Gnome freezes

bouncelot's picture


I'm not sure if this is actually a GNOME problem, but it seems like the most likely culprit.

Basically, I've recently installed Debian 6, and using a GNOME desktop. But I keep on getting system freezes. Basically, everything on the screen freezes, except the mouse pointer. So I can move the mouse around, but not click on anything. And the system doesn't seem to respond to anything I do with the keyboard either.

I'm honestly unsure where to start looking for the cause of the problem. Any suggestions would be welcome.

Re: Gnome freezes

IntnsRed's picture

> And the system doesn't seem to respond to anything I do with the keyboard either.

That's certainly not good. Sad

If you do a Ctrl-Alt-F3 (or similar), can you successfully switch to a text-mode login? If so, that would indicate it's something with GNOME. Another way to check to see if it's GNOME or not is to install KDE or some other desktop/window manager, and see if you have the same problem.

Ctrl-Alt-F3 works. Any idea

bouncelot's picture

Ctrl-Alt-F3 works. Any idea where I need to look to locate the source of the problem, given that info?

Re: Ctrl-Alt-F3 works. Any idea

IntnsRed's picture

Ctrl-Alt-F3 -- actually Ctrl-Alt-F1 to Ctrl-Alt-where ever you X server starts, usually F7 -- are pseudo-terminals. You can log into those as various users and use them as you normally would use a text terminal.

What that tells us is that the Linux system is working fine. For example, if you logged into one of those text terminals and ran a program (e.g. "top"; see "man top" for info) it would likely run normally.

Since Linux is doing fine, the problem is likely in the X subsystem or GNOME.

I don't run GNOME so I don't know much about it. You could try restarting X with a Ctrl-Alt-Backspace, but that might not work.

If this is happening regularly, I'd take a hammer approach to the problem. There are probably neater and slicker solutions, but I don't know them and to me they'd be time consuming.

My approach would be two-fold, tried in order.

I'm guessing if you look in you home directory (/home/username) with a "ls -la", GNOME probably stores its configuration in a subdirectory name ".gnome" or something similar. Deleting that (those?) subdir with a "rm -rf .gnome" would kill the entire .gnome subdirectory. Warning -- This could be bad if GNOME or some program stored data under that subdirectory. Since I don't know what I'm talking about, I'd look first before wiping it out. What that will do is to wipe out GNOME's configuration and cause GNOME to recreate it (it could mean asking you questions) the next time you log in.

If that doesn't do it, I'd take a hammer approach to all of X and GNOME. If you use a package manager -- aptitude, synaptic, dselect or some similar program -- you can "purge" (Debian uses two forms of deletion of software packages: removal just deletes the program/libraries while purging deletes the program/libraries and configuration) a low-level or core library that would trigger a cascade of other package removals. If you have a decent Internet connection you can easily reinstall them after you wipe them out. I'd tag them all to be purged. For example, removing the "x11-common" package will cause a cascade to remove all of X -- both the X system and also X apps; removing the "gnome-session" or "libgnome2-0" package will probably cause the removal of all GNOME programs but will leave X.

Tried the purge, but the

bouncelot's picture

Tried the purge, but the freeze just happened again. I guess the problem's going to require a bit of subtlety.