Incident of post-boot diagnostic barfing - Redhat

This is a discussion on Incident of post-boot diagnostic barfing - Redhat ; Recently I booted up my trusty Fedora Core 5, as I do every morning, which I have configured to remain in terminal mode, awaiting me to log in and start X manually. This time I was delayed in sitting down ...

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Thread: Incident of post-boot diagnostic barfing

  1. Incident of post-boot diagnostic barfing

    Recently I booted up my trusty Fedora Core 5, as I do
    every morning, which I have configured to remain in
    terminal mode, awaiting me to log in and start X manually.
    This time I was delayed in sitting down at the keyboard,
    and when I glanced at the screen, lines of Linux-speak
    were spewing out, and the hard disk light was on
    continuously. Instead of trying to write some of it down
    as I should have, to include in this query, I just hit a
    key and it paused. So I went ahead and logged in, started
    X, and continued to work without incident. Any idea what
    was happening? If it happens again, is there a log file
    someplace that will be recording it?

    --
    Charles Packer
    http://cpacker.org/whatnews
    mailboxATcpacker.org

  2. Re: Incident of post-boot diagnostic barfing

    On Fri, 18 Apr 2008, in the Usenet newsgroup linux.redhat, in article
    , Charles
    Packer wrote:

    NOTE: Posting from groups.google.com (or some web-forums) dramatically
    reduces the chance of your post being seen. Find a real news server.

    >Recently I booted up my trusty Fedora Core 5


    which is decidedly obsolete - update to something supported.

    >This time I was delayed in sitting down at the keyboard,
    >and when I glanced at the screen, lines of Linux-speak
    >were spewing out, and the hard disk light was on
    >continuously.


    What is "Linux-speak"?

    >Instead of trying to write some of it down as I should have, to
    >include in this query,


    That would have helped quite a lot

    >I just hit a key and it paused. So I went ahead and logged in, started
    >X, and continued to work without incident. Any idea what was happening?


    Really impossible to tell. For starters, _which_ key did you hit?
    When you did that, did it present a "new" login prompt, or what? I
    assume you know what a normal boot sequence looks like, with the
    boot scripts starting various services up through crond, xinetd,
    loading any keymaps, starting an MTA, and finally running stuff in
    rc.local before clearing the screen and presenting the /etc/issue
    file and finally puting up a login prompt. Generally speaking, the
    boot scripts aren't looking for much out of the keyboard once you are
    past the boot-loader prompt until the getty starts /bin/login.

    >If it happens again, is there a log file
    >someplace that will be recording it?


    Really impossible to tell without details of what that 'Linux-speak'
    was, but I suspect not. Two places to look would be /var/log/messages
    (and any other "recent" files in /var/log) and the outout of the "dmesg"
    command.

    Old guy

  3. Re: Incident of post-boot diagnostic barfing


    Moe Trin wrote:
    > Really impossible to tell. For starters, _which_ key did you hit?
    > When you did that, did it present a "new" login prompt, or what? I



    I don't recall -- too flustered. I should emphasize that
    the output in question started after the boot had completed.
    I had glanced at the screen and seen that it was ready
    to log in. Then a few seconds later, I came back and
    it was scrolling away. The text wasn't, you know,
    English messages. It looked like some kind of device status
    information which, again, I was too startled to try to
    parse. At that point, uppermost in my mind was the
    integrity of my hard drive. I've since backed up to
    cd-rom some crucial research data and can rest easy now.
    Thanks for your time.

    --
    Charles Packer
    http://cpacker.org/whatnews
    mailboxATcpacker.org

  4. Re: Incident of post-boot diagnostic barfing

    On Sat, 19 Apr 2008, in the Usenet newsgroup linux.redhat, in article
    ,
    Charles Packer wrote:

    NOTE: Posting from groups.google.com (or some web-forums) dramatically
    reduces the chance of your post being seen. Find a real news server.

    >Moe Trin wrote:


    >> Really impossible to tell. For starters, _which_ key did you hit?
    >> When you did that, did it present a "new" login prompt, or what? I


    >I don't recall -- too flustered. I should emphasize that
    >the output in question started after the boot had completed.
    >I had glanced at the screen and seen that it was ready
    >to log in.


    That is, it had cleared the screen, and was presenting a 'login:'
    prompt.

    >Then a few seconds later, I came back and it was scrolling away. The
    >text wasn't, you know, English messages.


    That's the trouble - we _don't_ know, because your description provides
    no clue. There shouldn't be anything BY DEFAULT sending output to the
    display when it's at the login prompt. What's worse, pressing "a" key
    (really hard to tell what that means, but assuming you pressed a single
    key, probably from the letter portion of the keyboard) should not have
    any effect if some application or daemon was sending text to the
    /dev/tty0 display. It's not as if the application/daemon would see the
    output and realize "oops, I shouldn't be doing this". Pressing the
    left Alt _and_ F2 (or F3..F6) keys would take you to a different
    virtual console, but I think you'd know that you did this.

    >It looked like some kind of device status information which, again, I
    >was too startled to try to parse.


    Only thing I can think of would be 'anacron' starting something that
    would normally go to a xterm, and because you haven't logged in, the
    error is going to the console - but why pressing "a" key would stop
    this is beyond me. I don't use anacron (my systems stay up 24/7 and
    so use vixie-cron)

    [compton ~]$ whatis anacron cron
    anacron (8) - runs commands periodically
    cron (8) - daemon to execute scheduled commands (Vixie Cron)
    [compton ~]$

    but you may want to check if there is a file '/etc/anacrontab' and if
    it specifies some task to run shortly after boot (second field is the
    delay in minutes). It _may_ be that the job completed just as you
    pressed the key. That's a stretch, but is about all I can think of.

    It could also have been the regular Vixie-cron running (or trying to
    run) a task, but as Vixie-cron runs jobs at specific times of the day
    (look at /etc/crontab, and /var/spool/cron/* to see if there is any
    such jobs), the chance of you hitting that time is about as good as
    hitting the Lotto.

    I have come in to the computer room, and discovered all of the
    systems sitting at the boot prompt - nearly always the result of a
    power outage that lasted long enough for the UPS to signal "I've had
    it - you better shut down" to all of the systems. When power returns,
    and the UPS have enough put back into the battery, the systems restart
    on their own. But this could have occurred hours before I wander in
    to discover this. I have never seen any extraneous text on the display
    (and I run all of my systems on runlevel 3 - text login - like you).

    >At that point, uppermost in my mind was the integrity of my hard
    >drive. I've since backed up to cd-rom some crucial research data and
    >can rest easy now.


    Backups are very important, but it's better knowing what was going on
    so that you won't be surprised in the future. You also want to be
    sure that the system is up to date, and not open to attack from the
    Big Bad World(tm).

    Old guy

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