[Wolves] Mandrake and me.

Adam Sweet wolves at mailman.lug.org.uk
Sat Nov 2 13:03:00 2002

To be honest there's no hard and fast answer to this
one. Or if there is, I don't know it. Basically it
sounds that all of this restarting is screwing the
filesystem and things are starting to drop out. Don't
know much about this stuff, but what filesystem are
you using?
If its Ext3, ReiserFS or one of the other journalling
ones, they should be resistent to this to some extent,
but not failproof. Ext2 DOES NOT like this sort of
thing at all as it does not keep a transaction
journal. And you will get the 'root filesystem
uncleanly mounted, check forced' business which takes
an age and this restarting will start eating your FS
after a few times.
There are several things I can advise you on, but I'm
no expert and I horrify some the wiser members of this
group with my naive methods, but:

1) In an emergency, you can use CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE to
kill X, it will then restart and give you an X login
window. If it dumps you at a prompt, login and type
startx. That will restart X for you.
2) Use a journalled filesystem. I'm sure Mandrake does
by default, but the control centre should tell you.
Ext3 seems to be the most popular at the mo, I don't
really know the merits of any one over the other, but
Ext3 seems a good one.
3) If a program freezes in X, theres a program called
xkill that will help. Either find it on the menu or
open a terminal emulator like konsole and type it. You
will get a kind of skull and crossbones mouse pointer.
The next thing you click will get killed. I add the
application launcher applet on my KDE kicker for such
events so I can run xkill.
4) You can use ALT-F1 to F6 (CTRL-ALT-F1 to F6 in KDE)
to open alternative virtual terminal, F7 is always the
X terminal. From either a terminal emulator or a
virtual terminal, you can run ps -aux which will list
all of the current running processes. The command kill
followed by the process number (under the heading pid)
will kill that process. ie
bash prompt> ps -aux
<list of processes>
bash prompt> kill 1793

will list all of the processes and then will the kill
process with the number 1793.
NOTE - you can only kill processes that are running
under your own user ID, so root can kill anyones
processes (I think) but Bob can only kill Bob's
processes. I don't recommend fiddling with this as
root if you don't know what you're doing.

As a general note, the famed stability of Linux is
founded on the strength of the kernel, the mission
critical apps like Apache and mail servers etc and the
networking stuff. Some desktop apps can be a bit flaky
and unpredictable, they are getting better though. To
be honest I used Mandrake for about 2 years and it
p*ssed me off with such problems and I moved onto Red
Hat and then Debian and found them far better. I
remember Lee asking what everyone thought of the new
Mandrake 8.2 and I was in a mood anyway and ranted
about it's desktop flakiness.
Don't let this put you off, it gets better. Maybe try
Red Hat or SuSE if you get chance.
A final consideration is that possibly, X doesn't like
your graphics card very much, but I think this is a
long shot as it wouldn't work at all.

As a side note, such questions may get overlooked by
people as there is no specific answer and it would
require getting elbow deep in program guts to find the
answer and a lot of people don't have time to do that.
Please don't take this as a sign of ignorance, people
tend not to answer questions they don't know or don't
have time to answer as explained at:


I don't mean to suggest your question was not very
good by any means, it's perfectly valid, I'm just
explaining why people may not answer you. As for me,
I've been exactly where you are and I know how it
feels not to get the answer you are looking for. All I
can say is persevere, ultimately you may never know,
but you will move on, get better and use different
distros or versions thereof and this will just go
Best of luck :)



Use Linux. Because it's better.

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