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I have Ubuntu 10.04 running on a Dell laptop/Nvidia video. Everything works fantastic, except for one "nit" that is VERY annoying.. Every so often the graphical interface stops responding, such that the following happens: any gnome-terminals I happen to have open are still working normally, if I have Audacious running, the music continues to play, but all Gnome panels no longer respond, I cannot drag any open windows around, but I can right-click on the desktop and get that Gnome menu, but none of the menu selections respond. The first time this happened, I had to powercycle the laptop, as I didnt have any shell-window open.. It was then I discovered that Ubuntu now disables the ctl-alt-bksp/X restart. I've since re-enabled it, and an X restart restores the gui. This happens often at least once a day, and since I use the laptop daily, it becomes annoying to lose the apps I had running when I have to restart X. I've tried checking dmseg/syslog/messages immediately after this happens, but have not spotted any "smoking-gun" pointing to why this is happening. I first thought it might be Compiz causing it, so I disabled it, still happened. Since the laptop has Nvidia 8400M video, I use the Nvidia closed-source "blob" driver.. I'm posting here to see if 1) anybody else is seeing this, 2) where I should be looking for the cause....


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closed as off topic by Marco Ceppi Feb 5 '12 at 20:36

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~/.xsession-errors is a place to look for culprits –  msw Sep 25 '10 at 21:16
Please format your question better, it's hard to read. –  Jorge Castro Sep 27 '10 at 13:38
This question should instead be filed as a bug report, thanks! Instructions here. –  Jorge Castro Feb 5 '12 at 19:32

1 Answer 1

When the freeze happens, can you get a terminal by hitting Alt+F2 and typing gnome-terminal? If so, try a tail ~/.xsession-errors before hitting Ctrl-Alt-Backspace or otherwise restarting the X session, as that file will show errors from the current session only IIRC. You might also try ~/xsession-errors.old for information about the previous session. See man xsession for more information.

Also, you can try running xlsclients while the machine is running ok and save that output to a file. Then when the session crashes, run xlsclients again and see if there is a difference in the two sets of output.

If an entry is missing from the second set of output for a client that still shows on your screen (or that you know you didn't otherwise actively shut down) then that suggests that the client has crashed and possible hung others which depend on it for input.

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Thanks for the tips.. Will try those when it next happens.. Will post back what I find... –  LVDave Sep 27 '10 at 22:04
It happened again.. if I hit Alt+F2, I get the "run program" box, but I cannot type anything into the text field.. As for the xlsclient compare, other than several '<unknown>' entries in the "after" run, both lists are the same. –  LVDave Oct 3 '10 at 16:48
I also see several of the following: sys:1: GtkWarning: Attempting to read the recently used resources file at /home/dave/.recently-used.xbel', but the parser failed: Error reading file '/home/dave/.recently-used.xbel': Is a directory. sys:1: GtkWarning: Attempting to store changes into /home/dave/.recently-used.xbel', but failed: Failed to rename file '/home/dave/.recently-used.xbel.ZRR2JV' to '/home/dave/.recently-used.xbel': g_rename() failed: Is a directory –  LVDave Oct 3 '10 at 16:52
I have the file ~.recently-used.xbel on my system as well. It is definitely a file and not a directory here, I just used less to display it. XBEL is a bookmarks file format. I recommend you ls -l that file and check its permissions. If it lists as a directory, cd into it and see what's in there. It's only a file that tracks recently opened files, so it shouldn't hurt anything to just zap it. If in doubt, use mv to rename it to 'recently-used-backup-[date]' or some such. I have no idea how could become mangled in this way, I think you probably should file a bug. –  koanhead Oct 3 '10 at 20:44
By the way, where are you seeing the error messages? Are they in a file you are looking at, a console, or what? –  koanhead Oct 3 '10 at 20:48

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