Odd Freeze on PE4400

Chris Chabot chabotc at chabotc.com
Thu Apr 25 13:01:01 CDT 2002

Most of the time when a machine is in a state where it does ping, but does not 
allow logins, a few plausible reasons exist:

1) You ran out of file handles. Since ping is in kernel space it does not need 
file handles, but loggin in needs about 8+. (this is a limit thats settable 
via /proc)

2) You ran out of memory, as above, and the OOM handler is going bogus.

3) Your PAM has gotton very confused, and does not authenticate anything 

4) Your machine's interupts are in a locked stated (this consitutes to a hard 

If you can still open web pages from that server, but not log in, then its 
likely to be #3.

If you can not get any reaction from the server that requires file handles 
(smb, nfs, ssh, telnet, apache, etc), then its likely to be #1

else it could be #2, or just bad memory, bad kernel in combination with 
hardware, etc.. In this case i would sugest using a memory test util 
(freshmeat.net), or using a different kernel (plain 2.4.18 works very well for 

Since your machine does ping, #4 is not realy the case. (network card requires 
interrupt + +kernel + pci bus activity, so those are arguably still 'sane')

	-- Chris

On 25 Apr 2002, Sean McAvoy wrote:

> Hello,
> I'm running kernel 2.4.18 with bigmem and SMP enabled (2x1ghz and 2gb
> RAM), on Debian 3.0. The system freezes when I compile kernels (after
> getting through much of it), the system is pingable, and you can switch
> virtual consoles, but you cannot login via console/ssh/telnet. You do
> get connects when connecting to telnet/ssh/web but that's it.I am
> wondering if it's a process limit problem, but I've got no sure fire way
> to tell. Any suggestions?

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