Yes, these were the tmp files in the system directory.

-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root    0 2010-09-01 11:19 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-81-Index.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root    0 2010-09-01 11:20 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-82-Index.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root    0 2010-09-01 11:20 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-82-Data.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root    0 2010-09-01 11:30 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-84-Index.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root  66k 2010-09-01 11:30 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-84-Data.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root    0 2010-09-01 11:30 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-85-Index.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root    0 2010-09-01 11:30 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-85-Data.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root    0 2010-09-01 11:42 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-87-Index.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root  66k 2010-09-01 11:42 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-87-Data.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root    0 2010-09-01 11:42 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-88-Index.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root    0 2010-09-01 11:42 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-88-Data.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root    0 2010-09-01 13:07 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-90-Index.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root  66k 2010-09-01 13:07 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-90-Data.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root    0 2010-09-01 13:07 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-91-Index.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root  66k 2010-09-01 13:07 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-91-Data.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root    0 2010-09-01 14:58 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-93-Index.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root  66k 2010-09-01 14:58 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-93-Data.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root    0 2010-09-01 14:58 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-94-Index.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root  66k 2010-09-01 14:58 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-94-Data.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root    0 2010-09-01 15:05 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-96-Index.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root  66k 2010-09-01 15:06 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-96-Data.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root    0 2010-09-01 15:06 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-97-Index.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root  66k 2010-09-01 15:06 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-97-Data.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root    0 2010-09-03 12:05 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-98-Index.db
-rw-r--r-- 1 root        root  66k 2010-09-03 12:05 HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-98-Data.db


Once I moved them out of the system dir the server would start. In the end I blew away the entire system dir (see other emails today). 

Thanks
Aaron

On 01 Oct, 2010,at 02:26 PM, Jonathan Ellis <jbellis@gmail.com> wrote:

Do you have a zero-byte sstable somewhere?

On Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 5:34 PM, Aaron Morton <aaron@thelastpickle.com> wrote:
> The last line in the log before the error was
> INFO [main] 2010-10-01 11:18:06,654 SSTableReader.java (line 162) Sampling
> index for
> /local1/junkbox/cassandra/data/system/HintsColumnFamily-tmp-e-87-<>
> There were several tmp files for the HintColumnFamily there. I moved them
> and it started.
> I did run a nodetool drain before killing the node.
> Aaron
>
>
> On 01 Oct, 2010,at 11:14 AM, Aaron Morton <aaron@thelastpickle.com> wrote:
>
> Am upgrading from the 0.7.0 nightly build for 31/08 to the beta 2.
> I've deleted the Schema* CF's in the system Keyspace and when I start the
> new install I get this..
> java.lang.NullPointerException
>         at
> org.apache.cassandra.iosstable.IndexSummary.complete(IndexSummary.java:60)
>         at
> org.apache.cassandra.io.sstable.SSTableReader.load(SSTableReader.java:270)
>         at
> org.apache.cassandra.io.sstable.SSTableReader.open(SSTableReader.java:173)
>         at
> org.apache.cassandra.db.ColumnFamilyStore.<init>(ColumnFamilyStore.java:157)
>         at
> org.apache.cassandra.db.ColumnFamilyStore.createColumnFamilyStore(ColumnFamilyStore.java:334)
>         at
> org.apache.cassandra.db.ColumnFamilyStore.createColumnFamilyStore(ColumnFamilyStore.java:322)
>         at org.apache.cassandra.db.Table.initCf(Table.java:301)
>         at org.apache.cassandra.db.Table.<init>(Table.java:249)
>         at org.apache.cassandra.db.Table.open(Table.java:102)
>         at
> org.apache.cassandra.db.SystemTable.checkHealth(SystemTablejava:142)
>         at
> org.apache.cassandra.service.AbstractCassandraDaemon.setup(AbstractCassandraDaemon.java:99)
>         at
> org.apache.cassandra.thriftCassandraDaemon.setup(CassandraDaemon.java:54)
>         at
> org.apache.cassandra.service.AbstractCassandraDaemon.activate(AbstractCassandraDaemon.java:201)
>         at
> org.apache.cassandra.thrift.CassandraDaemon.main(CassandraDaemon.java:133)
>
> Any thoughts ?
> Aaron
>



--
Jonathan Ellis
Project Chair, Apache Cassandra
co-founder of Riptano, the source for professional Cassandra support
http://riptano.com