More Than An Hour Of Down-Time Today

I had installed some very questionable software on the computer which acts as my server, and which is named ‘Phoenix’.

This resulted in an initial crash, but also required me to execute several intentional crashes afterward, just to be sure of what was causing this behavior.

Today was the first day this questionable software was installed.

As a result, my site was effectively down from 10h45 until 12h05.

I sincerely apologize to my readers for this. And no, there is no real reason to assume that this crash had a common cause, with certain past, infrequent crashes. This crash came within 12 hours of my installing something.

As far as I can tell, everything works again – minus the questionable software.



Plausible does not mean Assumed

I could make hypothetical guesses, as to why crashes like this one happen, on the machine I name ‘Phoenix’, which was manufactured in 2008. This time I noticed, that the cursor on the screen stopped moving, then that mouse-input was not being interpreted, then that the screen just filled with an image, which was a diagonally-scrambled version of the normal screen content:

  • It could be that the old GPU is no longer reliable at the hardware level, and that it may now suffer from random crashes, which also crash the X-server. The “” (‘‘) feature I have seen the nVidia Driver execute properly in past situations, may just not kick in.
  • When I reinstalled, replacing the old 32-bit O/S with the current 64-bit O/S, I also replaced the 2GB of RAM with completely new, 4GB of RAM, and the “” (‘‘) of the new RAM has also become faster, that becoming 800MHz instead of the earlier 600MHz. Either set of DDR RAM modules was running with dual-channel capability. The motherboard may detect this capability of the new RAM modules and start using it, as the motherboard itself may have the stated capability of running at 800MHz. Yet, at 800MHz, the way this Motherboard works may not be stable.
  • There could be some sort of kernel issue…

What I do find a bit more specific, is the fact that there seem to be no log entries for the , suggesting that although an X-server crash eventually takes place, this may not be the root cause. Also, the fact that the mouse has become unresponsive for a few seconds, before screen-content collapses, seems to suggest the same thing…

But the most important fact for me to observe, is that simply being able to suggest plausible reasons for the crash, is not the same thing as having diagnosed the crashes. Honestly, I do not know at present, why this type of crash happens.

One of the observations about this machine which had impressed me in the past, was that I had pushed 3D rendering beyond the limits of the old GPU, thereby crashing this graphics chip, but that the desktop manager I had in place was able to restart the GPU, and to resume the session, without requiring any action from me, but displaying a well-behaved message to the effect that the GPU needed to be rebooted. This is called “” (‘‘), and does the same thing under Linux, that it does under Windows, and depends on stable graphics drivers.

The fact that I do possess ‘‘ on this machine suggests, that a simple failure of the graphics chip, should not take out my session.


According to my latest inquiry, this Motherboard is ‘only’ running at 66MHz. Therefore, the maximum speed of the newer RAM Module should not be an issue after all.



Continue reading Plausible does not mean Assumed

Random Server Crash, Downtime

Today around 12h10, the home-computer ‘Phoenix’, which also acts as my Web-server, suffered from an apparently-random crash, which resembled this crash in the past.

This time, the problem had nothing to do with my DSL, which is currently continuing to perform well.

I happened to be using this server-box as a workstation at the same time, and this might not be a good thing to do, because this hardware from 2008 may be becoming faulty. When I do not use the computer as a workstation, it seems to have better luck against such crashes.

I am happy with the fact that a simple reboot seemed to restore what this computer does, and within barely 5 minutes of it going down.



Crash, Downtime

Today, around 18h48, the computer on which I host my Web-site, ‘Phoenix’ appeared to suffer from a bizarre, random crash. The cause of this crash remains completely unknown to me, as the screen filled with gibberish, but the X-server log did not reveal any trace of X-server error messages.

The computer was idle, and may have been starting its screen-saver.

This caused my site to become temporarily unavailable from about 18h45 until about 19h05.

I apologize for any inconvenience.