02:01:44 <nirik> #startmeeting Basic Troubleshooting of Fedora problems
02:01:44 <zodbot> Meeting started Thu Jan  7 02:01:44 2010 UTC.  The chair is nirik. Information about MeetBot at http://wiki.debian.org/MeetBot.
02:01:44 <zodbot> Useful Commands: #action #agreed #halp #info #idea #link #topic.
02:01:52 <nirik> #meetingname basic-troubleshooting-class
02:01:52 <zodbot> The meeting name has been set to 'basic-troubleshooting-class'
02:02:00 <nirik> #topic Introduction
02:02:14 <nirik> Welcome to the fedora irc classroom.
02:02:46 <nirik> Tonight I will be talking about some basic troubleshooting methods for fedora issues.
02:03:08 <nirik> feel free to ask questions anytime...
02:04:32 <nirik> These methods will often help you figure the issue out.
02:05:13 <nirik> But if they don't they will also give you a good bit of info to pass on to someone trying to help you in a forum or irc or mailing list.
02:06:08 <nirik> We all run into issues or bugs or things not working as we would like.
02:06:36 <nirik> Hopefully this little set of things will give folks ideas on how to track down and solve the issues.
02:07:06 <nirik> Fedora has a good advantage here over other systems as there are tons of resources, groups, etc out there and it's often easy to find information about the problem you are facing.
02:07:31 <nirik> #topic Cause Meet Effect
02:08:08 <nirik> The first thing to do when faced with an issue or problem is to ask yourself: "Did it always do this? Did it used to work?"
02:08:28 <cmpahar> sorry for being late :)
02:08:28 <nirik> If the answer is "yes", then there are a number of things you can do to help isolate it:
02:08:34 <nirik> cmpahar: no problem at all. ;)
02:08:45 * mchua also listening in - has been looking forward to this class
02:08:59 <nirik> 1. Was there an update involved? Perhaps the new version changed behavior or broke something that used to work.
02:09:23 <nirik> You can look in /var/log/yum.log for a log of updates that have been applied to your machine.
02:09:40 <nirik> So if you know when things changed, this is often a very good first step to isolating the problem.
02:09:51 <nirik> 2. Was there a reboot or power outage?
02:10:30 <nirik> Often things change on reboot. Hardware is reinitialized. Things that were updated, but haven't yet been run are run. New kernels that were updated take effect.
02:11:10 <nirik> 3. Was there some admin action that happened? did you run some new command as root/admin user?
02:11:38 <nirik> you can often check the /root/.bash_history if you are running commands from a root terminal and want to make sure about what was run.
02:12:09 <nirik> If the answer to "Did it always do this? Did it used to work?" is "no" then that tells you something as well.
02:12:34 <nirik> 1. Is it something you expect to work? ie, is there an error? or other indicaton that it failed.
02:12:37 <xm4nfedoralinux> hello?
02:12:43 <nirik> welcome xm4nfedoralinux.
02:13:06 <nirik> 2. It's important to note what you expect to have happened and what really happens.
02:13:27 <nirik> Any questions so far on cause/effect information?
02:13:41 <mchua> What if you're not entirely sure what was supposed to have happened?
02:14:02 <nirik> thats good to note as well. ;)
02:14:05 <mchua> Just note "I'm not sure what the intended behavior was, but it's probably not X"?
02:14:28 <nirik> where X is what happened? yes, do note that for sure.
02:14:41 <nirik> which leads to the next topic:
02:14:44 <nirik> #topic Datapoints are good
02:15:10 <nirik> When facing a problem, it's great to gather information so you can try and narrow down where the issue is.
02:15:55 <nirik> There are lots of things you can do to gather more info on computer problems.
02:16:29 <nirik> First, it would be good to know if the issue is software (Fedora) or hardware (your machine)
02:16:40 <nirik> Some tips here:
02:17:07 <nirik> 1. Does the same version of Fedora do the same thing on another machine entirely? (If you have 2 or have a friend to try something for you).
02:17:40 <nirik> Note that if you have another machine thats not running Fedora, you can often boot it on a live media for testing.
02:18:42 <nirik> 2. If you can try another piece of hardware, thats sometimes a good datapoint.
02:19:05 <xm4nfedoralinux> hhmmm.
02:19:06 <nirik> for example if you have a issue with a video card and have another one you could swap in that would isolate if the problem is the particular video card or not.
02:19:31 <nirik> xm4nfedoralinux: feel free to ask questions anytime. ;)
02:19:48 <xm4nfedoralinux> ok
02:20:31 <nirik> 3. Another good datapoint to note if you know it is: does the problem only occur on the current version of Fedora? Or did it happen to you on previous versions.
02:20:42 <nirik> Again you can try an older live media to test this out if you have one handy.
02:21:13 <mchua> nirik: are smolt profiles helpful things to send in, or show to other people, when you're trying to figure out if something is a hw bug?
02:21:15 <nirik> If you find that there is an update that happened at the time of your issue, you can also try 'yum downgrade <packagename>' to go back to an older version.
02:21:33 * mchua doesn't actually know much about smolt, but thought it might be a convenient way to get a bunch of info - not sure though.
02:21:38 <nirik> mchua: you bet. They can be. I have a section on tools coming up. ;)
02:22:15 <mchua> oh! ok, I'll sit back down and not jump the gun then :)
02:22:30 <nirik> 4. If you are dual booting another OS, it's good to note down if the other OS sees the same issue.
02:23:18 <nirik> if both OSes have the same issue (for example a network card doesn't work), then it's a good indicator that it could be hardware or outside the machine.
02:24:19 <nirik> 5. Another good datapoint for hardware/software is to check previous kernels. Fedora keeps several old ones around, you can try booting on them and see if the problem persists.
02:25:34 <nirik> 6. Finally, there are several test type packages out there. In particular memtestx86. This allows you to check your memory for issues. There are also disk and cpu testers. Sometimes they can find hardware problems with software. ;)
02:26:07 <nirik> Any questions on datapoints for hardware vs software?
02:26:51 <Sonar_Guy> nirik: do you cover fpaste --sysinfo?
02:27:02 <nirik> Sonar_Guy: yep. ;) In tools section.
02:27:06 <Sonar_Guy> sweet
02:27:14 <nirik> ok, moving along then...
02:27:26 <nirik> #topic Google is your friend
02:27:46 <nirik> Does your issue give you a error message?
02:28:10 <nirik> If you are having an issue with a GUI app, you may need to start a terminal and run it from there to get some error output.
02:28:59 <nirik> If you do get an error (in a popup, on a terminal, in the program itself), one of the very first things to try is to do a google search on that _exact_ error in "s
02:29:23 <nirik> This often will get you some results of people seeing that same error.
02:29:38 <nirik> If you don't get anything good from that, add " fedora" to your search.
02:29:51 <nirik> then try " fedora N" where N is your fedora version (12 for example)
02:30:17 <nirik> You can of course use whatever search engine you like. :)
02:30:53 <nirik> Next thing to look for...
02:30:56 <nirik> #topic Fedorasolved / Fedora Wiki
02:31:27 <nirik> If the issue you are facing is with Software that is not in Fedora for whatever reason, a great resource is fedorasolved.
02:31:47 <nirik> You can search it from their main page, and/or http://fedorasolved.org/search?SearchableText=yourtexthere
02:32:14 <nirik> The Fedora wiki is also a great resource for errors or troubleshooting.
02:32:26 <nirik> I prefer to search it via google as well as it's native search is not so great.
02:32:35 <nirik> Add a "site:fedoraproject.org" to your search terms.
02:32:56 <nirik> There are some specific fedora wiki pages I would like to highlight for troubleshooting specific things:
02:33:37 <nirik> For issues with the kernel/booting/etc: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/KernelCommonProblems
02:34:16 <nirik> For sound issues: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/How_to_troubleshoot_sound_problems
02:34:29 <nirik> For X/display issues: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/How_to_debug_Xorg_problems
02:34:53 <nirik> For storage/disk/filesystem issues: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Common_file_system_problems
02:35:10 <nirik> There's a slew of others.
02:35:22 <nirik> Search for "problems" in the fedora wiki for the full list. ;)
02:36:22 <nirik> ok, any questions on fedorasolved/fedora wiki?
02:36:49 <randomusr> nirik:  I have one... is there a time when the "'s around the error message fails? (but another search would?)
02:37:09 <nirik> randomusr: well, you can try a few other things there.
02:37:27 <nirik> You can try without the "s around it, but that means any of the terms, so you could get unrelated items.
02:37:47 <nirik> You can also try cutting down the error some, for example:
02:38:22 <nirik> if you get an error: "The foobar line:2885 blew up with the frobniz.c:28821" you could try removing the :numbers there
02:38:52 <nirik> any of those are likely to get you more general items, but possibly still related to your issue.
02:39:14 <nirik> does that help any?
02:40:11 <nirik> which leads nicely into the next topic:
02:40:18 <nirik> #topic Think High level
02:40:56 <nirik> if you can't find any information about your issue from a low level (the exact error) or middle level (the general topic in fedora wiki or fedorasolved), move up to a high level approach.
02:41:19 <nirik> By this I mean: what are you trying to do? whats your high level goal that the issue/problem is stopping you from being able to do.
02:41:51 <nirik> Perhaps you are having an issue with printing in openoffice. As a workaround/additional datapoint, does printing in abiword work ok?
02:42:15 <nirik> this might get you past the problem and at least will get you another datapoint (other thing that works similarly works)
02:42:40 <nirik> Also, this approach can sometimes help with searches for answers to your problem.
02:43:20 <nirik> Where a "foobar segfault in line 27734 at baz.c" doesn't give any hits, a "trying to print with foobar" might find related items that help with your issue.
02:43:38 <nirik> so it's worth trying some searches on what you are trying to do at a high level as well.
02:44:07 <nirik> any questions about a high level approach?
02:44:45 <nirik> ok, moving on then... :)
02:44:50 <nirik> #topic Be a Tool User
02:45:12 <nirik> There are a lot of nice data gathering tools in fedora that can help you gather info about your problem.
02:45:58 <nirik> First off, 'fpaste --sysinfo' can be a good one. This pastes information about your machine to the http://fpaste.org service.
02:46:22 <nirik> Note that this info will only stay there 24 hours, so it's not good for a bug report or longer term issue.
02:46:57 <nirik> It can be good for folks helping you on irc however. Especially if you see a problem, and someone else doesn't (to isolate whats different between your systems)
02:47:10 <nirik> Feel free to try it out and look at the information it uploads
02:47:33 <nirik> (fpaste is installed usually by default in Fedora 12. In F11 you may need to 'yum install fpaste')
02:48:31 <nirik> Next as also mentioned eariler we have smolt.
02:48:53 <nirik> smolt collects hardware information about your machine. It asks to do this in the firstboot setup after you install Fedora.
02:49:54 <nirik> It will give you a url you can give to other folks that explains exactly what hardware you have
02:50:33 <nirik> This is persistent, so it's good for bug reports where you think the issue is a hardware driver, etc.
02:50:43 <etank> can you give an example of how to use smolt?
02:51:46 <nirik> etank: sure. You can do a 'smoltSendProfile -a' to send your profile to the server.
02:51:54 <nirik> it should give you a url there with your info.
02:52:04 <nirik> it seems to not be happy right now tho. ;(
02:52:32 <nirik> http://smolts.org has more info
02:52:40 <etank> thank you
02:52:55 <nirik> no problem.
02:53:01 <nirik> There are a few other similar tools:
02:53:36 <nirik> lshw, lshal, dmidecode, etc. Depending on the kind of info you are looking for.
02:54:02 <nirik> Any other questions on tools?
02:54:09 <fenris02> alsa-info for audio problems
02:54:19 * etank does not have lshw
02:54:36 <nirik> etank: it's a seperate package. You can install it if you like. ;)
02:54:45 <etank> cool
02:54:46 <mchua> is there a list of all these tools somewhere?
02:54:54 <mchua> aside from in the eventual IRC log of this session, I mean
02:54:55 <nirik> mchua: not that I know of. ;(
02:55:15 <nirik> The wiki pages for various types of problems refer to the tools for that problem type...
02:55:27 <nirik> ie, alsa-info would be on the sound problems page (I hope)
02:55:30 <fenris02> mchua, not specifically, but when you start poking around and finding bugs - you may be asked to run various different tools to collect your hardware info
02:55:53 * mchua nods - just wondering how most people find out that these tools exist
02:55:55 <nirik> which leads nicely into the next topic...
02:56:00 <nirik> #topic Getting more help
02:56:13 <mchua> (for instance, I didn't realize there was an fpaste package 'till tonight, though I use fpaste heavily)
02:56:44 <nirik> So, if you have tried google, tried fedora's wiki, forums, fedorasolved, and gathered all this info, what do you do next if you still can't figure out the issue?
02:56:55 <xm4nfedoralinux> whats up with the nouveau driver? why no 3D?
02:57:26 <nirik> Next step would be to gather all the info you have, and do one of several things with it:
02:57:48 <nirik> mchua: yeah, not sure there is a good channel to get info like that out. (Other than classes like this one. ;)
02:57:55 <nirik> xm4nfedoralinux: it's not yet implemented. ;)
02:58:12 <xm4nfedoralinux> it is installed by default, and no 3D on it? even when u enable Desktop Effects?
02:59:04 <nirik> 1. Approach fedoraforum, fedora-list or #fedora irc channel and see if someone there can help you track your problem down. It's great to provide all the info you gathered above. For #fedora you can stick it into a fpaste for easy refering people to.
02:59:21 <nirik> xm4nfedoralinux: correct. It doesn't yet have 3d implemented.
02:59:56 <nirik> 2. You can file a bug about the issue over on bugzilla.redhat.com including all the info you have gathered.
03:00:44 <nirik> Since you have at this point done a lot of work tracking down the issue it should be ready for someone who knows more about that area to help track it down.
03:01:25 <nirik> I see we are running low on time...
03:01:38 <nirik> #topic Q&A
03:01:58 <nirik> So, in general questions on the troubleshooting I have talked about?
03:02:08 <nirik> Any other methods people have used that work well for them?
03:03:13 <nirik> Some links I would like to leave folks with/add to the logs:
03:03:26 <nirik> For irc help: https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Maximizing_Support_from_IRC
03:03:39 <nirik> An old link, but still a good one: http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
03:03:58 <nirik> And one I found not too long ago, but really is great about reporting bugs: http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/bugs.html
03:04:39 * nirik will wait for a few minutes for any additional questions.
03:04:49 <mchua> If you want to learn how to be one of the people in the support channel, are there particular things it's helpful to learn (skills to pick up, tools to try, books to read, useful exercises to work through) to become more support-helpfullike?
03:05:10 <mchua> aside from attending classrooms like this one ;)
03:05:19 <mchua> and generally hanging out in the channel and listening to other people answer questions
03:05:46 * etank mainly watches fenris02 (and others) to learn more :)
03:06:00 <nirik> Sure, tons of things (as each person learns differently), but off the top of my head:
03:06:14 <fenris02> etank, many people know more than i, but speak less.
03:06:19 <nirik> Try and follow mailing lists or other news of the project/stay informed as to whats going on.
03:06:33 <nirik> use Fedora yourself and learn how things work.
03:07:08 <nirik> Watch some pages in the wiki like the common bugs page... then you know about common bugs as they become more common.
03:07:25 <nirik> ( https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Common_F12_bugs )
03:08:16 <nirik> Help out in other areas of the project as well, like bugzappers or qa or docs or marketing... then you can see issues that people in those areas know about and help users solve them.
03:09:26 <nirik> Oh, asking questions is also good. ;) Asking why something works or doesn't...etc. ;)
03:10:16 <nirik> ok, any last questions before I close out?
03:10:38 <randomusr> Not a question, but a comment.  Thanks nirik. :)
03:10:52 <etank> nirik: thank you very much for the fantastic class.
03:10:54 <nirik> Anytime. Thanks for coming everyone.
03:10:58 * etank learned a lot tonight
03:11:19 <nirik> #endmeeting