[CentOS] startx reboots my computer

Ted Miller tmiller at broadcast.net
Mon Nov 27 12:38:45 UTC 2006

> Well, sometimes startx reboots my computer.  Other times is does nothing
> except slow it to a halt for a while.  Sometimes is locks up.

> When I type startx, then things go down the tubes.
> What doesn't happen:
> X never starts
> No error messages get posted to dmesg
> no log is generated in /var/log/xorg.0.log
> What DOES happen:
> on a good run, I get the error message:
>   /usr.../startx: fork: resource temporarily unavailable
> on a bad run the computer either locks up or reboots, or I get a parade of
>   notices that the comp is "out of memory, shutting down process xxxxxx".
> running top -u tmiller -b>/tmp/top.log in another console generates a huge
>   file.  After deleting the process entry lines (all end in startx, except
>   the bash line), I get results like this:
> top - 22:28:15 up 4 min,  3 users,  load average: 2.54, 0.74, 0.26
> Tasks: 7696 total,   2 running, 7693 sleeping,   0 stopped,   0 zombie
> Cpu(s): 10.5% us, 45.2% sy,  0.0% ni,  0.0% id, 43.8% wa,  0.0% hi, 0.6% si
> Mem:   1024380k total,   896720k used,   127660k free,      264k buffers
> Swap:  8385848k total,  1035964k used,  7349884k free,    10372k cached
> with the PID numbers peaking at 12551, tasks at 7696, swap at 1-1.4GB used.
> This was done with the xorg.conf file deleted, so it isn't caused by that.
> Hardware:
> AMD 3500+ x86_64 proc
> 1GB ram
> 8GB swap
> 3 x 160GB SATA drives
> nvidia nForce4 chipset on Gigabyte MB
> Gigabyte nvidia GeForce 6200 video card
> firewall is separate ipcop box to ADSL
> Software:
> Centos 4.4, fully updated
>   started as a bare install (uncheck everything except KDE at software
>   choice screen), then added only things I really want/need
> vmware server (free version)
> wine
> I had just spent a couple of days getting the install "tweaked" in
> preparation to moving to it as my "workhorse" workstation environment.  I
> had tweaked my dual monitor setup (a 21" landscape screen next to a 17"
> portrait screen took a lot of false starts to get xorg.conf right), gotten
> vmware working, and was still wondering where the fonts went for my wine
> install.  It was working pretty well, and I was looking forward to using
> it, and when I rebooted, I have this mess.

One more piece of information that is probably irrelevant:

I have another couple of installs on this computer (Mandriva 2006 [my daily
workhorse that I am trying to replace] and Centos 4.3 [unbooted in some
weeks]).  All share the same /home partition.  I have been trying to figure
out how to separate the effects of the two distros on each other, as far as
entries in /tmiller/home/.* being made by one distro and seen by the other
distro.  However, since this also happens when running as #root, I don't
think this is an issue (/root is not shared).  I will have some questions
about this later, after I get startx to boot.

Ted in Indiana

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