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I run an ubuntu FTP server in the company I work for, and we recently migrated over 5,000 customers to it. I created a jailed user / home folder for each customer and everything was running smoothly until one of the packages I installed required a system restart... and then all hell broke loose.

The gui now freezes on startup before the login screen. I am able to remote-SSH into the server via putty, and thus have tried hiding the users through the command:

sudo gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type Boolean --set /apps/gdm/simple-greeter/disable_user_list True

Then restarted the server again, but to no avail.

We are now 2 days behind with customer records, and I am in dire need of help! My life (and job) depend on a solution to this serious issue...

p.s. -- I have already thought about just booting up into bash, however my boss tells me that I need to have the GUI available in the event that he wants to go into the server to make any changes manually, so sadly a bash-boot is not an option.


Additional Information:

From: cat /var/log/apt/history.log

Start-Date: 2011-05-16  15:51:35
Install: sysinfo (0.7-3ubuntu1)
End-Date: 2011-05-16  15:51:41

Start-Date: 2011-05-16  15:52:20
Remove: sysinfo (0.7-3ubuntu1)
End-Date: 2011-05-16  15:52:22

Start-Date: 2011-05-18  07:51:42
Upgrade: apturl-common (0.4.1ubuntu4, 0.4.1ubuntu4.1), apturl (0.4.1ubuntu4, 0.4.1ubuntu4.1)
End-Date: 2011-05-18  07:51:53

Start-Date: 2011-05-18  10:19:47
Install: linux-headers-2.6.32-31 (2.6.32-31.61), linux-headers-2.6.32-31-generic (2.6.32-31.61), linux-image-2.6.32-31-generic (2.6.32-31.61)
Upgrade: linux-headers-generic (2.6.32.30.36, 2.6.32.31.37), eclipse-rcp (3.5.2-2ubuntu4.2, 3.5.2-2ubuntu4.3), linux-image-generic (2.6.32.30.36, 2.6.32.31.37), apt-transport-https (0.7.25.3ubuntu9.3, 0.7.25.3ubuntu9.4), eclipse-platform-data (3.5.2-2ubuntu4.2, 3.5.2-2ubuntu4.3), apt-utils (0.7.25.3ubuntu9.3, 0.7.25.3ubuntu9.4), apt (0.7.25.3ubuntu9.3, 0.7.25.3ubuntu9.4), libequinox-osgi-java (3.5.2-2ubuntu4.2, 3.5.2-2ubuntu4.3), gdm (2.30.2.is.2.30.0-0ubuntu5.1, 2.30.2.is.2.30.0-0ubuntu5.2), xdg-utils (1.0.2-6.1ubuntu3, 1.0.2-6.1ubuntu3.1), eclipse-platform (3.5.2-2ubuntu4.2, 3.5.2-2ubuntu4.3), linux-generic (2.6.32.30.36, 2.6.32.31.37)

OS Type:

Linux FTP 2.6.32-31-generic #61-Ubuntu SMP Fri Apr 8 18:24:35 UTC 2011 i686 GNU/Linux

Strange Error:

Buffer I/O error on device sdb, logical block 96
ata4.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x0
ata4.00: BMDMA stat 0x25
ata4.00: failed comand: READ DMA
ata4.00: cmd c8/00:08:00:03:00/00:00:00:00:00/e0 tag 0 dma 4096 in res 51/40:08:08:03:00/00:00:00:00:00/e0 Emask 0x9 (media error)
ata4.00: status: { DRDY ERR }
ata4.00: error: { UNC }
ata4.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x0
ata4.00: BMDMA stat 0x25
ata4.00: failed comand: READ DMA
ata4.00: cmd c8/00:08:00:03:00/00:00:00:00:00/e0 tag 0 dma 4096 in res 51/40:08:08:03:00/00:00:00:00:00/e0 Emask 0x9 (media error)
ata4.00: status: { DRDY ERR }
ata4.00: error: { UNC }
ata4.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x0
ata4.00: BMDMA stat 0x25
ata4.00: failed comand: READ DMA
ata4.00: cmd c8/00:08:00:03:00/00:00:00:00:00/e0 tag 0 dma 4096 in res 51/40:08:08:03:00/00:00:00:00:00/e0 Emask 0x9 (media error)
ata4.00: status: { DRDY ERR }
ata4.00: error: { UNC }
ata4.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x0
ata4.00: BMDMA stat 0x25
ata4.00: failed comand: READ DMA
ata4.00: cmd c8/00:08:00:03:00/00:00:00:00:00/e0 tag 0 dma 4096 in res 51/40:08:08:03:00/00:00:00:00:00/e0 Emask 0x9 (media error)
ata4.00: status: { DRDY ERR }
ata4.00: error: { UNC }
ata4.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x0
ata4.00: BMDMA stat 0x25
ata4.00: failed comand: READ DMA
ata4.00: cmd c8/00:08:00:03:00/00:00:00:00:00/e0 tag 0 dma 4096 in res 51/40:08:08:03:00/00:00:00:00:00/e0 Emask 0x9 (media error)
ata4.00: status: { DRDY ERR }
ata4.00: error: { UNC }
ata4.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x0
ata4.00: BMDMA stat 0x25
ata4.00: failed comand: READ DMA
ata4.00: cmd c8/00:08:00:03:00/00:00:00:00:00/e0 tag 0 dma 4096 in res 51/40:08:08:03:00/00:00:00:00:00/e0 Emask 0x9 (media error)
ata4.00: status: { DRDY ERR }
ata4.00: error: { UNC }
end_request: I/O error, dev sdb, sector 784
share|improve this question
    
you don't mention it, but i'm sure you have tried removing the offending package? –  lurscher May 18 '11 at 18:42
    
also, its not clear from your post what is that you are experiencing (syslog? /var/log/X.0.log? offending package?), also, i don't know what 'hiding the users' actually mean –  lurscher May 18 '11 at 18:44
    
Can you post the relevant lines from /var/log/apt/history.log? @lurscher: the "hide users" option should possibly hide usernames at the login screen, which could otherwise selected as login. –  Lekensteyn May 18 '11 at 18:53
    
What gui have you installed? What version of ubuntu? What package was installed? Have you tried booting with recovery mode and using fail-safe graphics? –  fossfreedom May 18 '11 at 18:53
    
@lurscher - I am not sure which package it was, I did an apt-get upgrade –  Jason May 18 '11 at 18:57
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1 Answer

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Wow thats a new one on me. I'm not really sure that the GUI actually gets you anything that you can't get with a text mode login (contrary to popular belief, you don't need to learn vi. Nano is perfectly easy to use). So, I'd suggest removing the GUI from a server as a simple fix. However this presents an interesting problem none-the-less.

1) You should report this as a bug in gdm. Its an edge-case, but one that GDM should handle well. I can imagine a university shared workstation where a system has 10,000 possible users.. gdm should just not display a chooser. Run 'ubuntu-bug gdm' to open the bug report.

2) Edit /etc/gdm/gdm.schemas and change

<schema>
  <key>greeter/IncludeAll</key>
  <signature>b</signature>
  <default>true</default>
</schema>

To

<schema>
  <key>greeter/IncludeAll</key>
  <signature>b</signature>
  <default>false</default>
</schema>

And then if you still want a chooser for your local users

<schema>
  <key>greeter/Include</key>
  <signature>s</signature>
  <default></default>
</schema>

To

<schema>
  <key>greeter/Include</key>
  <signature>s</signature>
  <default>user1,user2,user3</default>
</schema>
share|improve this answer
1  
Well well! looks like this did the trick! It seems that the command I ran at first never changed the schema... I changed the schema in vi, then rebooted the machine and ran it normally... within 5 seconds the login prompt popped up. Thanks again SpamapS. –  Jason May 18 '11 at 19:43
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