk when you burn it to make sure there is no corruption.
  • Wilco,
    I'll give it a go.

    Thanks for the input.
  • Upgraded to 11.10 and instantly regretted it. The new interface (Called 'Unity' allegedly - which could prove to be the biggest oxymoron of the year) is obviously designed with mobile phone users in mind.

    To cut a long story short, I scraped the drive and installed Linux Mint. Everything's running perfectly again.

    Shame about Ubuntu though. Used it since it first came out; loved it to bits as desktop platform for development but, sadly, it seems to have gone for eye-candy in preference to functionality.
  • RSims
    RSims Posts: 146
    They introduce Unity as the default gui in 11.04, if you prefer a different gui you can simply install it and use that instead. I am currently using Kubuntu (Ubuntu + KDE) myself.

    in the terminal you type

    sudo apt-get install KDE


    sudo apt-get install gnome3(Might just be gnome, not sure)

    or if you like the lightweight lxde you could do it this way for that:

    sudo apt-get install lxde

  • RSims
    RSims Posts: 146
    Also you could try installing Kubuntu with KDE pre loaded if you would like, www.Kubuntu.org

    Give it a try you just might end up liking it more then Linux Mint.
  • Sure, I'll give it a go.

    Just liked the old faithful Gnome IF.
  • RSims
    RSims Posts: 146
    edited October 2011
    I did as well and I tried gnome 3 and don't personally like it. Gnome 3 and Unity are both pretty similar in my opinion. However KDE is a whole different beast and worth giving it a good long test.

    Unity I don't mind although I hated it like you do in the beginning, but KDE is just a lot more productive of an environment in my opinion and just as nice if not nicer to look at.
  • RSims
    RSims Posts: 146
    Let me know what you think or if you have any questions once you have installed Kubuntu, I think you will be impressed.
  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    I know that Ubuntu 11.04 has a session option to use Gnome-legacy which is basically gnome2, if you dislike the new interface so much but do not want to loose the tools you can use the alternate GUI which is already installed.
  • Mint seems to be working satisfactorily but, when I next install, I'll probably go for KDE installation. I've been meaning to cut over for ages but you know how it is (putting things like that off). I'm just a bit too busy at the moment to go through all the pain of getting all my tools and what-nots to work again.

    Thanks for all the assistance though.
  • RSims
    RSims Posts: 146
    No problem glad to help, when you do end up trying Kubuntu, please let me know what you think of it.


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