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From Josh Chamas <>
Subject Re: Disaster with a debian update
Date Thu, 01 Jan 2004 22:26:28 GMT
Skylos the Doggie wrote:
> Well, I had one HECK of a problem this morning.  My main web server would
> segfault when I tried to run it!
> I tried to track down for a couple hours WHY this was happening, but could
> only tell it was in the perl module code that it was doing it.  I was
> beginning to tear my hair out.  strace would show a read of,
> then apache would segfault.  ltrace would show roughly the same thing.
> I'm not much of a debugger, I couldn't figure how to get a clear
> traceback.  :(  Such information would be handy if ya'll know it.

I have rarely seen segfaults due to perl code, but sometimes I have seen
this when the perl parser seems to hiccup on some bad code like:

     my $var = ...;
     my $var = ...;

Of course the kinds of bad code that cause perl to do this vary from
release to release, but I will run into these kinds of issues every year
or so.

To me it does not really make sense that it would fail on
I would think it more likely to fail when loading a C library like a .so file.
At start up time at least that would be more my suspicion, so I would be
stumped if looking at your particular issue I think.  When doing an strace,
make sure to do a "strace -eopen httpd -X ..." so that you only have one httpd process
to deal with ( at least in apache 1.3 ).

It sounds like this might have happened after a general system update.
Generally I don't trust distribution updates for my apache/mod_perl/perl
installations, and I tend to only use my own compiled versions in /usr/local,
leaving the system binaries in /usr/[s]bin to their own OS upgrade path.  This
way, if a vendor gets something unexpected wrong, they would not kill my production
binaries that are likely fairly customized anyway.

> But on the other hand, my other web server which varies primarily in the
> fact it doesn't run ssl stuff, continued to operate absolutely fine with
> the normal upgrade.

Yes, it could really be the SSL stuff that has some conflicting libraries
being loaded, but still does not make sense to happen at time.

> I don't know what to make of it really, I'm just glad that I finally got
> it to work again.

Me too :)



Josh Chamas, Founder                   phone:925-552-0128
Chamas Enterprises Inc.      
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