Port update hosed entire system

Polytropon freebsd at edvax.de
Tue Oct 2 07:16:52 UTC 2012

On Tue, 2 Oct 2012 06:20:45 -0400, Rod Person wrote:
> It would never have occured to me that updating a port that
> has to do with audio and video containers would totally leave me unable
> to login into my system or issue and shell commands without getting
> a segmentation fault.

I find it very hard to see a correlation here. Coincidence? Yes,
but I cannot imagine a way a port can dmage the system in that
way so not even shell commands keep working...

> I did discover that my / file system had run out of space -131MB.

That could show that some part of important content on / has
not been written yet - it's still held in "write buffers"
pending. So you could first check what takes up space in /
that is not required to be there, and remove it, then the
"write buffers" will be written properly. A "sync" command
could do this on request.

Check with "df -h" for _no_ negative values before rebooting
the system into SUM. I'm not sure if the "write buffers" can
survive a shutdown.

> I'm still able to issue sudo, so using sudo rm -r I was able to free up
> 25GB...but still, /bin/sh, ls, clear all seg fault and su doesn't work
> and switching consoles doesn't let me log in.

That sounds that somehow calling programs (executing / forking)
is not working properly anymore. As this is one of the most
fundamental mechanisms of the systems, it's hard to believe
that this can be triggered through a port update...

> I maybe be left with attempting a single user boot, but I'm still not
> that comfortable at attempting such as I don't want to have a totally
> useless box.

You'd have to find out the exact problem first, maybe the
solution is simple. However, how is a ports update supposed
to change stuff on /? I assume you have a partitioned system
with functional separation, e. g. /, /var, /tmp and /usr
(where /usr/local and maybe /usr/home are located). When
updating a port, data in /var/db, /usr/ports and /usr/local
will be dealt with. Nothing of that should happen on /, or
even touch system shells...

I assume you have no script of what happened during the
port's upgrade? Using "script" (see "man script" for details)
is a convenient solution if you want to run upgrades while
not being able to monitor them constantly.

On Tue, 2 Oct 2012 06:12:27 -0400, Rod Person wrote:
> This is the default shell. I didn't try that yet, because I don't want
> to be left with no way to login at all if something is really messed up.

You have a stand-alone emergency shell in /rescue/sh (which is
on the / partition, so it can even be started in single-user
mode with / mounted read-only).

> Since I could not even switch to a no console (ctrl+alt+f2...) and
> login I'm not really wanting to reboot at this point.

>From within X, you need Ctrl+Alt+PF2; from text mode, only Alt+PF2
is needed (even though I checked... Ctrl+Alt+ also works in text
mode). So you can't even switch VTs? Interesting, makes the problem
much more strange...

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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