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weird behavior of tcsh after upgrade to Fedora 16

asked 2011-12-02 12:36:50 -0500

NicolaC gravatar image


A few days ago I upgraded my Fedora 15 laptop (Dell E4200) to Fedora 16 using the preupgrade tool. Everything went quite well (all data preserved, Windows partition still there and in excellent shape, etc.), except that no user having tcsh set as the default shell can now log in, not even from the command line. No problems at all for bash users.

The best way to see the problem is to log in as root, and simply do: "su -usertcsh" (same also with "ssh usertcsh@localhost) where usertsch is a newly created user with tcsh shell (so as to exclude problems related to incorrect startup or old configuration files). What happens is that the processes tcsh and modulecmd will occupy the CPU almost 100% (with the whole system becoming unsresponsive) and their memory usage will grow up till all the RAM and swap available are used up and they get killed. Here is a copy of the relevant "top" lines, a few seconds before the processes are killed:

top - 19:07:32 up  4:54,  8 users,  load average: 3.07, 2.28, 2.04
Tasks: 151 total,   3 running, 148 sleeping,   0 stopped,   0 zombie
Cpu(s): 66.1%us,  9.1%sy,  0.0%ni,  6.5%id, 17.3%wa,  0.0%hi,  1.0%si,  0.0%st
Mem:   3036428k total,  2961552k used,    74876k free,       88k buffers
Swap:  2047996k total,  1696796k used,   351200k free,    81988k cached

 5527 usertcsh  20   0  733m 395m  260 R 85.6 13.3   2:52.08 modulecmd
 5512 usertcsh  20   0 3579m 2.0g   72 R 51.2 69.2   1:41.54 tcsh

kernel: 3.1.2-1.fc16.x8664 #1 SMP Tue Nov 22 09:00:57 UTC 2011 -- tcsh: tcsh-6.17-15.fc16.x8664 -- bash: bash-4.2.10-5.fc16.x86_64

I can't see any relevant info in /var/log/messages or typing dmesg, except a generic "Out of memory: Kill process 5512 (tcsh) score 679 or sacrifice child".

Does anybody have a clue on what may be going on, or can suggest some more tests to do?

Many thanks


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answered 2012-02-27 12:33:24 -0500

NicolaC gravatar image

Well, the problem has solved itself after various updates. Perhaps installing mpich2-autoload (along with updating the mpich2 package itself) did the trick (see also

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answered 2011-12-02 13:03:10 -0500

What happens if you just run tcsh, without su ?

My only suggestion, other then to file a bug report, would be to

  1. Follow the cleanup page -

  2. You can try to debug with strace.

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Asked: 2011-12-02 12:36:50 -0500

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Last updated: Feb 27 '12