Login freezes after entering password

John Murtari jmurtari at thebook.com
Tue Apr 25 11:48:20 CDT 2006

The following message is a courtesy copy of an article
that has been posted to comp.os.linux.misc as well.

"Fede" <fedeguerrini at gmail.com> writes:

> I'm running RedHat ES 3 on a couple of boxes, but I'm having a big
> problem with one of them. Every day after I go back to the office and
> try to access the server, the system will not let me get in. It will
> give me the login prompt, I will enter the user name, the system will
> give me the password prompt, I will enter the password and after that
> it will freeze without any error. The applications such as apache,
> mysql will continue runnig, but I will not be able to access the server
> using ssh, console or ftp. It will just freeze after entering the
> password. The only way I have to recover access to the server is
> restarting it.
> Any idea about this problem and how to resolve it?

      We have seen this on some RHEL 4 DELL systems we have and it has
been maddening to trouble shoot.  You may be seeing something different,
but our big symptoms when this occurs, is the failure to login, some
application 'seem' to keep running for a while, no disk writes succeed,
i.e. if you look in /var/log for stuff that might normally be logged
1/min -- you can see that logging also stopped as the system started
to fail.

      If you were logged in on an xterm, you could give ps commands,
but a file system access would lock up, and an 'init 6' would never
complete.  We did have the Magic sysreq key enabled, so we could,
through keyboard shortcut, sync and unmount the disks in a somewhat
controlled manner.

      On one system we did isolate it and actually 'fixed' it.
It was a name server, and we discovered that doing 
'service named restart' -- was associated with the system becoming
unstable.  We started doing 'service named reload' -- and things
have been good.

      We worked with RedHat on this, and it looked like memory
was getting fragmented, and that was the root cause of the problem.
Still don't know why?   Very strange.

      Hope this helps.      

John Murtari                              Software Workshop Inc.
jmurtari at following domain 315.635-1968(x-211)  "TheBook.Com" (TM)

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