Red Hat Bugzilla – Bug 73827
System lockup/crash when using random or OpenGL screensaver
Last modified: 2009-12-21 00:35:09 EST
When using OpenGL screensavers, or random screensaver mode which could
end up using an OpenGL screensaver, it is possible that the entire system
could hang or become unstable. This occurs on all releases of Red Hat
Linux in which DRI is part of the distribution.
The more common symptoms of this are people using the "starwars" screensaver
and reporting lockups. Other screensavers are also reported a lot to
have these lockup problems.
Recently, Tim Smith <email@example.com> found a bug in the way DRM
locking was done, and produced a patch to fix it. This patch is now
included in the Red Hat rawhide kernel.
This long standing problem which was previously undeterminable should now
be fixed finally. I've created this bug report as a brief summary of
the problem, and the resolution which can be used to close duplicate
reports of this problem against, including past and future reported
If anyone has reported a bug where the X server or whole system crashes
when GL screensavers are used, please test the Red Hat Linux Null beta
plus all newer rawhide packages, or wait until our final next distro
If your bug gets marked as a duplicate of this one, and after testing
the latest release as above, please reopen your bug report and provide
updated status info, etc. so we can investigate it again.
*** Bug 49586 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 49569 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 38350 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 36682 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
I have been exeriencing this problem on RedHat9 (only with starwars
screensaver). Keyboard, display locked. ssh works. reboot only recovery
My impression from this and related bugs is that I should not be experiencing
this problem in this version of RedHat.
I have a dual display with Matrox hardware.
We believe these issues to be resolved in our currently shipping
OS releases. Please upgrade to Fedora Core 2 or later, and if these
issues turn out to still be reproduceable, please file a bug report
in the X.Org bugzilla located at http://bugs.freedesktop.org in the
Once you've filed your bug report to X.Org, if you would also like
Red Hat to track the new issue, you can file a new bug report in
Red Hat bugzilla that simply has a pointer to the X.Org bug report,
and we will gladly track the issue in the centralized X.Org bug
tracker, and will review any bug fixes that become available for
consideration in future updates.
The issue is back. This is Fedora 12.
A screensaver triggering a system crash is most likely either a bug in the kernel side video driver subsystem (DRM, or Nvidia's proprietary stuff, etc.), or in the userland X video driver or Mesa driver which usually end up being kernel side bugs anyway, and are usually hardware specific, driver specific, and
OS distribution and kernel specific also.
This generic "my system hangs with screensavers" bug is ancient and actually not very useful overall.
If someone is experiencing a "screensavers crash my system in the middle of the night" type bug, the best thing to do is to open a fresh bug report up in bugzilla against the correct RHEL or Fedora release, and attach their X server log file and config file (if using one), along with the details necessary to attempt to reproduce the problem. Try to narrow down the exact problematic screensaver that triggers the problem by disabling "random" mode, and trying each OpenGL based screensaver one at a time. If it is a problem that only happens at a random time during the night, try one screensaver per night until one is found to reliably crash the system. That can then be used as a reproducable test case to try and diagnose the crash.
If the person is using proprietary or other 3rd party video drivers, they should report the problem they're having directly to their vendor (ATI/Nvidia) instead if possible, or report it in the X.Org bugzilla which I believe both Nvidia and ATI peruse.
In the past, the quick fix that was done to work around these types of issues, was to disable the screensavers that triggered the problems, but that is an ugly bandaid that avoids the real problem, which is almost always buggy video drivers. Now that there are tonnes of people hacking on X compared to the XFree86 days, these type of test cases could go a long way to fixing long standing bugs in the video drivers, so I don't think any screensavers should be disabled as a software update "fix" as that sidesteps the issue. ;o)
I'm out of the loop with X these days, but I hope this advice may lead to latent driver bugs getting fixed, whether OSS or proprietary drivers are being used.
Hope this helps.