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Ubuntu LTS Experiences Memory Leak 320

MonsterTrimble writes "Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Beta 2 is experiencing a major memory leak due to patches for 'An X.Org Server update that was pushed into the Lucid repository last week has resulted in the system being slower and slower as it is left on, until it reaches a point where the system is no longer usable. ... In order to make the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS deadline, the developers are looking at just reverting three of the patches, which brings the GLX version back to 1.2. Ubuntu developers are now desperate for people willing to test out this updated X.Org Server package so they can determine by this Friday whether to ship it with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS or doing an early SRU (Stable Release Update). Right now this X.Org Server that's being tested is living in the ubuntu-x-swat PPA.'"
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Ubuntu LTS Experiences Memory Leak

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  • Valgrind? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abigor ( 540274 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:31PM (#31930580)

    How come this wasn't caught when they were profiling? Notice I said "when" - the people aren't seriously deploying patches to such a crucial app without profiling first, are they?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How come this wasn't caught when they were profiling? Notice I said "when" - the people aren't seriously deploying patches to such a crucial app without profiling first, are they?

      Because this isn't a patch or bug from the " people". It's a patch ubuntu applied to for GLX 1.4 support or something like that. So the question should be, why aren't the ubuntu people profiling before releasing patches.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Wait, they released 10.04 already? I thought we were talking about a testing version. That people were profiling.

  • Release later (Score:3, Insightful)

    by andymar ( 690982 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:45PM (#31930864)

    Why not hold the release until the bug is fixed ?

    • Re:Release later (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geminidomino ( 614729 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:52PM (#31930998) Journal

      Because that would make sense and break the 6-month rule.

    • Ubuntu stakes a lot on releasing in April and October. All their releases are year.04 (April release) and year.10 (October release).

      • Re:Release later (Score:4, Insightful)

        by sricetx ( 806767 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:16PM (#31931470)
        Except for the June 2006 "Dapper Drake" release. I believe it was their first LTS release. They should delay this LTS release too. Who the heck wants a buggy, memory leaking version, or an outdated version of GLX? Some advice Ubuntu devs: Wait. Get the bug fixed. Get it right, then release. The world won't end if Ubuntu is two months late.
      • by hduff ( 570443 )

        Ubuntu stakes a lot on releasing in April and October. All their releases are year.04 (April release) and year.10 (October release).

        "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. " -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I suppose some may argue that this calls into question the wisdom of Ubuntu's release schedule. On the one hand, having a rigid release schedule means that they are always scrambling to get everything in place on time. With testing times more constrained, more bugs may creep into the release.

      On the other hand, the pressure of a schedule can get people fixing problems sooner than they would otherwise have. Ubuntu is under a time constraint, so they are asking for help with testing, and they are putting pr
  • And then Red Hat 6 Beta is released. We need a Glenn Beck of Linux. "Now I'm not saying that the was attacked by radical Red-followers...well actually yes I am."
  • by John Whitley ( 6067 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:49PM (#31930926) Homepage

    The Ubuntu Wiki has details on this issue at the GEMLeak [] entry. It provides instructions on how to upgrade to (and remove) the candidate packages in the PPA. This comment is worthy of note for those already on Lucid:

    This does not affect cards using proprietary drivers or not using DRI2. Intel will always be affected since DRI2 is used with and without KMS, ATI uses DRI1 without KMS.

  • by Qwavel ( 733416 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:49PM (#31930928)

    I understand that fixed release dates are useful for planning, but I think Ubuntu has put too much emphasis on them. Software should not be released until it is ready.

    The idea of releasing it on schedule, with this big bug in it, and then issuing a quick fix when it is ready (one of the options discussed) is silly and rather deceptive. If what they have on April 30th is only beta quality then don't call it a release just so you can say that you stuck to your schedule.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Agreed. Let it slip.

      Slips happen in real life. Vendors fuck up. Planes get grounded. The paperwork takes longer than you thought. You're just plain out of Iridium. The inspector wants Euros and you only have...never mind, the point is, Things Happen.

      If they don't slip the date, then Ubuntu can never be trusted as a product ever again. What bugs will be in the next release, with a planned quick fix "right away"? I've always said that if your best friend, whom you would trust with your life, says, "I

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:17PM (#31932396)

        If they don't slip the date, then Ubuntu can never be trusted as a product ever again.

        That's a bit harsh, don't you think? If it is clearly a regression caused by a particular patch, they could release without that patch and just note in the release notes that a particular feature that was promised had to be dropped at the last minute.

        Or perhaps you view the errata section in your daily newspaper as proof that it can never be trusted as a reliable news source again. :-)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        "If they don't slip the date, then Ubuntu can never be trusted as a product ever again."

        No problem: this very bug is a clear indication that Ubuntu people can't be trusted about software engineering to start with so there's no difference if they trash it a bit more regarding the schedule.

        Just think a bit about it.

        Why the release schedule is in danger? Because of a serious bug discovered at a late date.

        Why such an obvious and serious bug was discovered at such a late date? Because it's due to a...

        Feature Pa

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:10PM (#31931366)

      Software should not be released until it is ready.

      I believe GNU HURD is following that timetable.

      (AC because moderated already)

    • by Dice ( 109560 )

      Actually they are speculating that they may release on schedule, without the bug or the enhanced features that the patch which contains the bug provides, and then later issuing an update which includes the extra functionality once the bug has been fixed then properly tested and verified.

    • Ubuntu has chosen for a fixed release, it is a tactic, one of many to deal with the reality of running a Linux distro.

      Others do a rolling release, this means they can release a new version of any package when it is ready but means you are near constantly updating and if you don't, you risk missing out on a change that turns out to be essential (going form 6-8 might miss an essential config from 7).

      Ubuntu however now faces a near impossible choice of which version to go for. If they wait other packages wil

    • What you want is Debian, not Ubuntu.

    • But all the marketing will be undone if they wait until 10.05. The marketing department has already fostered a desire in the populace for 10.04 LTS. Make it so.
    • by Dausha ( 546002 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @09:29PM (#31934500) Homepage

      The two choices are scope-based releases or time-based releases. Scope-based releases allow for long delays, reduced confidence and morale. Time-based releases have been shown to be an effective tool in improving the quality and morale of large, complex open-source software.

      But, don't take my word for it. []

  • Oh Noes!!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geminidomino ( 614729 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:51PM (#31930978) Journal

    You've all got to help them FAST!

    Because the world would, you know, end in a fiery ball of flaming death if the LTS ended up being 10.05!

    (This policy is why I replaced Ubuntu on my desktop)

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      You talk as if Canonical could have every team dance after their schedule like Microsoft can with their teams, but they don't. There's always some semi-important package be it the kernel or X or Gnome or KDE or OpenOffice or Firefox or all the server packages and so on that doesn't align well with their schedule and have some versions that are sorta but not really ready for release and if you keep waiting you end up with Debian that has delays longer than Ubuntu has between (non-LTS) releases. Every six mon

      • If you want the latest bleeding edge packages, you risk a lot of instability and potential for breakage/bugs. The new packages need testing, especially when they are all combined together as a distro does, ideally on as much hardware as possible. This is the position that Debian-unstable and Ubuntu are in -- they sacrifice stability for being up-to-date.

        If you want a rock-solid system, you tend to use older packages that are more mature and have gone through an extensive stabilisation period.

        Now, Ubuntu has

      • by oatworm ( 969674 )
        Exactly. Planning a distro is like astrology - you hope and pray the planets align and, if they don't, you make the most of things.
  • Ever since I upgraded Ubuntu to v9.4 last Spring, my has been crashing it anywhere from startup to a couple days uptime. There's no signs of trouble in the syslog, or any other logs, no signs of trouble anywhere until it freezes (cursor screenfreeze, but background processes like wget piped to madplay for streaming usually continue). I know it's because if I disable (only) and leave the console-only version running, it doesn't freeze even after a few days.

    I'm running on an Dell tower with

    • What you're describing sounds like a video hardware problem, not a software issue. Did you bother filing a bug report to find out?
      • The video HW worked fine under Ubuntu since 2004, and hasn't changed.

        I didn't file a report, since I had no actual data to report.

    • Have you been able to find any signs of other users having similar problems? If not, then my experience strongly suggests that it's a problem specific to your system, either the software configuration or the hardware. Problems with a vendor tend to show up with enough users to create a good deal of Internet traffic on the matter.

      For example, one system I used would crash hard intermittently -- sometimes multiple times in a day, sometimes only after several days of use. Red herring #1: For ages I thought

      • I swapped the RAM with the RAM from an identical machine, even though the Memtest+ showed no defects, but same problem.

        I have found no other people with this problem, but it's hard to search for, since it has so few symptoms, just crashing.

  • by Super Techie ( 1081539 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:56PM (#31931088)
    If you read the wiki page referenced carefully, it would seem that the general consensus is that the bug is fixed in the testing packages. [] Seems a bit blown out of proportion to me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      And the important part from the wiki:

      This does not affect cards using proprietary drivers or not using DRI2.

      And a quick check of top shows xorg is "only" using 140MB currently on my machine (up 3 days, using fglrx)
  • by Rydian ( 29123 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:01PM (#31931190)

    10.04 is supposed to be a LTS release, and they are nearing their deadline. Roll back to the "stable" version of X, and push these patches forward to 10.10. Anyone who cares about having the latest and greatest will roll along with the 6 month release cycle.

  • At last! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:10PM (#31931380)

    > system being slower and slower as it is left on, until it reaches
    > a point where the system is no longer usable

    At last Linux is feature-complete with MS Windows and ready for the desktop!

  • by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:19PM (#31931506) Homepage

    This isn't the only video problem in the Lucid Lynx betas. Since upgrading, I've been having a problem [] where sometimes fails to start up when I boot. Presumably this is a separate problem from the one described in TFA, since you wouldn't expect to see a memory leak's effects showing up at boot time.

    Jaunty and Karmic were really terrible releases, IMO. The good news for me is that sound, which broke when I upgraded to Jaunty, is now working for me again with Lucid. I'm hoping that Lucid gets nice and stable over the long lifetime it will have as an LTS release. In the past, I'd been upgrading ubuntu steadily rather than waiting for the next LTS, mainly because I wanted my apps upgraded. That was such a miserable experience that I'm planning not to do it anymore; I'll just stay with Lucid until the next LTS.

    I like debian and ubuntu better than the other OSS systems I've used (Mandrake, Red Hat, FreeBSD), but this close tie-in between updating apps and updating the OS can really be a pain. The OS-level tweaking has never made my life any better. As a user, I couldn't care less about stuff like OSS versus ALSA. I would really love it if ubuntu would focus more on fixing bugs in the OS while keeping applications up to date, but not gratuitously breaking stuff in the OS just because they want to be on the cutting edge.

    Another thing can be a drag about ubuntu is that they aren't very careful at all about keeping Gnome separate from the underlying OS. Anyone who uses a WM other than Gnome with ubuntu is going to run into lots of things that don't work properly, because the developers always seem to feel free to make changes without testing them on any other WM. For example, here [] is a bug in xsplash. It causes problems for people who aren't using Gnome. You know you're in trouble when you have functions whose names begin with "temporary_hack..." This one was not a bug in a beta, BTW, but a bug in a real release.

    • I've been running lucid for a few days, and I think quality control has significantly slipped in Ubuntu. Yes they are only betas, but with only 2 weeks left before release, I have seen lots of bugs still remaining. Within a couple days I found that screen-saver crashes often, several apps can't properly auto-disable PulseAudio anymore and don't work without hacks, PHP 5.3.2 segfaults, themes didn't install fully on upgrade, and (of course) the memory leak which results in Lucid using up all the RAM in my

  • by Ardeaem ( 625311 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:25PM (#31931616)
    Seriously, they need to hide their source code better, so random incompetent people off the street don't mess with it. What, do they just let ANYONE see it?
  • by Requiem18th ( 742389 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:53PM (#31932080)

    Ubuntu developers are now desperate for people willing to test out this updated X.Org Server package so they can determine by this Friday whether to ship it with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS or doing an early SRU (Stable Release Update).

    They should have thought that before antagonizing over 80% of the tester community with the windows button issue.

    Yes, it IS a petty issue, the problem is that everybody said "We don want it, please revert pretty please" and Mark was like "Thank you, your opinions are very valuable, however, just bite it".

    So I'm not surprised at all if the tester community feels withdrawn. There is a growing feeling that the opinions of the community are being soundly ignored, for instance these (public) statements from the bug tracker I'm going to reproduce without permission:

    Jef Spaleta:

    First of all I think you put too much weight behind Brainstorm as a tool
    to drive change inside Ubuntu. You actually shouldn't be at all
    surprised that Brainstorm popularity has very little influence over
    design decisions. It's never had influence in any technical decision
    making and no one in a position of authority inside Canonical or Ubuntu
    governance has ever claimed that it has. Canonical nor the external
    Ubuntu governance structures make it a policy to rely heavily or to even
    officially review highly popular ideas in Brainstorm on a regular basis
    or part of technical decision making or public governance discussion.
    Were highly popular Brainstorm ideas even discussed in an organized
    session during the UDS in the run up to 10.04?

    The track record of implemented ideas backs up my point. You look
    really closely at the ideas marked implemented in Brainstorm and they
    are at best mediocre in terms of Brainstorm popularity. None of the
    highly popular ideas in Brainstorm get implemented..or even discussed
    publicly as a matter of technical decision making or governance. Take
    for example the music store idea. It has a negative voting total and is
    marked implemented.

    It's wishful thinking to suggest that Brainstorm popularity plays an
    important role in decision making. It doesn't. At best brainstorm is a
    dumping ground for random ideas. There's no evidence that the voting
    process correlates with feature development or decision making at all.

    The thing is, Ubuntu has dropped the ball massively with this release, there is simply nothing good about the new release, worse still is that it lost contact with its user base, most of the decisions are now either politically or corporately motivated, or driven by the team of Cupertino rejects that Mark appointed to drive Ubuntu development.

    But really, this is interesting, I'll get some marsh mellows and enjoy the fireworks. The question no longer is if Lucid is going to be an embarrassment but whether Mark will learn anything from it. If Mark learns a lesson it's well worth it.

    I really loved ubuntu, I want to love it again, but right now, I'm just deciding whether to switch to mint or debian.

  • by stonewolf ( 234392 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @01:51AM (#31935934) Homepage

    my trust in OSS.

    I've been an open source user and developer since long before there was a Linux. And, I've been a Linux user for a long time. Used Redhat, Debian, and now Ubuntu. I've been using Ubuntu since 5 something. I like Ubuntu. It is easy to install, gets easier all the time. It works, which is really nice. And, it has very good support for things like Flash and proprietary graphics card drivers. You can complain that it doesn't have some detail covered that is critical to you, but that's OK. I've been very happy with Ubuntu.

    Well, I was. I always try to test the alpha and beta releases. In the early days I could down load the first alpha and it would work. It might get a little weird, but it would work. In the worst case I can remember the computer would at least boot up to the command prompt. That is until the 10.4 release. That just plain wouldn't boot until we got to alpha 3. It wouldn't even install. It has been awful ever since. I don't know if it is a problem with, but every time I type in the search field on firefox I get a black screen. After a few seconds the login screen comes up and I can login. The machine did not reboot. It looks like typing in the search field on firefox is crashing the X server. Now, back in the early '90s I helped get a little program called xcrashme written and distributed and after that was around for a few years the X server was damned near bullet proof. What did they do to mess it up so badly? I went to file a bug report. It turned out to be a duplicate. Seems a lot of people have reported the problem. I haven't seen any action on it.

    Then there is the little thing about the user interface in 10.4. Nobody in their right mind, at least no body who had any respect for their users, would change something as basic as the location and order of the window buttons. But, Shuttleworth has done just that. The reason? To make room for a "cool" something that will appear in a later version of Ubuntu. The only discussion involved in the decision was the coolness of the feature and the vague technical argument that somehow it reduces mouse movement, because the buttons are now on the same side of the screen as the menus. Oh, yeah, like the amount of time anyone spends opening new apps is worth retraining your hands to find the new buttons. On the bug discussion list Shuttleworth would not even admit that human factors might have some validity in the discussion. Only the coolness and the bullshit argument about mouse movement were treated as worthy of consideration. Shuttleworth even posted data showing his own mouse movement. The data did not support moving the buttons. But, he claimed it did. He saw what he wanted to see. After all, the new thing is so cool we should all be grateful for the inconvenience.

    Why doesn't Ubuntu care about the effect the change will have on their customers? Because they have no customers. They are in it to be cool and to score techie points with other people who do not understand why proprietary software actually tries not to piss off their customers. If you don't believe me ask a human factors engineer why purple is an awful background color for a GUI and then ask what percentage of the public can read light gray text on a dark gray background. Then look at the new Ubuntu default theme. It sure is "cool". I used ssh -Y to log in from a computer with a different theme so I could work select a readable theme and move the buttons back to where I'm used to having them.

    The backlash from the users has been astonishing. Even more astonishing is Shuttleworth's "I'm to cool to care" attitude.

    At least for now you can move the buttons back and choose another theme. What happens when he puts his uber cool new feature into the UI? I guess I am looking for a new Linux distribution.

    That was bad enough... But, then I ran into OO.o Issue #956 ( Have you heard about this one? It was filed May 25, 2001. For comparison current issue numbers for OO.o are now above 110,000.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wrook ( 134116 )

      Note: I am also a teacher and I also hate OO.o. It is feature rich, but bug filled.

      Now, I will also say that I used to work professionally (when I was a programmer) on a proprietary office suite that you almost certainly know. It is also feature rich and bug filled. Every day there would be a prioritization of new features over bug fixes. The next version of the software requires new features (even if your product is already overly feature rich) otherwise nobody will buy it. Nobody wants to pay for b

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