It’s a ‘Breeze’ with the Client Technology Solutions Group at Cadence

We have been using Breeze to solve install and config issues for our customers, but today Breeze helped me to fix a problem we encountered here in the office. My colleague, Tony, 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.

I used Breeze to trace an invocation of “startx” and pored over it. In hindsight I could have done a trace comparison with a session of my own.  The X Windowing System, X11, is complex but Breeze clearly showed the process.  I followed my instincts and homed in on a process in the session startup called “xmbind”.  I saw that it was opening /grid/~/X11/bindings/xmbind.alias and /grid/~/Linux/RHEL4.0-1H2006-x86_64/lib/X11/bindings/xmbind.alias

Breeze tracing xstart

/grid is a distributed hierarchy we maintain throughout Cadence for the centralisation and propagation of tools and utilities.  My suspicion was that because he had /grid elements in his PATH before system locations, then xmbind was picking up inappropriate key bindings.

“We changed his environment and the problem was solved!  Time between starting to look at the trace and solving the problem: 45 minutes.  I’m happy with that!”

About the author: Steve Robson is part of the Client Technology Solutions team at Cadence.