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Old 05-01-2014, 04:54 PM   #1
aNoobInSweden
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Registered: May 2014
Distribution: Debian Wheezy
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Debian Wheezy freezes except mouse, can't do else than hard reboot. And more.


I haven't found the answer to this in many similar threads.
Very often, sometimes many times a day, the Gnome shell just freezes, clock and everything, except the mouse pointer. The only thing I can do is push the reset or power button on my computer.

When I began using Debian, my screen froze/flickered a moment every 10 or so seconds, which I followed a recommendation to disable something to fix. I don't remember where I found that, but if I'm not misremembering I think it was called "watchdog" something. Sounds to me like that could possibly be involved, what do you think? Do you know what I'm talking about?

As my user name suggests, I don't know much about Linux at all, I began about half a year ago, but I read that one can push ctrl+alt+F1 and login and use the command w to see if something is hogging CPU power. The problem is I can't even login with my username (which contains Swedish letter ). I ran the w command in a terminal window to see my username, which is only lowercase and truncated to first 8 letters of my real username. I tried that too in the ctrl+alt+F1 prompt, but it didn't work either. It is not a foreign keybord layout problem, as I have tried writing the password in the login field and it comes out right.


Can anyone answer either of these questions? Please remember that I'm a real Linux N00b. When it comes to commands and stuff, please be precise, as I won't be able to naturally see what something incomplete or slightly wrong should be.

Thanks.

PS: one more thing of interest: When I installed Debian, because of a small screwup when writing passwords etcetera I got the option of having the same password for my username as for root enabled. I tried logging in as root with my password after pushing ctrl+alt+F1, it didn't work either.
 
Old 05-02-2014, 11:04 AM   #2
ondoho
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you're not using an nvidia graphic card, are you?
and nvidia's proprietary driver?
which, i think, has a gui settings panel, where you can disable something with "watchdog" in it?

please don't use any weird characters in your username.

i think you have 2 seperate problems here.
not sure i understood the 2nd.
 
Old 05-03-2014, 04:14 PM   #3
aNoobInSweden
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Distribution: Debian Wheezy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
you're not using an nvidia graphic card, are you?
and nvidia's proprietary driver?
which, i think, has a gui settings panel, where you can disable something with "watchdog" in it?

please don't use any weird characters in your username.

i think you have 2 seperate problems here.
not sure i understood the 2nd.
I know that I have two separate problems. Let's begin with the graphics one. I do have an nvidia graphics card, but I have no idea what driver I am using. I haven't downloaded any separate drivers as far as I know, I think that what I'm using came from the installation DVD:s. I did not use a gui to disable the freeze/flicker causing function, I did it in the terminal. I don't find a gui for the graphics either.

Then to the login one: how do I change my username? Is it even possible, particularily given that I can't login? I can however login to the root terminal and when using sudo in the regular terminal.
 
Old 05-05-2014, 03:27 PM   #4
ondoho
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graphics:

i guess your graphic driver, graphic card and X (Xorg, X11, the bottom layer of your GUI) are not playing together which causes X to freeze. not unheard of, esp. with nvidia.

1) try to remember what this watchdog thing was. or try to find it again on the net.
2) next time the freeze happens, press ctrl+alt+f2 (or f3-f7), log in, type:
Code:
$ cp /var/log/Xorg.0.log $HOME/anoobinsweden
after reboot, post the contents of the file ~/noobinsweden here.

(in case that fails, one of the other log files - i guess it's Xorg.0.log.old - should be posted here! unfortunately i haven't yet found out what the other log files stand for, maybe some more experienced user can shed some light?)

also post the output of
Code:
$ lspci
and
Code:
$ lsmod
you did ask on debian forums? you should. forums.debian.net

change user name:
have you researched this problem yourself? here on the forums or on the web?
i don't have the answer handy because i don't have the problem, but i'm sure that under 5 minutes of research would enable me to do it.

Last edited by ondoho; 05-05-2014 at 03:31 PM.
 
Old 05-13-2014, 02:40 PM   #5
aNoobInSweden
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Registered: May 2014
Distribution: Debian Wheezy
Posts: 14

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
graphics:

i guess your graphic driver, graphic card and X (Xorg, X11, the bottom layer of your GUI) are not playing together which causes X to freeze. not unheard of, esp. with nvidia.

1) try to remember what this watchdog thing was. or try to find it again on the net.
2) next time the freeze happens, press ctrl+alt+f2 (or f3-f7), log in, type:
Code:
$ cp /var/log/Xorg.0.log $HOME/anoobinsweden
after reboot, post the contents of the file ~/noobinsweden here.

(in case that fails, one of the other log files - i guess it's Xorg.0.log.old - should be posted here! unfortunately i haven't yet found out what the other log files stand for, maybe some more experienced user can shed some light?)

also post the output of
Code:
$ lspci
and
Code:
$ lsmod

you did ask on debian forums? you should. forums.debian.net

change user name:
have you researched this problem yourself? here on the forums or on the web?
i don't have the answer handy because i don't have the problem, but i'm sure that under 5 minutes of research would enable me to do it.


I'll try searching a bit more and see if I can find that watchdog thing, I can't login to the ctrl+alt+f2 or other f prompts, I'll have to research the username change first.

No, I didn't even know the Debian Forums site existed, I'll register there and ask, if I can't solve it now.
 
Old 06-11-2014, 04:29 PM   #6
aNoobInSweden
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Distribution: Debian Wheezy
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I haven't had time to search more or register on DF yet. But I came to think of another thing that happens, that might be related: Sometimes I get a popup that says that authentication is required to do something with packages, I don't remember the exact words (which anyway are in Swedish, i'll write it down next time it happens). Since I don't know what it is trying to do, I never enter the password, I just push cancel. Usually the system freezes in the described way, about 1-15 minutes after that popup.
 
Old 06-11-2014, 04:55 PM   #7
ondoho
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linux is asking for authentication whenever something crucial is about to happen to your system, that's perfectly normal.
but it would be really important to know what it is asking for (and ultimately, make a decision about it ;-)
 
Old 06-11-2014, 05:08 PM   #8
jefro
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Did you try using other terminals by ctrl-alt- (I forget) F key or number key???
 
Old 06-12-2014, 10:13 AM   #9
cepheus11
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If the mouse remains responsive (you can move the cursor), the X server is not hung, but the desktop shell is. I had this years ago with plasma shell. Can you "zap" the X server with Ctrl+Alt+BackSpace? This is not enabled by default, but worth a try. It should stop the X server (and the hung gnome-shell with it), restart it, and take you back to a login screen. Does not solve the underlying problem, though, which might be related to graphics hardware and drivers or gnome-shell itself.

Regarding the keyboard problems: You have a regional keyboard layout, and the computer needs to know that layout to correctly process the scancodes from the keyboard, because you have special characters in your username and password. Unfortunately, the configuration for X is different from the configuration for the real terminal (Ctrl+Alt+Fn). I presume you have configured it for X, but not for the terminal. That's why you can't login in the Ctrl+Alt+F1-console.

Consider changing at least the root password to something which contains only 0-9a-xA-X from a graphical console, where you can still enter the old password (Y and Z are swapped on some keyboard layouts). That way you have a rescue console at hand.

Or search for information on "debian localization". I don't know how to change keyboard layout for console no debian, but the interwebs knows
 
Old 06-13-2014, 08:08 AM   #10
neilcpp
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If you are having system regular freezes you probably know that damage can be caused to your hard drive when you cut the power. To avoid the risk of hardware damage, I would simply try first re-installing and if the problem persists try with another Linux distribution.

I had similar problems with Linux and re-installing / switching distributions solved it.
 
Old 06-13-2014, 11:09 AM   #11
rokytnji
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How about a

Code:
 cat /var/log/Xorg.0.log | grep -i "dri" | grep -v -i "driver"
so members can see what video driver is being used with

Code:
uname -a
kernel. If you want to get out of X

Alt+PrintScreen+k will drop you out of X.

Then you can shut down with

Code:
sudo shutdown -h now
 
Old 06-21-2014, 04:04 PM   #12
aNoobInSweden
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Distribution: Debian Wheezy
Posts: 14

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@ondoho: That's my reasoning too, and as it happens all of a sudden and doesn't explain much, I press "cancel".

@jefro: Yes, I wrote about that in the thread start post.

@cepheus11: I tried ctrl+alt+bksp right now and nothing happened. I have a regional keyboard layout, but the terminal registers the keypresses correctly. In the username, becomes , and all regular letters and number comes out right too. The password contains no Swedish letters, but slashes, ampersands etc. Because of clumsiness when installing, the option of using the first user as root (or however it works) was enabled. I think I have solved this now, but now I have another problem that Iĺl describe soon.

@neilcpp: It was a long time ago that cutting power could physically damage harddrives. Since long before the 1GB mark, they use capacitors, springs or inertia from the disks to retract the head(s) to the landing zone in case of a power loss. However it can corrupt files or entire file systems. I have a backup, and the drive in question is so old and small it's worth nothing anyway. I have barely found out all the settings I need for this distribution (for privacy, useability etc) so I don't want to reinstall anything unless it becomes absolutely necessary.

@rokytnji:
[ 147.915] (II) LoadModule: "dri"
[ 147.915] (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/libdri.so
[ 147.942] (II) Module dri: vendor="X.Org Foundation"
[ 147.942] (II) Loading extension XFree86-DRI
[ 147.942] (II) LoadModule: "dri2"
[ 147.942] (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/libdri2.so
[ 147.943] (II) Module dri2: vendor="X.Org Foundation"
[ 147.943] (II) Loading extension DRI2
[ 148.021] drmOpenDevice: node name is /dev/dri/card0
[ 148.021] drmOpenDevice: node name is /dev/dri/card0
[ 148.030] (II) Loading sub module "dri"
[ 148.030] (II) LoadModule: "dri"
[ 148.030] (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/libdri.so
[ 148.030] (II) Module dri: vendor="X.Org Foundation"
[ 148.030] (II) NOUVEAU(0): Loaded DRI module
[ 148.030] drmOpenDevice: node name is /dev/dri/card0
[ 148.031] drmOpenDevice: node name is /dev/dri/card0
[ 148.031] drmOpenDevice: node name is /dev/dri/card0
[ 148.364] (II) NOUVEAU(0): [DRI2] Setup complete
[ 149.404] (II) GLX: Initialized DRI2 GL provider for screen 0



Linux debian 3.2.0-4-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.2.46-1+deb7u1 x86_64 GNU/Linux


I'll try alt+print screen+k if I can't switch console (see below) the next time it happens.




ONE PROBLEM SOLVED! When I used the terminal now, I noticed that for some reason the username is not the same as in the GUI. I tried that username in the console and GOT IN. I may have had to enter two different ones when installing for some reason, I don't remember. As said, I'm a N00B.



ONE NEW PROBLEM! Since I replaced my screen, the hang makes it impossible to get to the terminal by pushing for example ctrl+alt+f1.
ANOTHER NEW PROBLEM! Or more of an annoyance really, since I replaced the screen, the text in menus and popups (including the one mentioned before) usually only shows about half of the letters.

I become more and more convinced that all of this is due to my graphics card. Maybe I should change it, I have another one laying around. An ATI/AMD.
 
Old 06-24-2014, 09:29 PM   #13
selfprogrammed
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I remember seeing that the kernel options for Watchdog timer mentioning that it interacts badly with some hardware and can cause an unstable system. It is recommended that the kernel support for Watchdog timer remain disabled unless you have hardware that is known to work with it. It cannot find right now where I saw that.
Every 10 seconds is about right for a watchdog panic loop.

If you cannot get cntl-alt-f1 to work, it is not due to the shell hanging.
You must be precise if you mean after cntl-alt-f1, you get the login prompt but cannot log in.
That would indicate that login is being prevented by running. That is a hung kernel (spin lock) or a high priority process hog. An I/O device hang is suspect.

Use a CDROM install disk if you have to, but run Linux on that hardware in Console mode only for a while to see if any of the same problems are evident. You can also look at /proc to see what kernel devices are running, and look at /var/log/syslog and /var/log/dmesg for any error messages that look famililar.
You can grep logs in /var/log for watchdog messages.

>> grep -i watchdog /var/log/syslog

>> tail /var/log/syslog

>> more /var/log/dmesg

This will sort kernel problems like a watchdog hardware problem, from X-driver having problems with nVidia. To switch to a console the nVidia X-video-driver must disconnect and let the kernel video driver have the video card. The kernel video driver hardly has problems because it uses the most generic video card interface.

The proprietary X-video-driver for nVidia driver is updated often.
If the noveau nVidia driver and another nVidia driver are installed at the same time there will be problems. Installation of the proprietary nVidia driver will check for this and warn you. Most problem nVidia cards work better with the proprietary nVidia driver from the nVidia web site. The Open source driver is getting better but does not yet got all the secrets of driving every card well.
I found it was possible to choose two nVidia drivers within the X-drivers and it does not work well. Using CDROM install Linux, remove all X-video-drivers and install only one.
If it is not noveau, then noveau must be blacklisted.

Debugging kernel lockup: http://www.av8n.com/computer/htm/kernel-lockup.htm

Last edited by selfprogrammed; 06-24-2014 at 09:52 PM.
 
Old 07-04-2014, 04:16 PM   #14
aNoobInSweden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by selfprogrammed View Post
I remember seeing that the kernel options for Watchdog timer mentioning that it interacts badly with some hardware and can cause an unstable system. It is recommended that the kernel support for Watchdog timer remain disabled unless you have hardware that is known to work with it. It cannot find right now where I saw that.
Every 10 seconds is about right for a watchdog panic loop.
It wasn't unstable then, as far as I know. But the watchdog is for correcting instability, isn't it? How can I see if it is on or off, and turn it on if it is off? I can at least try to see if it corrects the problem, I mean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by selfprogrammed View Post
If you cannot get cntl-alt-f1 to work, it is not due to the shell hanging.
You must be precise if you mean after cntl-alt-f1, you get the login prompt but cannot log in.
That would indicate that login is being prevented by running. That is a hung kernel (spin lock) or a high priority process hog. An I/O device hang is suspect.
Sorry. No, since I replaced the monitor it (only sometimes, I noted last time) doesn't happen anything at all when i push ctrl+alt+f*. It just stays hung, a picture of what was happening right when it happened, with only the mouse pointer working. I'll try ctrl+prtscr+K next time. The login problem is solved, it was my bad, it seems like I have both a user name and a user nickname somehow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by selfprogrammed View Post
Use a CDROM install disk if you have to, but run Linux on that hardware in Console mode only for a while to see if any of the same problems are evident. You can also look at /proc to see what kernel devices are running, and look at /var/log/syslog and /var/log/dmesg for any error messages that look famililar.
You can grep logs in /var/log for watchdog messages.

>> grep -i watchdog /var/log/syslog

>> tail /var/log/syslog

>> more /var/log/dmesg
I don't see why I would need an install disc, I think it'll work anyway, but how do i "look at /proc" and the others? Grep is some kind of "copy to file" function, isn't it? I have no idea what "tail" or "more" are for. Is there some kind of manual somewhere, where I can find such stuff out instead of bothering you and also waiting for answers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by selfprogrammed View Post

This will sort kernel problems like a watchdog hardware problem, from X-driver having problems with nVidia. To switch to a console the nVidia X-video-driver must disconnect and let the kernel video driver have the video card. The kernel video driver hardly has problems because it uses the most generic video card interface.

The proprietary X-video-driver for nVidia driver is updated often.
If the noveau nVidia driver and another nVidia driver are installed at the same time there will be problems. Installation of the proprietary nVidia driver will check for this and warn you. Most problem nVidia cards work better with the proprietary nVidia driver from the nVidia web site. The Open source driver is getting better but does not yet got all the secrets of driving every card well.
I found it was possible to choose two nVidia drivers within the X-drivers and it does not work well. Using CDROM install Linux, remove all X-video-drivers and install only one.
If it is not noveau, then noveau must be blacklisted.

Debugging kernel lockup: http://www.av8n.com/computer/htm/kernel-lockup.htm
Really? Connecting another computer via serial port just for checking this? Sounds like a LOT of work digging out and installing another computer just for that.

I could attempt the recompile kernel thing, if I knew how. Also, a fresh backup before that is best, I suppose. But I'll wait with it, I'll see if I get other answers first.

Thanks.
 
Old 07-05-2014, 05:18 PM   #15
selfprogrammed
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The install disk is important because that is a packaged known working Linux system.
Running a CDROM Linux will differentiate between hardware problems and software problems.
It also bypasses your settings and drivers. If the CDROM Linux does not have such problems, it indicates an install mess-up.

With Slackware you can also run the entire Linux off a CDROM boot. This is highly useful when the disk installed system gets messed up. You can investigate hardware problems and fix software settings and even change passwords.

Watchdog:
Just because the watchdog is meant to force recovery of a hung system, does not mean it is not immune from causing a few itself. The usual I/O problem is accessing a hardware device in a way that hangs the bus, or the clock stops working, or some other weird unexpected behavior of the motherboard. This is usually caused by shortcuts taken on the motherboard. They warn the BIOS writers how it must be used, but rarely tell anyone else. I know no more about which boards or exactly how.

The watchdog timer kernel code is enabled by compiling a custom kernel and selecting one of the watchdog timer drivers. Cannot tell you if your distribution enabled them in your canned Linux kernel or not.
You can install the kernel sources (find your distribution package called kernel-source) and then can look at the kernel settings.
>>> cd /usr/src/linux
>>> make menuconfig
There is documentation section that covers some of the kernel hardware problems.
You actually have to do a "make install" to actually install a new kernel, and then do even more to make the boot use it. You should not have to make a custom kernel, unless you find you have one of the weird motherboards that does not work well with the kernel distribution
you are using. It may be easier to try a different Linux distribution than try to custom compile a kernel with such little experience.
For info on watchdog timers, read /usr/src/linux/Documentation/watchdog/*.txt.

CNTL-ALT-F1:
Sounds like you are pressing the keys right, and that X-windows is starting the operation.
I could be that the x-driver is having problems when asked to release control of the video card. This could be the wrong driver, or some busted I/O interface that the driver is waiting on.

GREP searches all the files mentioned for the string mentioned.
>> grep -i watchdog /var/log/syslog
This will search the /var/log/syslog for any line that has "watchdog". The "-i" means case insensitive, so it will find "Watchdog" too.
It will print out any such lines that it finds.


The manual pages are accessed by "man" and "info".
>> man grep
>> man less
>> man more
>> man tail
>> man head

If you don't want to boot Linux computer, all the man pages are on the internet too.

>> man -k file
Any Man pages that are about "file".

>> man man
The man page about the man command.

>> info
Just try it, it is self informative.

No, that was not a suggestion to connect two computers together. Not unless you intend to debug kernel lockups, like someone creating a device driver would. They covered several issues that I did not have to repeat here, with more links to other information.

So when you CNTL-ALT-F1 and it hangs, does it respond to "Num Lock" or not ??
Does CNTL-ALT-delete still work or not ??


Saw this line in your xorg log.
[ 148.030] (II) NOUVEAU(0): Loaded DRI module

You CANNOT have nouveau loaded with any other video card driver. This is a known conflict.
If you use any other video driver, you MUST blacklist NOUVEAU.
If you use the Xorg nv driver, you MUST blacklist NOUVEAU to stop it from loading automatically.
Just search for NOUVEAU for tons of discussion on this issue.

Last edited by selfprogrammed; 07-05-2014 at 05:24 PM.
 
  


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