[phenixbb] phenix gui freezes

Nathaniel Echols NEchols at lbl.gov
Thu Mar 11 04:51:08 PST 2010

On Mar 11, 2010, at 7:28 AM, John Berrisford wrote:
> A little while ago I posted a message about the GUI freezing on linux systems, either run remotely (centos) or locally (ubuntu system). I never received a solution and I'm still having this problem despite upgrading to version 1.6.
> On my ubuntu system the GUI seems to freeze either when the screen saver comes on (set to turn the screen off) or I switch desktop - although not everytime I do this.
> The freezing GUI means that I have to force quit phenix after every refinement run (I haven't tried other tasks) and that the freeR is not reported to the GUI (not a major problem). Thankfully in version 1.6 the configuration and results for each refinement run are recorded and I can retrieve this information by loading a job through job history - a big improvement over version 1.5.
> Anyone else having this problem and does anyone know a solution?

I'm basically out of ideas right now.  One of my colleagues (Rob Oeffner) demonstrated the same problem (after running a long job and - I think - sleeping the computer) on a virtual machine-based Linux installation yesterday, and I was able to confirm that the program itself is freezing and it isn't just a display problem.  I'll try running some more tests when I get back to Berkeley, but even if I can reproduce it (dubious), I'm not sure how to track down the problem.  I have already tested the reaction to the screen saver and desktop switching (also on Ubuntu) and couldn't reproduce that.  There appear to be a variety of bizarre and unpredictable interactions with the display software and libraries on Linux, and possibly with the graphics drivers as well.  Have you (or anyone else) noticed similar problems with other programs?

The only suggestion I can think of offhand is to run the GUI with the argument "--debug", which will direct bug reports to the console instead of popping up a window.  Let me know if this produces anything informative, but I'm not holding my breath.

The good news is that I now have detached processes mostly working for the big programs, which means that the GUI can be closed or killed or crashed and the running job won't even notice.  It should still preserve and report the same information.  We are still trying to make an installer good enough to release version 1.6.1, but in your case I'd recommend just downloading the latest nightly build now and switching to that (it will probably be an improvement over 1.6 anyway).  The Run button should now display a menu instead of immediately starting the job, and from there you can decide how to run the process.


Nathaniel Echols
Lawrence Berkeley Lab
NEchols at lbl.gov

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