Seriously Haywire and I'm Panicking Even if the Kernel Isn't
I was all set to post this in General Help, knowing that when too many problems appear at the same time, a fresh re-install is probably the best solution. I was going to post this as a warning to others. The bug report I saw about the xfce-alsa had only 18 others reporting a problem. Not a high priority item there. The Thunderbird not being called from the panel is the type of flaw I live with. I can get the email from the /Menu/Internet/Thunderbird. Yet, it's a nuisance when (this user) has to learn a new routine. And my MythTV install is just too new to believe that I had all the kinks straightened out. But, taken as all the 3 problems, coming on the heels of each other, I was panicked.
But Sometimes, "It Just Works". Read the Ramblings of a non-geek user.
After 2 or 3 days of configging MythTv, I could finally watch tv. Then, because the sound was too loud, I opened the Multi-media/Audio Mixer. And put a link to the applet on my desktop. I did not know about F10-F11 at that moment. That caused a serious amount of hard disk time; well over 2 to 3 minutes of constant disk LED activity and sound. After the icon was installed on my Xubuntu/XFCE desktop; I moved the Master Volume sliders up and down and the volume changed accordingly. Then I looked at the Select Controls option. There I saw Headphones option. Since I listen to TV with headphones, I added that icon. I moved the Headphone sliders up and down, unchained them to make sure all was A-OK, tested, chained them again. It just worked. I then muted the Headphones. Sound muted. I then un-muted the headphones. SOUND GONE.
Sound was gone is VLC, Rhythmbox, MythTV and web-based (I use Chrome) apps like Internet Radio Station. This happened late last night. I was pretty tired, having spent half the day setting up MythTV.
Screwier and screwier. I wanted to check email before I went to bed, so I clicked my panel: Mail Reader. It brought up a strange error message I had never seen before. Thunderbird could not be called from there. I shut the 'puter off and next morning, my former: beautiful, flawlessly working Precise Pangolin (ver. 12.04) LTS, would not properly boot; it hung. I use ALT-SysRq R-E-I-S-U-B-K and was able to re-boot and somethings appear better now.
First: Update Manager came onscreen and had about 60 meg of updates. Those were Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers. I had no other programs/apps open, so I clicked "Install Updates". Another error message came onscreen. It said I had no space (or room) in / (root). That was odd because I looked at that about 2 weeks ago and thought I had 2 to 3 gig of / as open space. I did this in contemeplation of removing the 60 gig that Win7 uses. I wanted that extra 60 gig for MythTV recorded tv shows. I have a 400 gig drive and have about 200 gig of free space total. That includes all Windows7 partitions and my Ubuntu with /, /home etc. With both OS's I still have 200 gig of unused, free space. But, because Update Manager said / (root) was full and that I should use use apt-get clean and empty the Trash to make disk space for the updates, I called Disk Usage Analyzer and had it run "Scan Filesystem". Usually that app populates the data in under a minute or two. Today, the little round cursor spins and spins and hasn't stopped yet.
This Morning: I'm hesitating to install the Firefox and Chrome updates mentioned above. I don't want to crash the OS.
mark@Lexington-19:/$ sudo fdisk -l
Disk /dev/sda: 400.1 GB, 400088457216 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 48641 cylinders, total 781422768 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xf3e1e104
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 2048 206847 102400 7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda2 206848 143566847 71680000 7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda3 * 143572905 174176729 15301912+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda4 174176791 781417664 303620437 5 Extended
/dev/sda5 174176793 764420894 295122051 83 Linux
/dev/sda6 764420958 781417664 8498353+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris
mark@Lexington-19:/$ sudo df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda3 15G 12G 1.7G 88% /
udev 1000M 4.0K 1000M 1% /dev
tmpfs 403M 992K 402M 1% /run
none 5.0M 0 5.0M 0% /run/lock
none 1007M 3.1M 1004M 1% /run/shm
/dev/sda1 100M 25M 76M 25% /media/System_Reserved
/dev/sda2 69G 53G 17G 77% /media/sda2
/dev/sda5 278G 65G 199G 25% /home
So my memory of how much free space on / was close. Yet, how could Update Manager report that / had insufficient space? Upon emptying the Trash (using the Empty Trash option - right click on Trash icon on my desktop) and running sudo apt-get clean, I returned to Update Manager and the Manager ran and installed the updates. Seemingly without any problems. Update Manager closed and no E(rror) or W(arning) reported.
mark@Lexington-19:~$ sudo aptitude install -f
[sudo] password for mark:
No packages will be installed, upgraded, or removed.
0 packages upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B of archives. After unpacking 0 B will be used.
So, that makes me think the Firefox and Chrome updates are good to go.
After adding and then removing the Volume Control icon, I called MythTV. I called (ran) Multimedia/MythTV Frontend. I had just finished configging Myth during the last few days. I had set the theme to a nice blue color and then, after whatever made this mess (ALSA? Mixer Applet? MythTV?, not enough empty space?), MythTV Frontend launched and opened in the default greenish-brownish color. I saw a screen I had never seen before. It asked for the Country and Language I used. When I responded to that, and clicked Finish, the full-screen MythTV window closed and immediately re-opened with the same screen about Country and Language. One Endless Loop. I played with as much of that as I could and then had to issue the ALT-SysRq R-E-I-S-U-B-K command to shut down the computer.
Even though a re-boot (cold boot) did nothing to help last night; The next morning I called MythTV. The endless loop of Country-Language was gone. The sound is back, although I may have done something screwy there, too by:
for i in $(amixer |grep -o \'.*\'); do amixer set $i unmute; done
which UN-mutes every audio device that has a mute option. This line was criticized by someone as unmuting 80 devices, but I have my sound back and I'll work out the fine details as needed.
Linux isn't flawless. But sometimes: "It Just Works".
AMD Athlon II X4 620, 4gig ddr2-800, m/b MSI K9N6PGM2, 400Gig SATA, EVGA 9500GT, Brother MFC-240C prntr, LG DVD-rom GSA-H55N