Hi - identifying cause of crash - a how to please

David Southwell david at vizion2000.net
Tue Mar 2 15:39:49 UTC 2010

> David Southwell wrote:
> > Hi
> >
> > I have a specific situation which causes a system crash on freebsd 7.2 p3
> > amd64 on intel quad core.  Can someone teach me how to trace the cause?
> >
> > The crash is repeatable in the following circumstances:
> >
> >
> > (a) User logs in
> > (b) % startx
> > (c) kde4 loads and works the session
> > (d) user logs out x session terminates.
> > (e) user attempts to start a new x session with:
> > (f) % startx
> > (g) system crashes immediately
> >
> > System requires rebooting to single user mode. Run fsck -y and then go
> > multiuser. Whereupon the cycle can be repeated.
> >
> >
> > This event did not occur until kde was upgraded to kde 4.3.5.
> >
> > The video card is a winfast PX7800GT providing openGL with dual DVI. The
> > crash problem was not present before upgrading to 3.4.5 so whilst not
> > ruling out the card I am not assuming it is the video card.
> >
> > It would be helpful if the procedure could be identified clearly. I will
> > post the results available on the web so someone who knows how to
> > interpret them could take a look.
> >
> > Finally should I be asking this question on another maillist?
> This is a good place to start, and if someone knows a better spot it will
> probably be indicated. I can't give you an in depth response, but maybe
> something to start with. The Kernel Debugging section of the Developer's
> Handbook may serve as an introduction to a few basics:
> http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/developers-handbook/
> You can also start right away by examining the .xsession-errors file you
> will find in the users home directory. Also, in /var/log look for the
> Xorg.0.log and Xorg.0.log.old. After restarting from a crash, if you startx
> the first one will only contain info on that startup; the second one (.old)
> may contain some info on what happened at the time of the previous crash,
>  if it is indeed the X server crashing. Sometimes any errors to stdout may
>  appear in /var/log/messages.
> Sometimes there may be informative error messages present which can be
> Googled, and other times nothing useful. The same with the .xsession-errors
> file - it usually contains information relevant to the applications which
> were running on top of X.
> If you are running the nvidia driver and see some evidence that it may be
> responsible for the crash, you could try substituting the nv driver as a
> test. This might help isolate the problem to the nvidia driver. But where
>  to go from here is a good question. Sometimes if there is some problem wrt
>  the nvidia driver after some kind of upgrade doing a make, make deinstall,
>  and make reinstall of the nvidia driver port occasionally fixes something,
>  but this is a long shot.
> Nvidia also has a web forum you might hunt around in. Also, if you are
>  doing startx to start KDE with a .xinitrc file in the users home dir (with
>  startkde in here), try it without so the default TWM window manager comes
>  up instead of KDE. Then do the restart test and see if it crashes.  This
>  is a good way to separate the problem from being X related and/or KDE
>  related.
> -Mike
Thanks mike
Will give all that a go.

Incidentally found no.xsession-errors in user's directory.

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