Red Hat Bugzilla – Bug 9173
Netscape freezes on startup when not connected via PPP
Last modified: 2014-03-16 22:12:27 EDT
When there is an existing PPP connection, Netscape seems to start normally.
Otherwise Netscape freezes on startup (for about 2 minutes) when not
connected via PPP. I guess it's waiting for a DNS lookup to time out.
The root account has always had this problem -- but then why login as root
all of the time? I've just kind of assumed at this point that if you had to
login as root -- you're probably there on another agenda anyway ;-)
To 'fix' the problem, I've found that if I delete my ~/.netscape directory,
I can relaunch netscape -- no problem. This isn't a long term solution
however, as I'd like to keep things that live there. But, this temporary fix
does seem to work EVERY TIME.
Strangely enough, I've found that if I create a new user account (say
'useradd foo'), and use foo's account foo doesn't seem to have the same
problems that an existing account does.
So the problem is exacerbated as the user configures the home environment.
My setup consists of the following (as outlined in /etc/hosts@IntelBox)
#Hosts file for DomainNameHERE.com
126.96.36.199 LANmodem.DomainNameHERE.com LANmodem
188.8.131.52 PowerMacintosh.DomainNameHERE.com PowerMacintosh
184.108.40.206 stag.DomainNameHERE.com stag
220.127.116.11 Maria.DomainNameHERE.com Maria
18.104.22.168 IntelBox.DomainNameHERE.com IntelBox
More Info From the Gnome|System Menus|Utilities|System Info... Dialog:
Distribution: Red Hat Linux
Operating System: Linux
Distribution Version: Red Hat Linux release 6.1 (Cartman)
Operating System Version: #1 Mon Sep 27 10:40:35 EDT 1999
Operating System Release: 2.2.12-20
Processor Type: i686
Host Name: IntelBox.DomainNameHERE.com
User Name: sean
X Display Name: :0
System Status: 6:05am up 5:54, 2 users, load average:
0.00, 0.00, 0.04
The version of Netscape I'm using on IntelBox is:
Netscape 4.7/Export, 15-Sept-99; (c) 1995-1998 Netscape Communications Corp.
To create my PPP connection, one of the machines must tell the 3com lanmodem
(via Netscape) to open it's connection to the remote ISP dialup.
netstat -r on IntelBox produces:
Kernel IP routing table
Destination Gateway Genmask Flags MSS Window irtt
22.214.171.124 * 255.255.255.0 U 0 0 0
127.0.0.0 * 255.0.0.0 U 0 0 0 lo
default LANmodem.absolu 0.0.0.0 UG 0 0 0
Here's the clincher--I've experienced this problem in both RH 6.0 & now 6.1.
This came shortly after I started using Enlightenment as a WM (now I use
0.16.3) as opposed to AfterStep. Anyway, The Problem isn't Enlightenment: I
removed Enlightenment as a variable by switching to FVWM to check netscape
The Problem could be Netscape: but I can't remove this as a variable -- I
don't know of any other browsers. All my other DNS seem to work just fine.
Gnome: Probably the only variable that I cannot presently remove;
incedentlally I don't recall having this problem whent I was running RH 5.1
I originally upgraded from 6.0 to 6.1 to specifically alleviate this
problem. IntelBox has been running just fine since November of 1999, with no
sign of this glitch.
So as a next step, I began by examining the directories and permissions of
the files in the .netscape directory.
[sean@IntelBox sean]# cd .netscape
[sean@IntelBox sean]# ls -al
drwxrwxr-x 5 sean sean 4096 Feb 7 01:37 .
drwx------ 29 sean sean 4096 Feb 7 01:32 ..
drwx------ 2 sean sean 4096 Feb 7 01:13 archive
-rw------- 1 sean sean 11409 Feb 7 01:13 bookmarks.html
drwx------ 2 sean sean 4096 Feb 7 01:15 cache
-rw------- 1 sean sean 184320 Feb 7 01:14 cert7.db
-rw------- 1 sean sean 16384 Feb 7 01:32 history.dat
-rw------- 1 sean sean 16384 Feb 7 01:14 key3.db
-rw-rw-r-- 1 sean sean 1062 Feb 7 01:32 liprefs.js
-rw-rw-r-- 1 sean sean 0 Feb 7 01:13 nswrapper.copy_defs
-rw-rw-r-- 1 sean sean 0 Feb 7 01:37 out
-rw-rw-r-- 1 sean sean 505 Feb 7 01:32 plugin-list
-rw-rw-r-- 1 sean sean 505 Feb 7 01:18 plugin-list.BAK
-rw-rw-r-- 1 sean sean 3490 Feb 7 01:32 preferences.js
-rw-rw-r-- 1 sean sean 741 Feb 7 01:14 registry
-rw------- 1 sean sean 16384 Feb 7 01:32 secmodule.db
drwxr-xr-x 3 sean sean 4096 Feb 7 01:13 xover-cache
Eventually I found that by deleting the 'preferences.js' file in the
dir I could get Netscape to start up:
[sean@IntelBox sean]# rm preferences.js
This is still NOT GOOD ENOUGH because it removes the Mail and News
Preferences that I have set, as well as anything else.
This made me believe that there was a setting within the preferences.js file
that was causing Netscape to hang. So, I proceded to edit the file by
removing half of the lines at a time.
Two lines that are of interest:
user_pref("browser.startup.license_accepted", "500 4.7"); # This Line
verifies that the user accepted the liscense agreement. If you remove it a
new filestructure is built in the ~/ dir.
user_pref("news.directory", "/home/sean/"); # This is the offending
line that keeps us from starting up. If you remove it you can start up once,
but the line is added in that 'session'.
Create a new directory called 'nsnews' in the users home directory:
[sean@IntelBox sean]# mkdir nsnews
Then goto netscape's preferences here:
Edit|Preferences|Mail & Newsgroups| Newsgroups Servers | Newsgroups
and set the target directory to ~/nsnews
This fixes the problem EVERY TIME for me (and even in the broken root
account) so AFAICT it works.
I'm really not sure why this works the way it does, but in all fairness It
would seem proper that the information downloaded as 'News' has no business
being strewn about in the users home dir. So a private directory makes
IMHO this is a netscape bug. NOT a RH Bug; Netscape should be installing
this directory as a default (if it is really needed to prevent this kind of
lockup). This may not be the best place for this dir, but it seems to do the
Never mind the fact that this shouldn't ne an issue in the first place.
Netscape should at least 'start' and THEN warn you about the missing
What is really strange is why this seems to happen in the first place. I
don't recall doing anything to cause the problem, and nothing seems to show
up in /var/log/ either.
'Sometimes a good idea today is better than a Great Idea Tomorrow'.
Good luck! I hope this helps somebody, or at least makes someone think
further about the problem. IT'S BEEN DRIVING ME NUTS FOR MONTHS.
Followup -- I have found that is you go back and try to re-edit the preferences,
the problem comes back. So then, set all of your prefs on the first try --
otherwise things get stuck again.
Are you running a caching nameserver?
More info --
For whatever reason this problem seems to be reoccuring periodically. Here's how
I'm attempting to fix this at this point.
After setting your preferences in netscape, AND WHILE AT LEAST ONE BROWSER
WINDOW IS OPEN, I did this...
[sean@IntelBox sean]# su
[root@IntelBox sean]# cd ~/.netscape
[root@IntelBox .netscape]# chown root.root preferences.js
[root@IntelBox .netscape]# chmod 604 preferences.js
[root@IntelBox .netscape]# exit
This prevents any user (including 'sean' and processes running under user 'sean'
from modifying the 'preferences.js' file. 'sean' and his processes can still
read the file however.
Also for others who may be reading this ... I'm not using a caching nameserver.
See the link '9173 Mail' on this page for more info.
This is 100% repeatable. I see it on my laptop when the ethernet card is acting
Netscape seems to make some trivial check for networking up, then goes ahead and
does something on the net. iI hangs until this operation times out. You can
verify this by turning a hung interface into a non-existant interface, and then
netscape pops right up.
Having netscape hang connecting on a hung network interface until a timeout is
normal behavior. I could never reproduce the original problem here.