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Date:      Fri, 1 Jul 2011 11:41:36 +0200
From:      Polytropon <>
To:        Michael <>
Subject:   Re: why desktop apps are able to kill my freebsd box?
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <>

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On Fri, 01 Jul 2011 10:00:59 +0100, Michael wrote:
> Why a faulty desktop application run as unprivileged user is able to 
> crash my system?
> I mean, I know programs have bugs and sometimes they lead to crashes. 
> I'm fine with that. But why a crashing program (for example firefox or 
> banshee) is able to kill the whole system?
> And by 'crash' or 'kill' i mean that for whatever reason the system is 
> frozen and doesn't reply to anything but a hard reset.

Do you have anything in /var/log/messages or maybe if you start
the suspicious programs from a terminal to see their output?
I've been using FreeBSD since 4.0 as a desktop, and I have never
encountered problems as you describe. However, fiddling with
USB stuff sometimes _can_ lead to system problems (even crash
and reboot), but there are always messages that indicate some

> It just doesn't make much sense so I'm assuming that I must be doing 
> something wrong.

It shouldn't be POSSIBLE, no matter which kind of userspace
program you run, to do something _that_ wrong that the system
is affected in that way.

> Where and what kind of restrictions should I set up to 
> make sure that a buggy unprivileged program cannot freeze my box?

You should try to find out what _exactly_ is causing the freeze,
obtaining logs and messages (and maybe also run top, systat or
other means of system monitoring in parallel) to see what does
actually happen when the problem occurs. Options would be to
separate programs in jails, or even try to run them on a VM
(e. g. VirtualBox running a FreeBSD install with that program).

Also make absolutely sure your hardware is okay, e. g. use
memtest to check the RAM (often an indicator for unstable
system behaviour).

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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