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I can pretty consistently crash my X server nowadays just by opening too many programs. I think I need a new computer.

Or maybe my idea of "too many programs" has been warped by how well Linux multi-tasks. Let's see. I'm seeding 20 torrents in KTorrent, I have Amarok playing, Konversation has a few IRC channels open, Kopete is doing some Jabber for me, Akregator is fetching feeds every 10 minutes, Gimp has a dozen PNGs open, Emacs is visiting around 20 files (and running SLIME + Clojure obviously), Squirrel SQL is running so I can peek at mysql, I have maybe 5 or 6 Konsole windows open, and I have four browsers running (Firefox, Chromium, Opera, Konq) for testing my websites while I develop (multiple tabs in each obviously). And so on.

In Windows not only would the single, sucky taskbar be full to overflowing, but all of my programs would be slowed to a crawl. In Linux I somehow get away with this level of activity for days at a time, but eventually I do something wrong and something crashes. Just now, it was opening one Konsole window too many. I think it's KDE4 instability, or else my ancient video card can't handle the screen resolution I'm running. But I get crashes in Gentoo and Arch both so I don't know.

Buying a computer is such a pain. I never know what to get. I don't keep up with hardware news. Every time I turn around there are twelve new processor families. I know whatever I buy will suck in a month. My current computer is from way back in 2006 and I haven't upgraded it since. My geek cred is non-existent if judged by the computer I'm using. It's embarrassing.

September 26, 2009 @ 11:56 AM PDT
Cateogory: Linux


Daniel Jomphe
Quoth Daniel Jomphe on September 26, 2009 @ 1:11 PM PDT

You could either feel this way or congratulate yourself for not loosing time keeping up-to-date with all those processor specs every month. Now, you instead only lose a few hours per 3 years, which is IMO a much saner strategy for such an easy kind of decision. (I used to know "all" about this stuff, until I found out I no more cared to spend dozens of minutes per day checking what's new on the hardware side of the things.)

Quoth Grant on September 26, 2009 @ 1:42 PM PDT

Build a system around one of the new Lynfield Intel CPUs.

Quoth Ben on September 26, 2009 @ 2:51 PM PDT

Maybe you are getting close to using all available memory? Have you given memory usage patterns a look. I have htop open most of the time, and sometimes I've seen X under Ubuntu 8.04 (with KDE 3.5) sometimes suck up unreasonable amounts of memory.

Quoth John on September 26, 2009 @ 2:59 PM PDT

I would just buy something from a shop that puts together GNU/Linux systems. Have a look at

Last system I bought though, I wanted something really tiny that had the possibility of running off mobile power, so I went with getting parts from and assembling it myself. Their faq has some helpful info about running Ubuntu on their systems.

Quoth Gen2ly on September 27, 2009 @ 7:40 PM PDT

I would think that this too is probably a leak of the xorg server or possibly another high-mem app like gimp or or firefox. I'd look top, iotop... and keep an eye for resource-hogs. Or, you can absent-mindly just forget and stumble into best buy one day. ;)

Michael Orlitzky
Quoth Michael Orlitzky on September 28, 2009 @ 1:49 PM PDT

Run memtest before you do anything. Many times, crashes due to "too many programs" are really due to bad memory, where the memory in question never gets accessed until you're running "too many programs."

Quoth Tom on October 04, 2009 @ 2:30 AM PDT

What a fanboy.

Seriously, completely randomly cruised in here from Google...and what a shame. Oh, in Windows, X Y Z would be crashing! Everything would be slow! Windows is rubbish! Yeah! I don't even like Windows, but man, you've got to move with the times.

For the record, I use Windows XP, Windows 7, OS X, HP-UX, AIX, Solaris and various flavours of Linux on a daily basis, and you're kidding yourself if you don't think Windows could handle having a whole bunch of desktop applications running. Microsoft has moved on since Windows 98.

OK, so this is shamelessly aggressive, but if you're going to post fanboy-isms on teh internets, you're just inviting said aggression.

Quoth Brian on October 04, 2009 @ 8:30 AM PDT

@Tom Ad hominem is a logical fallacy. Thanks for sharing though.