I had a VirtualBox (Windows 7), ubuntu was the host os, window open, I had Chrome in Ubuntu open with Slacker playing music open, I had Thunderbird mail open, and Tickr running news across the bottom -- and then everything came to a crawl. The music kept repeating 2-second clips over and over again, the tickr app started stopping and starting, etc. I tried closing windows, nothing helped. In fact, it looked like chrome was unclosable.

Then, I remembered something i learned during the beta -- you could restart unity from the command prompt (Ctrl+Alt+F1 login), by running "unity --reset" (then i think it was ctrl+alt+f7 to return to window manager), I did this, and my system became responsive again after unity restarted, music started playing again, tickr started running smoothly, and the windows 7 virtual machine was responding normally..

So, can someone tell me, why does unity occasionally (not too often) cause my system become unresponsive?

I realize this could be the fault of compiz or unity, but restarting (resetting) unity seemed to be the trick to fixing it.

  • Well, this is a trouble that is giving headache to a lot of people, including myself. I use Ubuntu 12.04 and sometimes there is a total freeze of the system, stops responding and does not even allow me to access terminal, I can only lose opened tabs and unsaved work and unplug the laptop from power. I believe it may have something to do with Unity effects but it is hard to diagnose, in my case the crashes are unexpected, random and I have no chance to do anything about finding the cause. I also can't recreate the problem myself. I made a question about this at launchpad but no luck so far. – Neptunno Jun 22 '12 at 12:20

This is a generic report but the problem that you are experiencing is expected to be solved or mitigated in the next graphical server Wayland, also this behaviour it's not surprisingly new because of the actual architecture of the "GUI system" in a generic GNU/linux environment.

I personally switched to Gnome-shell and i found this to be a good solution for now.

Unity is a big plugin for Compiz, which is a dead project, and heavily relies on a OpenGL accelerated environment, and this could generate some big trouble like the one you are describing. I think that Unity is one of the worst project ever, i also think that a real GUI should never ever be accelerated via Hardware e should not have too much effects and pseduo-eyecandy stuff.

the server X has some well know weak points, like this one, the problem is that Wayland will be ready and fully operational in years and not in months ( all the graphics drivers need to be rewritten from scratch ), for now i suggest to try a different desktop environment like the Gnome-shell of Gnome3 or use the 2D version of Unity.

  • Re; Wayland.. Thanks.. but actually, I read in the FAQ just now that it can use the existing drivers.. Very interesting, but i'm not familiar enough with compositing (which in theory is what compiz does too, if i understand right) to know much about how it works. – Robert Wilkens Jun 23 '12 at 3:14

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