Weird Fedora Problem

Fedora 35 has started randomly crashing. Sometimes it happens when I highlight and ctrl-C a URL in Brave, but sometime it just does it on its own, as in I go away and when I try to wake it up, it’s just black screens. Any ideas? I’ve reported it to Brave.

[Wednesday update]

Now it’s randomly doing it when I try to move the cursor in Libre Office Writer. It doesn’t seem to be a resource issue; none of the cores are very busy, and it’s only using about half my memory.


[Update a while later]

The triggering event primarily seems to be a copy to clipboard. I managed to do it twice in a row with the same action, copying a specific email address from Thunderbird. I’ve logged into it via ssh from my laptop, so when it happens again, I’ll be able to see if the machine is still running. If so, it’s clearly a GUI issue, maybe a problem with Wayland. While I’m connected, I’m going to back up data to the laptop so I can work from there until I resolve the issue.

[Late-afternoon update]

Well, it’s apparently more than a GUI problem (which doesn’t mean that it isn’t caused by Wayland). When it died, my ssh session died as well, and I couldn’t reconnect. I guess the next step is try logging in with Xorg, and see if it persists.

[Update late Thursday night]

Well, clearly it was Wayland. I switched the default to Xorg this morning, and it’s gone all day without issues.


20 thoughts on “Weird Fedora Problem”

  1. Are you getting a panic or a hang? If the former try:

    First step.
    Second step.

    See if there are any regularities to the commands & panics. If the command is always the same and it’s an app not a shell, that will probably help localize it a bit. It may not be Brave that’s causing the trouble.

    If it’s a hang go check the Interwebs and see if there is a service (daemon in Unix-lingo) / cronjob you can install that sets up a watchdog timer on your machine that can trigger a panic after a period of time due to a hang. If you can get a kernel dump that way it would be more helpful than a reboot.

    Good luck.

    Lastly, it *could* be a memory stick issue. If you are heavily using memory during the crash/hang times it could be because your kernel is accessing RAM that it normally doesn’t and there is a bad location in RAM that is causing kernel memory corruption. If you have a spare DIMM stick you can try moving it around to different slots and see if the problem goes away. Or you can boot up MEMTEST or one if it’s variants. May or may not help.

    That’s about all I can tell you at this point.

      1. Try this link on managing your kernel. This if for RedHat 8, but is probably close enough to Fedora 35 for your purposes. It doesn’t mention Ignition. Sorry for that distraction.

  2. Don’t know about Fedora specifically, but the latest Ubuntu has had a lot of issues with Wayland and it’s interface mutter. If you can restart or log into Fedora using Xorg, see if the problems disappear.

    1. I’m sorry. Something about a hat, a central African tribe, a mumbling furniture manufacturer and some kind of space alien? Clearly there’s something odd going on that I missed on the news…

  3. Now it’s randomly doing it when I try to move the cursor in Libre Office Writer. It doesn’t seem to be a resource issue; none of the cores are very busy, and it’s only using about half my memory.
    Given this new information, my gut is telling me you are probably suffering from a bad update. Are you up-to-date on all the patches?

    A long winded aside
    They don’t call Fedora “Forever Beta” for nothing. That’s why I prefer the Ubuntu LTS releases. LTS==Long Term Support. They do updates but they don’t seem to cause drastic issues like the one you are experiencing. Although there have been issues. Upgrading to Jammy Jellyfish (JJ) from Bionic Beaver, I suffered through the broken ‘terminal’ app (The kid(s) playing with the program forgot how to display the window size pop-up on resize) until I replaced it with boring old (I prefer to call it ‘kiddie-proof’) ‘xterm’ and used the XTerm*faceName:Mono in my ~/.Xresources (aka ~/.Xdefaults) file to get it to use a decent font. Since I don’t give a damn about using tabs in my shell window, but DO like to know the window size when I’m resizing it, this worked just fine. (Says the grumpy old man. You kids stay off my Desktop!).

    Also a later JJ update broke the audio, so running under VirtualBox on an Win10 machine, I could no longer get sound from the Linux side. Now to be fair this could have been a VB issue, I don’t know. Windows side audio continued to work fine so I didn’t care. All I know is that on a subsequent update from just a few weeks back, it came back. All’s well that end’s well I guess. Life with VB/Ubuntu-Linux.

    1. It’s running on the latest kernel from last week. One more clue; when the screen goes black, I get a blinking cursor in the upper-right corner, and I can type characters there. Which makes me think it’s a GUI issue, not the kernel.

      So as Chris suggested, maybe it’s Wayland issue, though I’m not sure how to boot into Xorg.

      1. This sequence *might* also de-tangle the mess after it happens, if you can use the sudo command from your account:

        Press ALT+F2 and in the pop-up CLI enter:

        sudo systemctl restart gdm


  4. If it does turn out to be a Wayland issue, you can either use the “gear” setting log-in trick for Gnome or you can set the default as Xorg by following:

    This is virtually the same as one would do in Ubuntu. I keep hearing how wonderful Wayland is, but I keep finding that it is a Royal PITA. I’ve heard that it’s great for developers with multiple monitors, but it breaks lots of legacy and not-so-legacy apps. The new screen capture app in Gnome is supposed to be wonderful, but is stinks compared to Kazam. Unfortunately, Wayland breaks Kazam. I can live with the performance hit with Xorg as I’m running middle-aged, broken in desktops.

    1. According to the link, the gear option will set it for a particular user from that point forward. In other words, you shouldn’t need to keep selecting it once you’ve done it once. However I assume the default for a different user would still be Wayland. Editing the /etc/gdm/custom.conf file to switch to Xorg from Wayland will change it for everyone and remove the gear option to chose Wayland if I read this document correctly.

  5. One more thing. Supposedly Wayland breaks screen sharing in Zoom, at least in Ubuntu, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same with Fedora in Gnome.

  6. I’ve often thought of Wayland as a solution in search of a problem. Now I’m sure one can show specific examples of why Wayland is better. I’ve read through some of the white papers and it looks somewhat stronger in some areas. But I also remember back in the day when micro-kernel based operating systems were presumed to eventually fully supplant the monolithic kernel based OSes. (GNU/Herd vs GNU/Linux for example). Still waiting for that to happen. Computer people in particular always assume the sequel will be better than the original. From my perspective I think the same could be said about sin.

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