Confused 14.04 user - what am I running?

Since about a week I am encountering frequent total freezes of my Ubuntu MATE 14.04. It has never happened before, and now it is killing me.
I installed 14.04 last November, I allowed all the updates that came in via the update tool (daily checks).
The first change I noticed some time ago: all of a sudden I was no longer prompted for my password when updates were installed. However, when I double checked for updates via Synaptic (which keeps prompting for the password) I sometimes found more updates available although I had just run the updater a minute before. That seemed odd, but I was not concerned.
I did not take notice of the appearance of 14.04.1 - I wonder if that was silently installed on my system by one of the updates.
Now there is 14.04.2 - again, I did not pay much attention. Only now, as I am in deep trouble, I took a look. I couldn’t find a clear statement how a user of original 14.04 comes by 14.04.1 and/or 14.04.2. Some digging yielded information about the tool lsb_release, so I learned that I actually seem to be running 14.04.2:

> [email protected]:~$ lsb_release -a
> LSB Version:    core-2.0-amd64:core-2.0-noarch:core-3.0-amd64:core-3.0-noarch:core-3.1-amd64:core-3.1-noarch:core-3.2-amd64:core-3.2-noarch:core-4.0-amd64:core-4.0-noarch:core-4.1-amd64:core-4.1-noarch:cxx-3.0-amd64:cxx-3.0-noarch:cxx-3.1-amd64:cxx-3.1-noarch:cxx-3.2-amd64:cxx-3.2-noarch:cxx-4.0-amd64:cxx-4.0-noarch:cxx-4.1-amd64:cxx-4.1-noarch:desktop-3.1-amd64:desktop-3.1-noarch:desktop-3.2-amd64:desktop-3.2-noarch:desktop-4.0-amd64:desktop-4.0-noarch:desktop-4.1-amd64:desktop-4.1-noarch:graphics-2.0-amd64:graphics-2.0-noarch:graphics-3.0-amd64:graphics-3.0-noarch:graphics-3.1-amd64:graphics-3.1-noarch:graphics-3.2-amd64:graphics-3.2-noarch:graphics-4.0-amd64:graphics-4.0-noarch:graphics-4.1-amd64:graphics-4.1-noarch:languages-3.2-amd64:languages-3.2-noarch:languages-4.0-amd64:languages-4.0-noarch:languages-4.1-amd64:languages-4.1-noarch:multimedia-3.2-amd64:multimedia-3.2-noarch:multimedia-4.0-amd64:multimedia-4.0-noarch:multimedia-4.1-amd64:multimedia-4.1-noarch:printing-3.2-amd64:printing-3.2-noarch:printing-4.0-amd64:printing-4.0-noarch:printing-4.1-amd64:printing-4.1-noarch:qt4-3.1-amd64:qt4-3.1-noarch:security-4.0-amd64:security-4.0-noarch:security-4.1-amd64:security-4.1-noarch
> Distributor ID:    Ubuntu
> Description:    Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS
> Release:    14.04
> Codename:    trusty

However, 14.04.2 sports kernel 3.16, according to the release information, but I got this:

[email protected]:~$ uname -a
Linux guentert510 3.13.0-51-generic #84-Ubuntu SMP Wed Apr 15 12:08:34 UTC 2015 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

I wonder now what kind of a hybrid mess I am really running, latest 14.04.2 with 14.04 kernel apparently, but what is the state of the rest of the system. What did I miss?
In my situation with frequent freezes, trying a new kernel could be the right move, but I don’t feel like I am in control anymore.
Before anyone recommends installing 15.04: I would like to stick with LTS versions - even though this one remains “unofficial”. I need a stable version that doesn’t require frequent installation work, with or without Canonical’s blessing. So far I am still hoping that the 14.04 platform will give me this, given it is coined LTS.


when you installed, did you burn the disk at the SLOWEST POSSIBLE SPEED, or if you used a USB stick, did you FULLY FORMAT it to FAT32?:

Do you have your software sources download location set to “Main”?:

You can try running this terminal command (Ctrl + Alt + t) if you think you have a broken install:

sudo apt-get install -f

I hope it helps!. :smiley:

I’m running UM 14.4.2 as well. I don’t know if I have same problem as you have, but at last time, my system is freezing for half a minute or few more and after waiting, it continues with the actually working process and I can use my system normally. I’ guess, there was an defective update in last time - I updated always with update management.

If the other command doesn’t work for you, try this one:

sudo apt-get update --fix-missing

I did a downgrade from 15.04 to 14.04 today and fully updated, I have no problems at all!:

[email protected]:~$ lsb_release -a
LSB Version: core-2.0-ia32:core-2.0-noarch:core-3.0-ia32:core-3.0-noarch:core-3.1-ia32:core-3.1-noarch:core-3.2-ia32:core-3.2-noarch:core-4.0-ia32:core-4.0-noarch:core-4.1-ia32:core-4.1-noarch:security-4.0-ia32:security-4.0-noarch:security-4.1-ia32:security-4.1-noarch
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description: Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS
Release: 14.04
Codename: trusty
[email protected]:~$ uname -a
Linux fred 3.13.0-52-generic #85-Ubuntu SMP Wed Apr 29 16:44:56 UTC 2015 i686 athlon i686 GNU/Linux
[email protected]:~$

Well, I’m using my laptop now a few days after this post and I would say, that the freezing moments had being while I modified the conky file on desktop or the icons in mate menu. Probable the freezing was well-founded by reload the desktop settings or something in this direction.

Out of curiosity from a non-developer:
So far I naively thought that every program (aka package) needs to be compiled against the libraries at the same level as the kernel - this being the reason why distros don’t switch major kernel versions within a release number.
Now wouldn’t that mean once I install 3.16 with all my software being compiled against 3.13 that I cannot boot the 3.16 kernel without exposing every single piece of executable code?
Is that nonsense? Or would such a kernel upgrade require a lot more, such as recompiling every package, i.e. the Gentoo way? Seems I am lacking a bit of information here.

As far as my freezes go I think I have gathered some evidence now what the reason might be.
I recently purchased an eclosure for 2,5" SATA drives which I had inherited, so I could attach them to USB as external drives. In a nutshell, the first such device turned out to render EXT3/4 to read-only, since it claimed to support features that it did not really have. The filesystem detected a mismatch and mounted the device as r/o. NTFS worked fine (in the sense that it did not become r/o). Web research yielded some evidence that certain JMicron controllers misbehave and cause such effects.
At that point in time the erratic freezes began. Sometimes it took half an hour, sometimes only a few minutes. I did not suspect a relationship between the enclosure and the freezes back then.
Once I had found about the filesystem issues I revisited the vendor’s device specs. They said Windows and Mac are supported, no mention of Linux. So I sent the enclosure back and ordered a different one (in fact two different ones). During the few days until they arrived I saw no more freezes.
Once I started testing the new enclosures - which do not show the EXT4 problem, btw. - the freezes started re-occuring. When I removed them again, there was typically one more freeze (with no device attached to USB), but no further freezes thereafter. Based on this observation I now consider it very likely that the freezes were caused by any of those enclosures, no matter which one - out of three different ones that I have used so far.
Any ideas, anyone? The logs don’t give away much as far as I can tell, no surprise, since a freeze means a crash, not a controlled termination with well-defined error handling. But I stand corrected on this, I am not an expert in reading error logs.

@gravy45 just to clarify: the NTFS (r/w) vs. EXT4 (r/o) issue went away once I had replaced the enclosure by a different model. What I still have is the erratic freeze phenomenon. However, some further research on the web gave me the idea that it could be a USB power problem. I have to admit that until today I never used the other half of the Y-cable for second power source. I am doing this right now, and guess what, no freeze for 90 minutes now. So I might be the culprit myself - embarrassing, as it might appear, I would prefer that for an explanation.
What I see now in dmesg looks like this:

> [ 1215.001637] usb 2-1.1: new high-speed USB device number 3 using ehci-pci
> [ 1215.156279] usb 2-1.1: New USB device found, idVendor=174c, idProduct=1153
> [ 1215.156286] usb 2-1.1: New USB device strings: Mfr=2, Product=3, SerialNumber=1
> [ 1215.156290] usb 2-1.1: Product: AS2115
> [ 1215.156294] usb 2-1.1: Manufacturer: ASMedia
> [ 1215.156297] usb 2-1.1: SerialNumber: 00000000000000000000
> [ 1215.193100] usb-storage 2-1.1:1.0: USB Mass Storage device detected
> [ 1215.193171] scsi6 : usb-storage 2-1.1:1.0
> [ 1215.193242] usbcore: registered new interface driver usb-storage
> [ 1216.190680] scsi 6:0:0:0: Direct-Access     ASMT     2115             0    PQ: 0 ANSI: 6
> [ 1216.190940] sd 6:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg2 type 0
> [ 1216.198105] sd 6:0:0:0: [sdb] Spinning up disk...
> [ 1217.201928] ..ready
> [ 1218.219476] sd 6:0:0:0: [sdb] 195371568 512-byte logical blocks: (100 GB/93.1 GiB)
> [ 1218.220788] sd 6:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
> [ 1218.220793] sd 6:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 43 00 00 00
> [ 1218.222264] sd 6:0:0:0: [sdb] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA
> [ 1218.242158]  sdb: sdb1
> [ 1218.274551] sd 6:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI disk

Now, if this turns out to be resolved, it is another confirmation why I prefer Linux over other options. There are always chances to get things fixed if you are determined enough. And you always learn something along the path, because you find people in the know and willing to help.
In this case I first learned something about misbehaving controllers ans second that Y-cables are there for a reason, even though I had gotten away with ignoring them for over 10 years. The difference might be that previously I used IDE/USB, now it is SATA/USB. Maybe SATA just draws that little more power that pushed me over the edge. :blush:

:angry:Well, a day later, it is not resolved. USB/SATA is apparently not the (only?) reason for freezes. Today I am seeing them (heavily, 4 freezes within 5 mins) with no USB enclosure anywhere near the laptop, but with the internal CD drive containing an audio CD. What is the common component one layer above those interfaces? ATA? Or is it a HW problem at the end? I am getting nervous, not understanding what is going on.

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have a look inside your PC and see what the slave/master settings are like on your drives, check the CD/DVD drive as well and make sure it doesn’t have the jumper set to “Cable Select”; instead of master or slave!. (Just a thought). :smiley:

You might want to look in BIOS and check the drive order there too!. :smiley:

I failed to mention: it is a Thinkpad (T510, actually), not a lot I could open up etc.
The BIOS has not been tampered with within 6 months.
Meanwhile I can rule out the CD drive as well. It is just random behavior, as far as I can tell. It is either a HW issue building up like an avalanche - in that case I will know soon. Or it is something about my OS. I am close to putting the original spinning disk back in and install from scratch on that. Surely it won’t be Ubuntu MATE 14.04 in that case. I am reluctant to go with a non-LTS version, I am not the kind of person that fancies massaging the system as such, I’d rather use it and keep it stable.

I mentioned the cable select thing because a friend of mine had problems with a PC which went on for ages, it was the jumper set in the wrong position by the factory which caused it, it didn’t show until a long time after he had bought the PC!. :smiley: