Case study:

Hardware configuration

The problem:

A customer found that in any new login session on any machine, either at the console or via VNC, he couldn’t type anything in. No characters would display in any terminal, it was as if the keyboard were unplugged. The mouse was fine, and he could log in and type on a non-GUI console.

Hardware configuration

The solution:

The customer used Breeze to trace an invocation of “startx” and pored over it. The X Windowing System, X11, is complex but Breeze clearly showed the process.

He and homed in on a process in the session startup called “xmbind” and saw that it was opening /grid/~/X11/bindings/xmbind.alias and /grid/~/Linux/RHEL4.0-1H2006-x86_64/lib/X11/bindings/xmbind.alias

/grid is a distributed hierarchy is maintained throughout the customer’s company for the centralisation and propagation of tools and utilities. He suspected that because he had /grid elements in his PATH before system locations, then xmbind was picking up inappropriate key bindings.

The result:

The customer changed his environment and the problem was solved. Time between starting to look at the trace and solving the problem: 45 minutes.