fit-PC2: Fixed (random) system freezes on Linux

My fit-PC2 home server (randomly) freezes under Ubuntu 9.04 and Ubuntu 9.10. I think the problem described here is not distribution specific, but hardware or kernel specific.

First of all the system seems to be frozen at random. After some testing, I was able to reproduce the problem when operating with large amount of files, e.g. deleting about 15.000 small files via samba.

Symptoms on the fit-PC2 server:

  • Sometimes the system freezes and pressing an arbitrary (keyboard) key unfreezes the system.
  • Sometimes the system freezes completely (only hard resets helps).
  • Sometimes the error “BUG: soft lockup – CPU#0 stuck for 61 sec!” is displayed again and again in the console.

Symptoms on the Windows 7 client (that deletes the files via samba):

  1. Delete dialog goes down to “0 elements per seconds” and than an error like “file is not accessible” is shown
  2. Explorer shows error about lost samba connection (something like “server not available”)
  3. Open ssh sessions with putty become inactive (something like “server ended connection unexpectedly”)
  4. After some seconds and pressing F5 the explorer reconnects the share
  5. ssh session can be opened again

Similar problems occurred while committing a large set of files into a svn using a shell console (checkout and svn repository one the fit-PC2) or cleaning a svn checkout. To me, it seems that this is a general problems working with large set of files and not a network specific issue.

Thanks to the fit-PC2 Users Forum and this post, I was able to solve / bypass the problem by setting the following bios option:

Processor full speed: GV3 Only

I’m now able to delete >10.000 files without freezes and my fit-PC2 Server is up and running for weeks.