[debian] unexpected troubles

Joshua Judson Rosen rozzin at geekspace.com
Tue Oct 13 05:31:27 CEST 2009

Neil Jerram <neiljerram at googlemail.com> writes:
> Hi there...
> Is this generally the best place for Debian questions?  Or is
> smartphones-userland better?
> I've just installed Debian again, and am surprised to be experiencing
> some low-level problems.  Hopefully they are easily fixable.

I'll try addressing the issues that I can:

> As context, what I'm aiming at is:
> - Debian - for the best available package management
> - E17 + Illume - for Raster's keyboard, decent launcher and easy
> switching between windows
> - John Sullivan's fso-el - for performing phone functions from within Emacs.
> I've installed e17, and the UI comes up as expected.  I set an overall
> scaling factor of 2, to make everything easier to read and press.
> The problems I'm seeing now are:
> - Load average unreasonably high.  Right now, for example, my top says
> "load average: 8.11, 8.13, 8.09".  Yet CPU usage is only reaching
> around 6%.

Do you perhaps have a bunch of processes waiting on disk I/O? Maybe
waiting to be paged-in from swap? How many processes are in
uninterruptible sleep (`D') state? These also contribute to the
load-counts, in Linux.

What does vmstat say (I usually run "vmstat 2")?

What are your top memory-consuming processes (in terms of both real
and virtual memory footprint)?

Do you have a swap partition (or file)? Are you running from the
internal NAND flash, or a micro-SD card?

> - Emacs never appears, yet can't be killed.  E.g. I clicked on the
> launcher icon for Emacs about an hour ago, and nothing has appeared
> yet.  "ps waux" shows that there is an emacs process:
> root  1579  0.0   3.2   25700  3952 ?       DNs  17:44   0:00 /usr/bin/emacs23

Aha--well, there's at least /one/ process in uninterruptible-sleep state :)

> But "kill 1579" and "kill -9 1579" seem to have no effect on this.

The signal cannot be processed until the system call that is
blocking the process finishes.

> - Battery not apparently charging.  I'm using the USB lead from
> another Linux computer, which successfully charges OM2009/Paroli and
> SHR.  But with Debian there is no + on the battery icon, and no orange
> (or blue) light behind the power button.

There's mention of issues with APM on the DebianOnFreeRunner Debian
Wiki page:


> - ssh (via USB) not working.  The desktop end looks fine:

While I'm very familiar with Debian on more traditional systems, I'm
not all that familiar with it as people run it on the FreeRunner.
However, as far as USB networking with Linux on the FreeRunner goes:

Is the `g_ether' module loaded on the FreeRunner?

Is the usb-ethernet interface configured on the FreeRunner?

> neil at arudy:~$ netstat -rn
> Kernel IP routing table
> Destination     Gateway         Genmask         Flags   MSS Window  irtt Iface
>   U         0 0          0 eth1
>   U         0 0          0 eth0
>         UG        0 0          0 eth0
> but
> neil at arudy:~$ ssh -l root
> ssh: connect to host port 22: No route to host

What do ifconfig and route say on the FreeRunner?

Don't be afraid to ask (Lf.((Lx.xx) (Lr.f(rr)))).

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