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ksmserver segfault after upgrading to buster
ckosloff
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Joined: 21 Dec 2011
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Location: South Florida
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I thought that maybe buster was stable enough already to attempt an upgrade from stretch + backports so I did.
KDE desktop crashed completely because of segfault in ksmserver, will not launch.
I have critical info in my storage drive so I launched alternative terminal and tried to fix with another dist-upgrade, nothing doing.
So I went to smxi and installed base + xfce and xfce extras, rebooted and got black screen, startx would not work either.
The computer I am writing on is on buster + KDE and works fine, go figure.
Short of wiping the system disk and reinstalling OS I don't see what I can do.
I am anxiously waiting for suggestions before taking drastic measures.
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techAdmin
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Your data is safe, this doesn't touch it. So don't worry about that.

All that's happening is that xorg is not starting, that's what it looks like to me.

There's usually some breaks when you move from one stable to the next, and given we're now on next stable, there was nothing to be gained really in waiting, so this break would probably have happened anyway.

Hopefully you did not upgrade in X/desktop, but did it out of x.

You didn't give any system specs, but this sounds like a driver issue to me, and a simple look at:

/var/log/Xorg.0.log will show the basic cause of the failure, usually that occurs somewhere in the last 40 or so lines:

:: Code ::
cat /var/log/Xorg.0.log | tail -n 50


There's nothing weird about any of this, but this is why I personally prefer running debian testing over stable, the upgrade breaks, while they happen, don't happen all at once, so they are generally easier to handle.

But stable is nice too, given it's stable while it's in the release period of that stable. But the downside is the breaks.

For specific kde errors, just google the error and it's probably already well known, I find, if I put in a specific error message verbatim and there are no results in google, either I am the first to find the error, unlikely in your case, or the error is actually not related to what I think it is, and I'm looking at the wrong thing.

Since you were able to get into another terminal, everything is just fine, all that's happening is that xorg is crashing, and you have to find out why. Did you forget to reinstall the nvidia driver? are you using old hardware that does not have nvidia support, are you using radeon? so many questions, which you should have provided the answers to in your initial posting so I don't have to ask.

System specs!! Or I'm just guessing.

Note that long term, kde is fond of breaking itself totally every major release, like 3 to 4, 4 to 5, etc, which is why I no longer use or recommend it. They have had enough time to learn how to do software development that doesn't break user systems for months on end, so I personally assume the project simply does not care anymore. xfce is a much better choice, it's made by and for grownups in my opinion.

Just FYI, systemd on graphics driver failures is particularly badly done, it does not just drop you gracefully to a terminal where you can try to figure it out. You can also look at journalctl to see if it detected any errors, just start the desktop, watch it crash, then go to shell, and look at the last journalctl entries to see if you see any failures, but it's almost certainly a graphic driver failure.
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ckosloff
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Joined: 21 Dec 2011
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Location: South Florida
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Yes the dist-upgrade installed the nvidia driver to the new kernel with DKMS.
The architecture is amd64.
The error is a segfault in kmsserver.
I installed xfce + base via smxi, all this procedure was done shutting down the x server via "systemctl stop sddm.service", as root.
What else can I tell you? There is no x server and I don't know how to troubleshoot it.
Not using old hardware, yes using radeon
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techAdmin
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Your response doesn't make any sense, you're either using the nvidia non free driver, or the radeon driver, and dkms would not install the radeon driver.

The problem is exactly what I said, and there's no point in my repeating what you need to do, read the xorg log, see what failed, then fix it.

if you don't know whether you are running radeon or nvidia it's small wonder that the system failed.

Hint: dkms doesn't always work, and in particular, it doesn't always work with a big upgrade since the new kernel might not be compatible with the version of the nvidia driver installed, or that nvidia driver might not be compatible with your xorg version, who knows.

Your first step is to actually know what hardware you are using, and not randomly like you just posted, to actually know it. That means the exact graphics device being used, not random or just what brand, the exact model, then what driver you are using with it, etc. This problem has been this way for over a decade, so there's no reason to not learn the process over that time in my opinion, the problems and the solutions have not changed very much except for dkms providing a misleading sense of security which it has never deserved.

Conveniently, inxi -bxxx will show you everything you need to know to leave the belief and enter into the facts, then you can resolve your issue, using the advice I gave you about finding out what failed and why.

This is almost certainly xorg failing to load because the driver failed, which suggest you are in fact using nvidia, and your nvidia driver isn't the right version, or something along those lines.

The easy test is: sgfxi

run alone, no arguments, let it do what it wants to do, see what happens then. Or not.

you can't fix technical problems if you don't know the actual information you need to fix them, and nobody else can, since if ou can't supply the information clearly and without contradicting yourself, how can anyone be expected to provide assistance? inxi is made for this reason, to remove the guesswork, skip all the steps of asking people what their hardware is, etc, so I suggest you use it.

Assuming it's an nvidia system, you could also try nouvean: sgfxi -N nouveau

don't use that if you don't know what video device you have however, since that will remove blacklists, allow various things, then you have to reboot, but if a free driver works fine for you, just use it, that's less headache and won't break on upgrades.
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ckosloff
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I am using nvidia non-free, will tell you more tomorrow, too late to investigate further now.
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techAdmin
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then your driver is just crashing when loaded, and xorg may tell you why, in Xorg.0.log, which is why that's the first thing I told you to check. Hint: nobody else check your Xorg log for you, so you have to do it, and that's why I gave you the code to do it.
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ckosloff
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Joined: 21 Dec 2011
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I checked the Xorg log as instructed.
I cannot reproduce here, since that happened on failed computer.
However, it removed lots of devices, the last two lines are most interesting:
NVIDIA (GPU-0): deleting GPU-0
Server terminated successfully (0).
Your thoughts?
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ckosloff
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Joined: 21 Dec 2011
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Location: South Florida
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sgfxi could not install new version of nvidia driver because unable to remove old version.
I think I have to edit xorg.conf, but that is a huge file and I don't know where to start.
How remove old nvidia?
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ckosloff
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Joined: 21 Dec 2011
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Nouveau dd not install, because sgfxi default continues to be nvidia.
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techAdmin
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sgfxi edits xorg.conf, you don't have to.

Your nvidia driver is the problem, go to the shell and run:

apt-get remove --purge *nvidia*

get rid of all of it, then reboot

then try sgfxi again.

Note that sgfxi will often report that it can't remove nvidia but the install goes fine anyway.

I haven't tested sgfxi for nouveau for a long time, but I don't really feel like doing it right now.

My days of personalized support however are pretty much behind me, that's why I originally wrote sgfxi/smxi, and why I made inxi as well, you can't scale in person support in this way.

The steps are basic, and in my view, you have learned this stuff long ago, you've been using this stuff a long time now.

Get rid of nvidia, using the steps above

reboot

get back into a shell, make sure you are not in the recovery shell because networking does not work there

run: sgfxi

and see what it says. WRITE THE ERRORS OR SUCCESS DOWN!!!

it will either work or it won't work.

I don't know what you did or did not do to your install, so there is no way I can remotely help you, I used to do direct ssh access because it's such a royal pain getting users to actually follow directions and do what they are told, but again, those days are behind me.
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