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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair

Regular blog here, 'microblog' there

Many of my traditional blog post live on this site, but a great majority of my social-style posts can be found on my much-busier microbloging site at updates.passthejoe.net. It's busier because my BlogPoster "microblogging" script generates short, Twitter-style posts from the Linux or Windows (or anywhere you can run Ruby with too many Gems) command line, uploads them to the web server and send them out on my Twitter and Mastodon feeds.

I used to post to this blog via scripts and Unix/Linux utilities (curl and Unison) that helped me mirror the files locally and on the server. Since this site recently moved hosts, none of that is set up. I'm just using SFTP and SSH to write posts and manage the site.

Disqus comments are not live just yet because I'm not sure about what I'm going to do for the domain on this site. I'll probably restore the old domain at first just to have some continuity, but for now I like using the "free" domain from this site's new host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

Thu, 24 May 2012

When X dies in Linux

X died on me today. For the uninitiated, I mean the graphical environment -- the GUI, if you will.

The cursor moved, but the mouse and keyboard otherwise had no effect. I'm running Debian Squeeze with the default GNOME desktop environment.

While the keyboard couldn't do anything on the desktop, I was, however, able to open a virtual console with ctrl-alt-F2.

I logged in, ran the top utility to find out what processes, if any, were going awry. All looked OK, but I still had no functionality in the GUI.

I noted the PID -- aka the process ID number -- of Xorg, the underpinnings of the GUI itself.

Then, using my rootly privileges (you can either su to root or use sudo, the latter of which I generally choose), I did the following:

$ sudo kill -9 xxxx

In this case, xxxx is the PID, a four-digit number in my particular case.

I was immediately returned to the Debian GNU/Linux login screen, which is run by the GDM display manager.

I logged in and all was (and is) fine.