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Old 06-09-2009, 05:55 AM   #1
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Acer One Boot problem. How to investigate?

Just toasted my Acer One which I think happened after a power fail. The machine boots without any error messages and show the desktop ok but:

- Connection Manager does not find any wireless networks.
- Terminal window opens but hangs without showing a command prompt.
- Thunar show the file system ok but the shortcuts in the left panel have vanished (Documents, Downloads etc).

I think that one or more processes are failing to start. Hal does not seem to be running and there are no gtty processes. Before rebuilding Linux I would like to do some investigation. How can I find out which processes have failed to start?. Is there any way of switching on logging (nothing in /var/boot.log). It seems rather fragile that a power fail can toast your OS?
Any help would be much appreciated.
Old 06-14-2009, 08:58 AM   #2
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For the kernel and the majority of system services syslog is the central logging facilitator (see /etc/syslog.conf for log destinations), some services may be configured to use their own logfiles, X11/Xorg may log to /var/log/X.*.$displaynumber.log depending on the server "-audit" setting and user applications may log to file or not or just dump info on stdout/stderr (which may or may not be caught by a say ~/.xsession-errors.* log). System logging usually ends up in /var/log. But in devices where logging was considered superfluous and any disk I/O has a severe impact wrt draining available power, logging may be reduced strongly by 0) logging to temporary storage like say /dev/shm or 1) not logging at all.

So you will need to open up a terminal window (maybe first read Getting Root Terminal with Acer One Netbook? and also note Farslayers sig containing more Acer One information) and su to root. User preferences can be considered expendable as they can be reconfigured easily so the first thing would be to look at /etc/syslog.conf. If things are commented out then it would be easy to enable, restart syslog and get logging. Since you experienced a power failure before it should be most practical to have the device on net power and not battery. In some cases restarting services may yield information, else a reboot could show more. Unfortunately if logging wasn't enabled before or logfiles weren't saved then there is no way to retrieve information from the time of the incident.

If su'ing to root doesn't work then rebooting the machine into runlevel 1 (hoping that gets you root access) or booting a Live CD or from an USB stick (though I doubt the device has a CDROM drive anyway or the BIOS would allow to boot from an external CDROM drive) might work. If that doesn't work either then you may be tempted to install a full distribution on it instead of using the system rescue CD.
Old 06-15-2009, 10:33 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info. I got it going eventually. I could not open a terminal as you suggested despite trying several different methods. The Advanced Menu is enabled but the Terminal app just hangs.

I made a Fedora 11 Live image on a USB stick. There is a 'Liveusb Creator' utility to do it which you can find here

Once up and running in Fedora I did

fsck /dev/sda1

Just to make sure the filesystem is ok. The filesystem check returned errors. Then mount the hd with

mkdir /mnt/sda1
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/sda1

I could see the Linpus filesystem so I edited /etc/syslog.conf as you suggested to switch on the syslog.

Reboot to Linpus and everything works!

I have left syslog running as I suspect there may be some underlying problem which may even be related to the WiFi and HAL problems discussed elsewhere in this forum. Thanks again for the info.


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