I had an odd Linux crash this morning that I just don’t understand. I got a call from Shannon saying that the webserver wasn’t responding; I tried to ping it, and it didn’t respond. In fact, no services (web, mail, FTP, ssh) were responding, so I walked over to the machine, and while it was running (I could hear the fan spinning, and the lights on the front were lit), I couldn’t get anything at all on the monitor. I ended up having to hit the reset button, after which it came back up just fine.

Looking through the logs, there is truly no clue as to what happened. The main log (/var/log/messages) shows that the IMAP server processed its databases successfully, and then the next entry is from almost six hours later, when I reset the machine. Every other log — mail, cron, security, webserver — shows the same thing: entries up until around 3:02 AM, and then silence for nearly six hours, until the machine is restarted.

This machine has been running fine for a while now — I’ve had eight-month stretches without reboots — but in the past three or four weeks, I’ve started installing all the services that will allow it to become my primary web and mail server. Maybe one of them took it down; without log information, it’s hard to know, though. I’ve started to do a dump of the memory state every five minutes or so… maybe that’ll give me some insight into what happened. Any other ideas?


sounds like a kernel panic or something along those lines.

you may want to make sure screen blanking is turned off, so you have a chance of seeing what is on-screen if the machine does the same again. (if you don’t usually have the monitor on or connected, there’s not much point to having screen blanking turned on.)

• Posted by: jim winstead on Oct 15, 2004, 3:49 PM

I don’t understand — what setting for screen blanking? Note that I’m not running X (I’m at runlevel 3), so nothing to do there. I’m really not all that sure why the screen was blank, either; I have the machine on a keyboard/video/mouse sharing box, but with the worst of crashes in the past, that hasn’t prevented me from seeing the remains of the crash onscreen.

• Posted by: Jason on Oct 15, 2004, 4:11 PM

the linux text console does screen blanking, too. you can use the setterm utility to disable it. it just seemed like something i had run into before (a crash/lock-up with the screen apparently blanked).

• Posted by: jim winstead on Oct 15, 2004, 5:33 PM
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