Workaround Ubuntu 12.04 Mysterious System Freezes

I have two machines running Ubuntu 12.04. One of them is very stable. And hardly ever gets rebooted. The other machine is displaying some odd behavior every now and then. And with odd behavior i mean. It just completely freezing up. The only thing functioning at that moment is the mouse.

I use this machine daily. And i can’t afford to lose work due to system crashes. So i could spend numerous hours trying to figure out what’s going on. But that’s probably something better left for the Ubuntu devs them selfs. Besides that there are plenty of bug reports floating around that describe this behavior. And one of those posts seemed to resolve the issue for me.

Apparently the bug that causes these crashes is fixed in 12.10. But the changes will only be backported when 12.10 is released. So that leaves me in quite a pickle. But according to the thread. Upgrading the kernel should do the trick. So that’s exactly what i did. The kernel packages i used can be found here http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.4-precise/

$ wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.4-precise/linux-headers-3.4.0-030400_3.4.0-030400.201205210521_all.deb
$ sudo dpkg -i linux-headers-3.4.0-030400_3.4.0-030400.201205210521_all.deb

$ wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.4-precise/linux-headers-3.4.0-030400-generic_3.4.0-030400.201205210521_amd64.deb
$ sudo dpkg -i linux-headers-3.4.0-030400-generic_3.4.0-030400.201205210521_amd64.deb

$ wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.4-precise/linux-image-3.4.0-030400-generic_3.4.0-030400.201205210521_amd64.deb
$ sudo dpkg -i linux-image-3.4.0-030400-generic_3.4.0-030400.201205210521_amd64.deb

This comes with a downside of course. All modules compiled for the current kernel need to be recompiled. And i haven’t figured out how to rebuild all of them at once. So i just ran the command below for VirtualBox and the NVidia drivers.

$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure package-name

It’s probably a better idea to keep the stable kernel for now. But if system crashes are really bugging you. Then this might resolve the issue. Just be careful.

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