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Thread: Bizarre system failure

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Beans
    16

    Bizarre system failure

    Hi all,

    I just experienced a very strange error on my Bonobo bonp5. Executive summary: the / filesystem apparently spontaneously unmounted while the system was running. Upon reboot, everything appears normal, but... I'm worried.

    I had Unity running with a terminal, a GIMP session, and Chrome open in different workspaces. Suddenly, the launcher and all status icons disappeared, although I could still switch between workspaces and my apps continued to run with no apparent problems.

    However, when I switched to the terminal and did "sudo service network-manager status" (because the first thing I consciously noticed was the absence of the network-manager status icon), I got:

    Code:
      sudo: command not found
    Wait, what?

    Code:
      which sudo
    No output.

    Code:
      ls
    
      ls: command not found
    WHAT?!?

    Code:
      mount
    
      mount: command not found
    Buh wuh huh how?

    Code:
      cd /
      echo *
    Response:

    Code:
      *
    So... it appears my root filesystem is suddenly just GONE?

    At this point I tried to save the image I had open in GIMP, and that apparently succeeded. (Upon reboot I re-opened the image, and it was in fact saved.) Then I thought long and hard about whether to reboot, or try to copy some important data off of machine before rebooting. Then I realized that it would probably not be possible to even mount an external disk, since /bin and /usr/bin were both apparently MIA, and if need be I could pull the internal disk and copy important stuff. So I took the plunge and powered off the machine. ("sync" and "shutdown -h" both resulted in "command not found" - I was hoping "sync" might be a bash internal, but apparently not.)

    Luckily, the it rebooted successfully, and I'm using it now to post this message. But I have NEVER seen this kind of utterly weird behavior from a Linux machine before except in cases of incipient catastrophic hardware failure. The root filesystem is on a 120GB SSD, and all the important stuff is on a 750GB spinning disk.

    Has anyone ever seen anything like this?

    Thanks,

    - Joe

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    West Hills CA
    Beans
    10,050
    Distro
    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Bizarre system failure

    Boot into the Rescue Shell and examine /var/log/syslog for errors. Perhaps the SSD is defective. Or a cosmic ray took out a bit and caused the kernel to act strange.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Beans
    16

    Re: Bizarre system failure

    Quote Originally Posted by tgalati4 View Post
    Boot into the Rescue Shell and examine /var/log/syslog for errors. Perhaps the SSD is defective. Or a cosmic ray took out a bit and caused the kernel to act strange.
    Nothing in /var/log/syslog - it's a zero-length file. /var/log/syslog.1 latest entries are from the previous day.

    I'm hoping the cosmic ray hypothesis is true. If anything like it happens again, I guess I'll replace the SSD.

    Thanks,

    JK

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Beans
    16

    Re: Bizarre system failure

    It happened again

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Beans
    Hidden!
    Distro
    Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: Bizarre system failure

    syslog still blank?
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    Tomorrow's an illusion and yesterday's a dream, today is a solution...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Beans
    16

    Re: Bizarre system failure

    Yes, nothing in syslog.

    Completely different set of apps running this time, except for Chrome, which was running during both events. And possibly GIMP... I can't remember if I closed it earlier or not.

    Once again, I had to reboot by power-cycling I took the precaution of doing a clean shutdown after rebooting. I'll boot to single-user mode in a minute and run fsck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Beans
    16

    Re: Bizarre system failure

    fsck found nothing amiss.

    Nothing unusual-looking in dmesg.

    Nothing in /var/log/syslog since April 5 (before the first incident).

    I'm at a bit of a loss where to start investigating this. If it's an intermittent hardware failure that leaves no tracks... well that sucks

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