My laptop is like my kid

My laptop is like my kid: I love it, but sometimes it drives me crazy!
(Whether I actually have a human kid is irrelevant).

Jason Fox

Jason

Jason, my Arch Linux installation which I set up just before the new year started, has treated me well. So well, in fact, that I haven’t booted Windows for anything even remotely significant since about a week after I set it up. Penny must feel so lonely…

On Wednesday, I upgraded Jason using pacman -Syu as I would usually do. Being a “bleeding-edge” system, making any upgrades has the potential to break something. So far, I’ve had no problems with it in the three or four times I’ve done a system upgrade, but apparently, not this time. You’re supposed to read up on upgrades just in case anything will break, and when I did so, nothing came up, so I went ahead and upgraded my system.

I use a cron job as my alarm in the morning. At 7:45 on weekdays, VLC media player starts and blasts some really annoying tunes through my speakers. Shortly after the upgrade, I noticed VLC refused to start. I started it in the console to see if it would give me any useful information; it gave me this:

VLC media player 2.1.4 Rincewind (revision 2.1.4-0-g2a072be)
Segmentation fault (core dumped)

With the -vvv flag:

VLC media player 2.1.4 Rincewind (revision 2.1.4-0-g2a072be)
[0x1112118] main libvlc debug: VLC media player - 2.1.4 Rincewind
[0x1112118] main libvlc debug: Copyright © 1996-2014 the VideoLAN team
[0x1112118] main libvlc debug: revision 2.1.4-0-g2a072be
[0x1112118] main libvlc debug: configured with ./configure  '--prefix=/usr' '--sysconfdir=/etc' '--disable-rpath' '--enable-faad' '--enable-nls' '--enable-lirc' '--enable-ncurses' '--enable-realrtsp' '--enable-aa' '--enable-vcdx' '--enable-upnp' '--enable-opus' '--enable-sftp' 'LUAC=/usr/bin/luac' 'LUA_LIBS=-llua -lm ' 'RCC=/usr/bin/rcc-qt4' 'CFLAGS=-I/usr/include/samba-4.0' 'LDFLAGS=-Wl,-O1,--sort-common,--as-needed,-z,relro' 'CPPFLAGS=-I/usr/include/samba-4.0' 'CXXFLAGS=-march=x86-64 -mtune=generic -O2 -pipe -fstack-protector --param=ssp-buffer-size=4'
[0x1112118] main libvlc debug: searching plug-in modules
[0x1112118] main libvlc debug: loading plugins cache file /usr/lib/vlc/plugins/plugins.dat
[0x1112118] main libvlc warning: cannot read /usr/lib/vlc/plugins/plugins.dat (No such file or directory)
[0x1112118] main libvlc debug: recursively browsing `/usr/lib/vlc/plugins'
Segmentation fault (core dumped)

Still having found it useless, I decided to put it through the GNU debugger:

Starting program: /usr/bin/vlc -vvv
warning: Could not load shared library symbols for linux-vdso.so.1.
Do you need "set solib-search-path" or "set sysroot"?
[Thread debugging using libthread_db enabled]
Using host libthread_db library "/usr/lib/libthread_db.so.1".
VLC media player 2.1.4 Rincewind (revision 2.1.4-0-g2a072be)                                                                                      
[0x605118] main libvlc debug: VLC media player - 2.1.4 Rincewind                                                                                  
[0x605118] main libvlc debug: Copyright © 1996-2014 the VideoLAN team                                                                             
[0x605118] main libvlc debug: revision 2.1.4-0-g2a072be
[0x605118] main libvlc debug: configured with ./configure  '--prefix=/usr' '--sysconfdir=/etc' '--disable-rpath' '--enable-faad' '--enable-nls' '--enable-lirc' '--enable-ncurses' '--enable-realrtsp' '--enable-aa' '--enable-vcdx' '--enable-upnp' '--enable-opus' '--enable-sftp' 'LUAC=/usr/bin/luac' 'LUA_LIBS=-llua -lm ' 'RCC=/usr/bin/rcc-qt4' 'CFLAGS=-I/usr/include/samba-4.0' 'LDFLAGS=-Wl,-O1,--sort-common,--as-needed,-z,relro' 'CPPFLAGS=-I/usr/include/samba-4.0' 'CXXFLAGS=-march=x86-64 -mtune=generic -O2 -pipe -fstack-protector --param=ssp-buffer-size=4'
[0x605118] main libvlc debug: searching plug-in modules
[0x605118] main libvlc debug: loading plugins cache file /usr/lib/vlc/plugins/plugins.dat
[0x605118] main libvlc warning: cannot read /usr/lib/vlc/plugins/plugins.dat (No such file or directory)
[0x605118] main libvlc debug: recursively browsing `/usr/lib/vlc/plugins'
warning: File "/usr/lib/libstdc++.so.6.0.19-gdb.py" auto-loading has been declined by your `auto-load safe-path' set to "$debugdir:$datadir/auto-load".
To enable execution of this file add
        add-auto-load-safe-path /usr/lib/libstdc++.so.6.0.19-gdb.py
line to your configuration file "/home/tpenguinltg/.gdbinit".
To completely disable this security protection add
        set auto-load safe-path /
line to your configuration file "/home/tpenguinltg/.gdbinit".
For more information about this security protection see the
"Auto-loading safe path" section in the GDB manual.  E.g., run from the shell:
        info "(gdb)Auto-loading safe path"

Program received signal SIGSEGV, Segmentation fault.
0x00007ffff75198cc in __strcmp_ssse3 () from /usr/lib/libc.so.6

I have no idea what to make out of that. (If anyone knows what’s wrong, please let me know!)

Reinstalling and even downgrading VLC did nothing. During the installation script, a segmentation fault occurs and a core dump is generated when executing
/usr/lib/vlc/vlc-cache-gen -f /usr/lib/vlc/plugins ,
but I have no idea where to find the core dump (no, it’s not the current working directory).

I’m making do with Kaffeine right now, but it’s nowhere near as good as VLC. (Is that a pun? After all, I use VLC to wake me up)

EDIT: I found a fix!

I only noticed one other thing that was broken: I couldn’t connect to the Internet wirelessly. It’s a little more than a nuisance for a laptop. The daemon, wpa_supplicant, started, but neither the GUI program nor the command line program could connect to it. Started manually, the programs could interface with it, but it wouldn’t work properly. Only when I downgraded wpa_supplicant did things work as it did before, but it still needed to start manually. Furthermore, after starting the services manually, I had to wait more than a minute and a half for dhcpcd to stop.

Also, because dhpcpd needed to stop whenever my computer gets suspended, it would take longer than it should. I’m trying to get my laptop to go to sleep, but it just doesn’t want to. Definitely sounds like a kid, if you ask me. Since I had nothing important open, all I did was kill it and shut it down (don’t do this with human kids; you’ll be put in jail).

Just to confirm that the problem with my wireless connectivity isn’t a hardware problem, I booted Penny; this is the first time I’ve done so in weeks. Windows gets on the network just fine. But since I usually set my programs to prompt me to update them instead of automatically doing it themselves, I get a host of “updates available” dialogs.

I had to do something with the Internet, and obviously I couldn’t do it on Jason, so I was forced to use Penny. Don’t get me wrong, Penny is nice and I used her for half a year, but I’d rather use Jason for anything not specific to Windows. Like DustPuppy, I’ve tweaked Penny so that my workflow is as efficient as it can be on Windows. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten way too used to my workflow on Jason with my tiling window manager (wmii) and its keystrokes that my mostly-efficient setup in Windows was no longer as efficient. I ended up mapping some of the wmii keybindings to some equivalent behaviour on Windows using AutoHotkey.

Jason is perhaps more fittingly named than I had anticipated. I chose to name my Arch Linux installation after Jason Fox from FoxTrot because he and his friend set up a Linux server in 30 seconds. It’s more fitting because Jason Fox can be fairly mischievous, and although I’m sure the breaking during upgrading wasn’t intentional, it’s something that Jason would do.

Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to wait it out and make do with my current workarounds. Hopefully the next set of updates will fix my problems.

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3 comments
  1. Kitty said:

    Yo dawg, your link to the comments section is broken, should be “#respond” instead of “#repsond”

    • Whoops.This is what I get for not testing my code…
      Good eye. Thanks for catching that!

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