Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Segmentation Fault

Ah, no, I wouldn't say that. "Segmentation Fault" is just never an
acceptable way to report an error to a user, no matter how botched the
configuration file might be.

The possible causes (not necessarily exclusive of each other) I can
think of are:

- bug in inetd

- bad patch installed

- corrupted system files (libraries or the inetd executable
itself) -- can be caused by copying system files from one
system to another rather than using the expected patching
and packaging tools

- someone removed a normal system file and replaced it with
something else (a frightening number of people think this is
a "reasonable" way to administer systems)

- the system has been compromised and damaged

"pstack" and "mdb" should help in debugging the core file. If not,
then report the problem through the usual support channels.

> Assuming there's nothing wrong
> with the hardware (what caused the crash?), you could try and move the
> production inetd.conf file out of the way and see if inetd still
> crashes with a minimal inetd.conf.

If you're completely desperate and have no support contract and no
normal means of debugging the problem, I suppose this might possibly
help.

Even if it did help, it would leave me with a queasy feeling in my
stomach if it were my system: how on earth do you know you've really
solved the problem if you haven't discovered the root cause? How do
you know it won't come back later?

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