Subject: Logins hang when syslog can't write to disk
To: None <>
From: Peter Bex <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 08/17/2005 21:58:26
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Disposition: inline
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Hi list,

This afternoon my server failed on me.  The symptoms are like those
described in the thread starting with
That is, the kernel worked perfectly (since I was even able to use this
server as a gateway for my workstation, and it responded to pings) but
whenever I tried to login (or, possibly, cause ANY process to write to the
logs), the process that logs in hung.

Even from the console, I could not login.  When I typed my username at the
"login" prompt and hit enter, I didn't get the password prompt.
When I tried logging in via ssh, it simply hung.  When I tried to access
HTTP or FTP, I got no response.

Even more bizarre, I was in an irssi chat under GNU screen when it happened.
I couldn't login from any other place, but irssi still responded.
When I tried to ^A^C to see if I could maybe fix the problem from the one
xterm where I was logged in, that session hung too.

When I rebooted the server, it came back up without problems.
I don't see anything odd in the logs.  (I stored them as a tarball, so
if someone needs them for analysis, I can provide them)

I suspected the harddisk (since I use a small and old harddisk for booting
because my BIOS can't boot from my main disk), also since a "sync" hung the
computer (even Ctrl+Alt+Esc did nothing) so I replaced it.

I guess I'm just asking if this problem has been (/CAN be?) fixed.  (this
was on 2.0) I looked through the PR database a bit, but I couldn't find a
PR for this problem, partly because I have no idea what to search for.
Should I submit one?

Some other thoughts: Shouldn't it be possible to at least allow console
logins to be unlogged or something?  Maybe (and here I'm just brainstorming)
even add a magic key sequence to flag a "critical situation" to tell the
kernel it should disregard any errors when logging in from console?

"The process of preparing programs for a digital computer
 is especially attractive, not only because it can be economically
 and scientifically rewarding, but also because it can be an aesthetic
 experience much like composing poetry or music."
							-- Donald Knuth

Content-Type: application/pgp-signature
Content-Disposition: inline

Version: GnuPG v1.2.4 (NetBSD)