[olug] My console has fallen and it can't get up

dbw lug at robotz.com
Wed Jan 31 22:40:30 UTC 2001

So, I’ve got this linux server that is basically only a firewall 
/ IP Masquerade. There are no ports listening for connections on 
telnet, ssh, rlogin or otherwise.  The box has been running for a 
couple months now without restart and or incident.  (uptime approx.
65 days)  The distribution is Redhat and the kernel is 2.2.16 (or 
in that neighborhood).

The box was running in Xwindows, the screensaver on, and after a 
keystroke the screensaver password prompt appeared. I attempted to 
enter my password so I could access the environment and do some work.
I typed in my password and hit the ENTER key...

The console is frozen, no keyboard or mouse response.  I cannot change 
consoles, I cannot even change the caps lock state on the box.  No 
keyboard response, yet the caps lock and scroll lock lights are lit,
and the keyboard connection is fine.  The keyboard works on other 
computers also, so this is not a keyboard hardware problem.

However, the ipchains and firewall stuff is still working fine.  
I can ping the box and it replies without delay.  The box is also 
a cache name server and share the Internet to a lan of Windowze workstations.
It is still serving in this capacity and working.  From this point 
of view, the box is still functioning ok.

I simply cannot get a console to respond.  I can’t get a CNTRL-ALT-
DELETE to work.  The only thing that I “could” do is to unplug the 
unit or hold down the power button accomplishing the same thing. 
The computer power supply is ATX architecture.  

Killing the power is the last thing I want to do.  I haven’t done 
this yet because the box is still working as a firewall / IP Masquerade 
server.  But I would like to know 1) what causes this and 2) a better 
way to get console back other than to kill the power.

Has anyone else had a linux box lock up (while in Xwindows) to the 
point where you cannot even change to another console and access 
another shell?  Is this a problem with mingetty, or is there a known 
issue? Is there any way to make the box start responding again? Keep 
in mind there are no remote shells to access.




I doubt this is a hardware issue or I believe that the box would 
not be functioning at all.  I am disappointed that this is happening,
I choose linux as a solution for this task because I was avoiding 
this very thing from happening; the type of thing that happens in 
Micro$oft environment.

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