I am running Slackware 12.1 (pre-release), with xfce-4.4.2.
# uname -a
Linux mate 2.6.24 #2 SMP Wed Feb 6 17:30:57 CST 2008 i686 Dual Core AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 270 AuthenticAMD GNU/Linux
There is a root cron job that uses netdate to synch time against my firewall machine. This job runs every hour, at 6 min after the hour.
Every couple of days xfce experiences a serious problem. It becomes almost frozen:
- the clock on the desktop stops updating and stays at <hour>:06:01;
- menu (right-click on the desktop) does not appear;
- switching focus by clicking in the window does not work. However, focus can
be switched by clicking on the application in the panel;
- some applications (terminals, Opera) are functional, others are frozen (some
- attempts to switch to a virtual console (ALT-CTRL-2) or kill X do not work
and result in completely frozen image of the screen;
- reboot from the terminal works but the screen is not re-initialized (I know
that reboot happens because I can ssh into the box from another), so the
system remains largely unusable. Only power-cycle helps.
Attempts to figure out what it is:
- there is nothing relevant in dmesg or /var/adm/messages;
- remote access works just fine;
- `top' does not show anything of interest;
- I tried to move the netdate cron job from HH:06 to HH:26, and sure enough,
next time the problem occurred (according to the frozen clock) at <hour>:26:01
The fact that some functions of the window manager work while other do not makes me suspect that this is the WM problem but I certainly may be wrong. For now, I disabled the netdate cron job, but if there is need to debug the issue, I am willing to experiment as directed.
Humm, I am not sure how the WM could be involved in this, especially when you mention that you cannot switch to the console or even kill X.
I am not sure this is WM. This is why I am asking experts ;)
If you think this is a different component, then which one is it likely to be? I will re-submit the bug.
Just to speculate: maybe sometimes, the time changes (netdate runs), and WM (or something else) enters some sort of wait state, when it is waiting for the time that will never come. E.g., I am waiting for 14:06:02. At 14:06:00 netdate runs and changes the time to 14:06:04. So my time, 14:06:02, will never happen. You can translate all this into epoch time, the logic remains the same.
As to switching to the console and/or killing X, it is possible that this actually works but I cannot see it. Remember, at this point, graphics becomes totally frozen, and so possibly, display does not show the prompt. As I noted earlier, same thing happens even during the reboot, unless I power-cycle the box.