The World’s Gone Crazy

Actually not, but starting last night Pinto, my Thinkpad T60 with Ubuntu 10.04 started giving me errors about an X windows failure. This morning, I was still getting them, so I thought maybe an upgrade got some libraries out of sync and tried a restart. (This hasn’t actually happened with Ubuntu, but it was a problem I’ve seen in the past.) Then I couldn’t log in. My password was accepted, but after a second or two, I was returned to the log-in screen. I hit Ctrl-Alt-F1 and logged in to a text session. I looked for errors in /var/log and didn’t see any, but noticed the logs were pretty big. Next I looked in ~/.xsession-errors. There was an error about not being able to write a file to /tmp. Turns out I was out of disk space. /var/log/debug, user.log and syslog were huge. Each was filled with messages from discovery.c about searching for HID devices. The first problem was to get some disk space back so the system could function. I deleted the previous copy of the huge logs and restarted. Now I can log in again.

There are two problems here. First is that I had turned off the low disk notification for this drive. That wasn’t smart. Googling that turned up some advice about changing the low disk space warning. Running gconf-editor and drilling down to apps -> gnome-settings-daemon -> plugins -> housekeeping shows that it’s active, but ignore_paths is set to “/”. I double-clicked ignore_paths, selected “/” and clicked “remove.” Problem one solved.

Problem two is why are my logs filling up with these messages. In /var/log/debug, this sequence appears every 20 seconds:

src/demon.cpp : 234 main -- Checking for USB scanners...
src/discovery.c : 79 getScanners -- ::::::::::::::: METHOD START :::::::::::::::
src/discovery.c : 213 getUsbScanners -- ::::::::::::::: METHOD START :::::::::::::::
src/discovery.c : 221 getUsbScanners -- finding attached HID devices...
src/discovery.c : 131 getHidDevices -- ::::::::::::::: METHOD START :::::::::::::::
src/discovery.c : 158 getHidDevices -- failed in opening HIDDEV file: /dev/usb/hiddev0. No such file or directory
src/discovery.c : 158 getHidDevices -- failed in opening HIDDEV file: /dev/usb/hiddev1. No such file or directory
[a few dozen more messages like this with different device names]
src/discovery.c : 197 getHidDevices -- ::::::::::::::: METHOD END :::::::::::::::
src/discovery.c : 223 getUsbScanners -- total HID devices found: 0
src/discovery.c : 226 getUsbScanners -- ::::::::::::::: METHOD END :::::::::::::::
src/discovery.c : 92 getScanners -- getUsbScanners successful
src/discovery.c : 125 getScanners -- ::::::::::::::: METHOD END :::::::::::::::
src/demon.cpp : 240 main -- usb scanners found is 0
src/demon.cpp : 309 main -- End of checking for USB scanners.

The most recent change to my system was adding drivers for the new Lexmark all-in-one printer. It has a scanner. Hmm…

The first hit for those messages turned up a blog entry by a really pissed off Norwegian dude. He obviously hates Lexmark and his solution was to uninstall the drivers. I don’t hate Lexmark and I plan to use my printer, so his solution doesn’t really help me.

Since the error messages are about scanners and I don’t scan often from this laptop, I tried removing XSane (sane-utils, lib-sane, xsane and xsane-common). In the list, hplip also came up. This is for the HP printer the Lexmark replaced and also is used by the older HP Photosmart, but I don’t print to that printer from the laptop.

Alas, this didn’t stop the flow of messages. I’ll try Lexmark support.