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GNOME/Firefox difficulties

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Hi Everybody,


I need some help. I didn't now where to post this, but since this involves a RHEL4 workstation, this forum seemed fitting. I also know that there's probably no way this can be diagnosed properly, but I'm open for any form of help in troubleshooting.


I'm working on a workstation that is having some severe difficulties. This is a Dell Workstation with an Nvidia Quadro FX graphics card. The machine is running a RHEL4 deviant for this particular work environment. There are 5 other machines identical to it in every way. They are the same physically (ordered at the same time) and also concerning software (imaged using the same kickstart file/packages, etc.).


Here's a rundown of the issue which I can't find and the head Linux guy at this place cannot diagnose either (albeit he's very busy). The machine and several others like it have difficulty running either the default KDE or GNOME desktops and a browser. In GNOME with Firefox and/or Mozilla at certain pages (with no particular page content...i.e., they may/may not have forms, java, flash, etc.) the user will be entirely logged out. This means that any running programs, or sessions ssh'd to another machine from that computer will be lost. This is very bad since we are a research subgroup of the large institution. For instance, a user may be browsing (cnn.com, this particular case has happened in the past) and running some code written in Fortran. Suddenly, everything may crash. Another user reports simply having the browser window opened (my.yahoo.com, I think) and running MATLAB code. Again they were logged out. This happens regardless of Firefox or Seamonkey. We've not tried Galleon.


A first fix was to delete the .gconf/ and .gconfd/ directories. The individual user directories weren't deleted at the upgrade from RHEL3 to RHEL4, so we presumed it could be an issue with old GNOME/Mozilla configuration files floating around. This didn't change anything. This only served to delete personal desktop setups enangering users. :-) The .mozilla/ directory was also deleted in the thought that perhaps some cookies, etc. might be unfriendly to the GNOME desktop. Again, no avail.


Under KDE, the users are not logged out. However, the browser (Firefox and Seamonkey) might crash or become unusable for minutes. Konqueror was tried, but used for a small time due to lack of interest. Plus Firefox/Seamonkey should be usable for anyone at this point.


Kernel updates and patches were made. New Nvidia drivers have been installed. Yet the problem persists. For those of us using non-supported desktops (i.e., Fluxbox) or even different machines (x86_64) the problem doesn't exist. Just for these users.


My next step is to dumb down the driver to "nv" instead of 'nvidia'. I also plan to check for physical damage on the graphics card. It seems like this could be something in the kickstart file which implies that we would need to redo all of these machines with the modified kickstart profile


Any help would be superbly appreciated.



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First and foremost I would check the xsession-errors file in /home and all importang log files in /var/log (messages, Xorg.0.log and dmesg). I guess that you will find some information on what went crazy in there. Also check bugzilla if anything similar has been reported already.

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Do you know if there was extensive disk access on the machine when the problems occurred with the browser?


Try opening a console window, and do a:


ps aux


and look in the column for memory, and see if anything is using excessive amount of memory. It's normally shown as a percentage, and most seem to be about 8% - 10%. My system recently had X overloading at 70% or even higher on occasions due to an issue I'm having.


Sorry can't be of any more help than that, I tried RH's knowledge base, but couldn't find anything similar in there.

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instead of ps aux you could try:


ssh into the machine and watch it as you have someone try to lock the machine up.


these aren't so much solutions as ways of narrowing down the problem...

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