9.0 release hang in quiescent X

Gary Aitken freebsd at dreamchaser.org
Sun Aug 19 20:25:24 UTC 2012

On 08/19/12 10:11, Ian Smith wrote:
> In freebsd-questions Digest, Vol 428, Issue 7, Message: 4
> On Fri, 17 Aug 2012 13:51:07 -0600 Gary Aitken <freebsd at dreamchaser.org> wrote:
>   > On 08/16/12 00:04, Matthew Seaman wrote:
>   > > On 16/08/2012 05:45, Gary Aitken wrote:
>   > ...
>   > >> Running 9.0 release on an amd 64 box, standard kernel, 16GB, SSD (/,
>   > >> /usr, /var, /tmp) + HDDs, visiontek 900331 graphics card (ati radeon
>   > >> hd5550).
>   > >>
>   > >> As long as I am using the system, things seem to be fine.  However,
>   > >> when I leave the system idle for an extended period of time (e.g.
>   > >> overnight, out for the day, etc.), it often refuses to return from
>   > >> whatever state it is in.  The screen is blank and in standby for
>   > >> power saving, and <ctl><alt> Fn won't get me a console prompt.  The
>   > >> only way I know to recover is to power off and reboot.
>   > ...
>   > >> Can someone suggest a good way to proceed to figure out what's going
>   > >> on?
>   > >
>   > > Can you get network access to the machine when it gets into this state?
>   >
>   > I enabled remote logins and when the system hangs, I can neither log
>   > in nor ping it.  I can do both of those prior to a hang.
> Hi Gary.  Please wrap text less than 80 columns on freebsd lists; I was
> going to reply to a later message but it had got too messy.  Turned out
> this one is more useful anyway, so I've taken the liberty ..

will do.  Wasn't sure what was considered the right thing to do, 
as I regularly get messages which when quoted run out as single lines.

>   > > As to working out what the underlying cause of the problem is: that's
>   > > harder.  I'd try experimenting with the power saving settings for your
>   > > graphics display.  If you can turn them off as a test, and the machine
>   > > then survives for an extended period of idleness, you'll have gone a
>   > > long way towards isolating the problem.
> Have you yet tried turning off any and all power saving settings, until
> your monitor quits blanking/suspending, and the machine keeps running?

Doing that test now.

> The monitor isn't blanking by itself, BIOS suspend & power off settings
> for screen, disk etc shouldn't affect a running FreeBSD system (but turn
> them off anyway!) - so we're left with something you've set yourself,
> presumably via your (which?) window manager, which then has Xorg, using
> your hardware's particular driver, do the dirty work on the hardware.

I'm currently using xfce4.

> Just that it's not clear you've yet isolated the main suspect.  There's
> buggy hardware, buggy ACPI/BIOS implementations, buggy video drivers; it
> makes sense to rule out another hardware problem by leaving video on.
> Something you set is doing it :)  If running say KDE, suspects would
> include screen'savers' (as many have mentioned), window manager power
> settings (setting/peripherals/display/powercontrol on kde3), and lastly
> as Warren mentioned, settings for Xorg itself, in xorg.conf (if any).

It appears the screen blanking is a result of xorg's default 10 min BlankTime default, which I've turned off.

I found this reference to possible issues with memory hole remapping,
which I will also check into:


That actually seems more likely to be the problem

Many thanks for your explanations


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