Typical Linux troubleshooting story

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Lawrence D¹Oliveiro, Oct 2, 2004.

  1. In the interests of promoting a fair debate, I thought I'd mention a
    situation I went through with my desktop Linux box recently. This is the
    one that's currently running SuSE 9.1, though I'll probably give
    Mandrake 10 a try next.

    Anyway, most of the graphical and 3D games and screen savers wouldn't
    work: I'd launch one of them, get a bouncing cursor icon for several
    seconds, then it would stop and the program wouldn't be running.

    I found a file in my home directory called .xsession-errors, which
    mentioned that there was a problem with the file /usr/lib/libGL.so.1. So
    I tried using the ldd command to get some info on this library, but it
    complained saying the file wasn't a valid library file. Obviously
    something had corrupted it.

    So next I did

    rpm -q -f /usr/lib/libGL.so.1

    to tell me which installed package owned this file. It replied

    XFree86-Mesa-4.3.99.902-40

    so I used the find command to find the corresponding RPM file in the
    SuSE distro (which I had copied to the hard drive). Then I did an "rpm
    -Uvh --replacepkgs" on the RPM file, which said to pretend that none of
    the files belonging to that package were present so they would be
    reinstalled.

    Finally, I stopped and restarted the KDM GUI, so the X server would pick
    up the updated libraries.

    And that fixed the problem. I am now able to run various games and 3D
    xcreensaver modules that I couldn't before.

    Anyway, I think that's typical for a Linux troubleshooting situation.
    Note that I only had to reinstall one package (which took just a few
    seconds), not a large chunk of the OS. Also I didn't even need to reboot
    the machine.
    Lawrence D¹Oliveiro, Oct 2, 2004
    #1
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  2. Lawrence D¹Oliveiro

    Harry Guest

    Lawrence D¹Oliveiro wrote:

    > In the interests of promoting a fair debate, I thought I'd mention a
    > situation I went through with my desktop Linux box recently. This is the
    > one that's currently running SuSE 9.1, though I'll probably give
    > Mandrake 10 a try next.
    >
    > Anyway, most of the graphical and 3D games and screen savers wouldn't
    > work: I'd launch one of them, get a bouncing cursor icon for several
    > seconds, then it would stop and the program wouldn't be running.
    >
    > I found a file in my home directory called .xsession-errors, which
    > mentioned that there was a problem with the file /usr/lib/libGL.so.1. So
    > I tried using the ldd command to get some info on this library, but it
    > complained saying the file wasn't a valid library file. Obviously
    > something had corrupted it.
    >
    > So next I did
    >
    > rpm -q -f /usr/lib/libGL.so.1
    >
    > to tell me which installed package owned this file. It replied
    >
    > XFree86-Mesa-4.3.99.902-40
    >
    > so I used the find command to find the corresponding RPM file in the
    > SuSE distro (which I had copied to the hard drive). Then I did an "rpm
    > -Uvh --replacepkgs" on the RPM file, which said to pretend that none of
    > the files belonging to that package were present so they would be
    > reinstalled.
    >
    > Finally, I stopped and restarted the KDM GUI, so the X server would pick
    > up the updated libraries.
    >
    > And that fixed the problem. I am now able to run various games and 3D
    > xcreensaver modules that I couldn't before.
    >
    > Anyway, I think that's typical for a Linux troubleshooting situation.
    > Note that I only had to reinstall one package (which took just a few
    > seconds), not a large chunk of the OS. Also I didn't even need to reboot
    > the machine.


    If you were running Windows the file wouldn't have gotten
    corrupted in the first place!
    Harry, Oct 2, 2004
    #2
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  3. Lawrence D¹Oliveiro

    Craig Shore Guest

    On Sat, 02 Oct 2004 19:09:37 +1200, Harry <> wrote:

    >If you were running Windows the file wouldn't have gotten
    >corrupted in the first place!


    And if it did you could just delete it and Windows would put a clean replacement
    copy in there for you. :)

    That troubleshooting looked quite complex to me, and looks like it needs quite a
    bit of knowledge and memory to write those command lines. I still prefer to
    look at the pretty pictures and click on a button.
    Craig Shore, Oct 2, 2004
    #3
  4. Craig Shore wrote:
    > That troubleshooting looked quite complex to me, and looks like it needs quite a
    > bit of knowledge and memory to write those command lines. I still prefer to
    > look at the pretty pictures and click on a button.


    heh, me too...
    although tomorrow I setup my first standalone gentoo box. :)
    Dave - Dave.net.nz, Oct 2, 2004
    #4
  5. Lawrence D¹Oliveiro

    Enkidu Guest

    On Sat, 02 Oct 2004 19:09:37 +1200, Harry <> wrote:
    >>
    >> Anyway, I think that's typical for a Linux troubleshooting situation.
    >> Note that I only had to reinstall one package (which took just a few
    >> seconds), not a large chunk of the OS. Also I didn't even need to reboot
    >> the machine.

    >
    >If you were running Windows the file wouldn't have gotten
    >corrupted in the first place!
    >

    Hah! Having just restored an ntdetect.com file that went MIA, I
    assert, Sir Harry, you are talking out of your wrong end.

    Cheers,

    Cliff
    Enkidu, Oct 2, 2004
    #5
  6. Lawrence D¹Oliveiro

    Ryan Jacobs Guest

    "Enkidu" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Sat, 02 Oct 2004 19:09:37 +1200, Harry <> wrote:
    >>>
    >>> Anyway, I think that's typical for a Linux troubleshooting situation.
    >>> Note that I only had to reinstall one package (which took just a few
    >>> seconds), not a large chunk of the OS. Also I didn't even need to reboot
    >>> the machine.

    >>
    >>If you were running Windows the file wouldn't have gotten
    >>corrupted in the first place!
    >>

    > Hah! Having just restored an ntdetect.com file that went MIA, I
    > assert, Sir Harry, you are talking out of your wrong end.
    >
    >


    Psst, Harry is our resident troll. He likes to argue about anything (and
    everything). Today he will argue on one side - tomorrow, he'll argue on the
    other side.

    The moral is that Harry is just trying to wind up anyone (and everyone).
    Don't take the bait :)
    Ryan Jacobs, Oct 2, 2004
    #6
  7. Lawrence D¹Oliveiro

    Craig Shore Guest

    On Sat, 2 Oct 2004 20:17:02 +1200, "Ryan Jacobs" <> wrote:

    >
    >"Enkidu" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >> On Sat, 02 Oct 2004 19:09:37 +1200, Harry <> wrote:
    >>>>
    >>>> Anyway, I think that's typical for a Linux troubleshooting situation.
    >>>> Note that I only had to reinstall one package (which took just a few
    >>>> seconds), not a large chunk of the OS. Also I didn't even need to reboot
    >>>> the machine.
    >>>
    >>>If you were running Windows the file wouldn't have gotten
    >>>corrupted in the first place!
    >>>

    >> Hah! Having just restored an ntdetect.com file that went MIA, I
    >> assert, Sir Harry, you are talking out of your wrong end.
    >>
    >>

    >
    >Psst, Harry is our resident troll. He likes to argue about anything (and
    >everything). Today he will argue on one side - tomorrow, he'll argue on the
    >other side.
    >
    >The moral is that Harry is just trying to wind up anyone (and everyone).
    >Don't take the bait :)


    It would be wrong if there was a monopoly on it, Roger can't have the whole
    market to himself :)
    Craig Shore, Oct 2, 2004
    #7
  8. On Sat, 02 Oct 2004 20:23:23 +1200, Craig Shore
    <> wrote in
    <news:>:

    > On Sat, 2 Oct 2004 20:17:02 +1200, "Ryan Jacobs" <> wrote:
    >
    >>
    >>"Enkidu" <> wrote in message
    >>news:...
    >>> On Sat, 02 Oct 2004 19:09:37 +1200, Harry <> wrote:
    >>>>>
    >>>>> Anyway, I think that's typical for a Linux troubleshooting situation.
    >>>>> Note that I only had to reinstall one package (which took just a few
    >>>>> seconds), not a large chunk of the OS. Also I didn't even need to reboot
    >>>>> the machine.
    >>>>
    >>>>If you were running Windows the file wouldn't have gotten
    >>>>corrupted in the first place!
    >>>>
    >>> Hah! Having just restored an ntdetect.com file that went MIA, I
    >>> assert, Sir Harry, you are talking out of your wrong end.
    >>>
    >>>

    >>
    >>Psst, Harry is our resident troll. He likes to argue about anything (and
    >>everything). Today he will argue on one side - tomorrow, he'll argue on the
    >>other side.
    >>
    >>The moral is that Harry is just trying to wind up anyone (and everyone).
    >>Don't take the bait :)

    >
    > It would be wrong if there was a monopoly on it, Roger can't have the whole
    > market to himself :)


    Seems the old goat hasn't done too bad so far, handicaps notwithstanding.

    --
    Regards,
    Nicolaas.


    - We are all one - and that makes it difficult to get replacements.
    Nicolaas Hawkins, Oct 2, 2004
    #8
  9. Lawrence D¹Oliveiro

    Harry Guest

    Craig Shore wrote:

    > On Sat, 02 Oct 2004 19:09:37 +1200, Harry <> wrote:
    >
    >>If you were running Windows the file wouldn't have gotten
    >>corrupted in the first place!

    >
    > And if it did you could just delete it and Windows would put a clean
    > replacement copy in there for you. :)
    >
    > That troubleshooting looked quite complex to me, and looks like it needs
    > quite a
    > bit of knowledge and memory to write those command lines. I still prefer
    > to look at the pretty pictures and click on a button.


    That is the dilemna of course.

    On Linux every file belongs to a package, and every package is
    well defined, so it is easy to trace back from a bad file to the correct
    package and take remdial action.

    Whereas with Windows you have a pretty picture on the surface but
    underneath is a mismash of nearly total chaos and disorganization.
    Harry, Oct 2, 2004
    #9
  10. Lawrence D¹Oliveiro

    Ryan Jacobs Guest

    "Nicolaas Hawkins" <> wrote in message
    news:r2htoii8tivd$...
    >>>
    >>>Psst, Harry is our resident troll. He likes to argue about anything (and
    >>>everything). Today he will argue on one side - tomorrow, he'll argue on
    >>>the
    >>>other side.
    >>>
    >>>The moral is that Harry is just trying to wind up anyone (and everyone).
    >>>Don't take the bait :)

    >>
    >> It would be wrong if there was a monopoly on it, Roger can't have the
    >> whole
    >> market to himself :)

    >
    > Seems the old goat hasn't done too bad so far, handicaps notwithstanding.
    >


    Well (IMHO) wogor has become an institution (or, should that read "wogor
    should be in an institution"?). It's one of those weird situations where -
    WTF would we bitch about if wogor wasn't here? Look at the
    alternatives........ Harry is a dickhead..... but he will never be as
    entertaining as our very own wogor.
    Ryan Jacobs, Oct 2, 2004
    #10
  11. Lawrence D¹Oliveiro

    Chris Hope Guest

    Dave - Dave.net.nz wrote:

    > Craig Shore wrote:
    >> That troubleshooting looked quite complex to me, and looks like it needs
    >> quite a
    >> bit of knowledge and memory to write those command lines. I still prefer
    >> to look at the pretty pictures and click on a button.

    >
    > heh, me too...
    > although tomorrow I setup my first standalone gentoo box. :)


    I installed Gentoo on a desktop about a month ago, and on my laptop a couple
    of weeks later. I can't see myself using any other Linux distro again.
    Takes a while to set up and ages to compile your window manager but it's
    great. You learn a heap about Linux as well, even if you already knew quite
    a bit to start with.

    --
    Chris Hope - The Electric Toolbox - http://www.electrictoolbox.com/
    Chris Hope, Oct 2, 2004
    #11
  12. In article <>,
    Craig Shore <> wrote:

    >That troubleshooting looked quite complex to me, and looks like it needs quite
    >a bit of knowledge and memory to write those command lines.


    Actually, I can't remember the options to the rpm command most of the
    time (apart from -Uvh for installing things). I just pull up the man
    page in another window and use that to refresh my memory. The query
    options are particularly complex, and usually take me a few attempts
    before they work right. :)
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Oct 2, 2004
    #12
  13. Lawrence D¹Oliveiro

    theseus Guest

    "Lawrence D'Oliveiro" <_zealand> wrote in message
    news:...
    > In article <>,
    > Craig Shore <> wrote:
    >
    >>That troubleshooting looked quite complex to me, and looks like it needs
    >>quite
    >>a bit of knowledge and memory to write those command lines.

    >
    > Actually, I can't remember the options to the rpm command most of the
    > time (apart from -Uvh for installing things). I just pull up the man
    > page in another window and use that to refresh my memory. The query
    > options are particularly complex, and usually take me a few attempts
    > before they work right. :)


    Sounds quite complex to a Debian user too.
    theseus, Oct 2, 2004
    #13
  14. Lawrence D¹Oliveiro

    Harry Guest

    Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:

    > In article <>,
    > Craig Shore <> wrote:
    >
    >>That troubleshooting looked quite complex to me, and looks like it needs
    >>quite a bit of knowledge and memory to write those command lines.

    >
    > Actually, I can't remember the options to the rpm command most of the
    > time (apart from -Uvh for installing things). I just pull up the man
    > page in another window and use that to refresh my memory. The query
    > options are particularly complex, and usually take me a few attempts
    > before they work right. :)


    You only need remember a couple:

    rpm -qf file # file's package
    rpm -ql package # list
    rpm -qi package # info
    Harry, Oct 2, 2004
    #14
  15. Chris Hope wrote:
    >>>That troubleshooting looked quite complex to me, and looks like it needs
    >>>quite a
    >>>bit of knowledge and memory to write those command lines. I still prefer
    >>>to look at the pretty pictures and click on a button.


    >>heh, me too...
    >>although tomorrow I setup my first standalone gentoo box. :)


    > I installed Gentoo on a desktop about a month ago, and on my laptop a couple
    > of weeks later. I can't see myself using any other Linux distro again.
    > Takes a while to set up and ages to compile your window manager but it's
    > great.


    I have it on this machine setup as dual boot, but can't be bothered with
    switching back and forth, so I picked up a Cel 700 with 256MB ram and
    random standard other parts for $75... so I figured that I couldn't turn
    it down.
    I downloaded the iso yesterday(24hrs on dialup, well 23:18), printed the
    100 page manual(2 pages per page and manually duplexed).

    > You learn a heap about Linux as well, even if you already knew quite
    > a bit to start with.


    well I know not enough, and I want to get to pretty much the same level
    I am with windows... hopefully it doesnt take too long(planning a year).
    Dave - Dave.net.nz, Oct 2, 2004
    #15
  16. Lawrence D¹Oliveiro

    Chris Hope Guest

    Dave - Dave.net.nz wrote:

    > Chris Hope wrote:
    >>>>That troubleshooting looked quite complex to me, and looks like it needs
    >>>>quite a
    >>>>bit of knowledge and memory to write those command lines. I still
    >>>>prefer to look at the pretty pictures and click on a button.

    >
    >>>heh, me too...
    >>>although tomorrow I setup my first standalone gentoo box. :)

    >
    >> I installed Gentoo on a desktop about a month ago, and on my laptop a
    >> couple of weeks later. I can't see myself using any other Linux distro
    >> again. Takes a while to set up and ages to compile your window manager
    >> but it's great.

    >
    > I have it on this machine setup as dual boot, but can't be bothered with
    > switching back and forth, so I picked up a Cel 700 with 256MB ram and
    > random standard other parts for $75... so I figured that I couldn't turn
    > it down.
    > I downloaded the iso yesterday(24hrs on dialup, well 23:18), printed the
    > 100 page manual(2 pages per page and manually duplexed).
    >
    >> You learn a heap about Linux as well, even if you already knew quite
    >> a bit to start with.

    >
    > well I know not enough, and I want to get to pretty much the same level
    > I am with windows... hopefully it doesnt take too long(planning a year).


    The manual's good, but it helps to be able to use another box at the same
    time to look up other stuff when you inevitibly can't solve it with the
    manual. The great thing about Gentoo is that is has to be one of the best
    documented distros and the support forums are good as well. If you have
    dialup you'll want to do the install where you use the prebuilt WM and
    OpenOffice as they're pretty big downloads and I don't think the sources
    are on the iso.

    --
    Chris Hope - The Electric Toolbox - http://www.electrictoolbox.com/
    Chris Hope, Oct 2, 2004
    #16
  17. Chris Hope wrote:

    > Dave - Dave.net.nz wrote:
    >
    >
    >>Chris Hope wrote:
    >>
    >>>>>That troubleshooting looked quite complex to me, and looks like it needs
    >>>>>quite a
    >>>>>bit of knowledge and memory to write those command lines. I still
    >>>>>prefer to look at the pretty pictures and click on a button.

    >>
    >>>>heh, me too...
    >>>>although tomorrow I setup my first standalone gentoo box. :)

    >>
    >>>I installed Gentoo on a desktop about a month ago, and on my laptop a
    >>>couple of weeks later. I can't see myself using any other Linux distro
    >>>again. Takes a while to set up and ages to compile your window manager
    >>>but it's great.

    >>
    >>I have it on this machine setup as dual boot, but can't be bothered with
    >>switching back and forth, so I picked up a Cel 700 with 256MB ram and
    >>random standard other parts for $75... so I figured that I couldn't turn
    >>it down.
    >>I downloaded the iso yesterday(24hrs on dialup, well 23:18), printed the
    >>100 page manual(2 pages per page and manually duplexed).
    >>
    >>
    >>>You learn a heap about Linux as well, even if you already knew quite
    >>>a bit to start with.

    >>
    >>well I know not enough, and I want to get to pretty much the same level
    >>I am with windows... hopefully it doesnt take too long(planning a year).

    >
    >
    > The manual's good, but it helps to be able to use another box at the same
    > time to look up other stuff when you inevitibly can't solve it with the
    > manual. The great thing about Gentoo is that is has to be one of the best
    > documented distros and the support forums are good as well. If you have
    > dialup you'll want to do the install where you use the prebuilt WM and
    > OpenOffice as they're pretty big downloads and I don't think the sources
    > are on the iso.


    indeed I am on dialup... I had a look around online and found a 78MB iso
    and a 650MB one... I grabbed the 650 as I figured that I should grab as
    much as I could to begin with.
    Dave - Dave.net.nz, Oct 2, 2004
    #17
  18. It seems like Sat, 02 Oct 2004 17:56:26 +1200 was when Lawrence
    D¹Oliveiro <_zealand> said Blah blah blah...

    >I found a file in my home directory called .xsession-errors, which
    >mentioned that there was a problem with the file /usr/lib/libGL.so.1. So
    >I tried using the ldd command to get some info on this library, but it
    >complained saying the file wasn't a valid library file. Obviously
    >something had corrupted it.

    Uh, ldd? How would someone know about that if they didn't know that
    program exsisted?

    >So next I did
    >
    > rpm -q -f /usr/lib/libGL.so.1

    How do you remember these commands? Especially the tar -xvudhrpm
    command? Even the case of the letter matters!

    I still think linux has a while to go on the basic user useability
    stakes. So does windows when it comes to the BSoD, what a wealth of
    information that can be gathered there by home users(!). How many home
    users do you know look at a full memory dump? How many home users for
    the matter, even know how to turn that setting off? And really, in a
    home setting, how many technicians analyse that full memory dump
    instead of just doing some basic troubleshooting, then reinstalling
    Windows?

    I look forward to seeing how human-computer interaction shapes up over
    the next 20 years or so.

    Speaking of GUIs, what do you think of Sun's Looking Glass project?
    Most innovative thing I've seen in a while now.
    --
    Regards,
    Waylon Kenning.

    1st Year B.I.T. WelTec
    Waylon Kenning, Oct 2, 2004
    #18
  19. It seems like Sat, 02 Oct 2004 21:06:34 +1200 was when Harry
    <> said Blah blah blah...

    >Whereas with Windows you have a pretty picture on the surface but
    >underneath is a mismash of nearly total chaos and disorganization.


    A lot of programs these days include installer logs which tell you
    what was put where. These programs often have the ability to backup
    important files, and roll them back if the program is uninstalled.

    Is it possible to make a RPM package that just installed random files
    anywhere and didn't keep a track of the files it installed, or what
    package installed the files?
    --
    Regards,
    Waylon Kenning.

    1st Year B.I.T. WelTec
    Waylon Kenning, Oct 2, 2004
    #19
  20. In article <>,
    Waylon Kenning <> wrote:

    >Is it possible to make a RPM package that just installed random files
    >anywhere and didn't keep a track of the files it installed, or what
    >package installed the files?


    The essence of an RPM is that it is a list of files to be installed and
    where, plus a list of the names of dependencies it provides and those it
    requires. The dependency system prevents you from uninstalling something
    if something else that's still installed depends on it--you must
    uninstall the latter package first.

    Certain files in the package can also be marked as configuration files.
    This means that they musn't overwrite existing files if the existing
    files have been modified.

    Of course, it is possible to include arbitrary custom install scripts as
    part of the RPM that completely subvert the whole dependency system, if
    you really want to. But I suspect that's pretty rare.
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Oct 2, 2004
    #20
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