Skype locks up my system, not even sysrq keys work

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Skype locks up my system, not even sysrq keys work

SanskritFritz
When I do a videochat in skype, the whole system freezes after a
while. This while can be a couple to 10+ minutes. The system locks up
usually when I start or close some other apps in the background. When
it happens the screen doesnt change anymore, and the sound stutters
the last half second over and over again.
Nothing helps, not even the magic sysrq keys (REISUB), which otherwise
do work (tested it).
I suspect this could be a result of a new videocard in the system (the
problem started around that time, when I swapped the old GeForce 7300
GS to a new 8600 GT), but everything else works flawlessly, 3D games,
movies, compiz, everything, except skype. Is it possible that a
hardware problem causes a problem of this magnitude only with skype?
I couldn't find anything in the logfiles after reboot. There is no
overheating of the nvidia card or cpu, I constantly check it with
conky.
Later I'm going to switch back to the old videocard, and test, to see
if it is hardware related.
Please help me to find the problem if software related.
Cheers
SanskritFritz
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Re: Skype locks up my system, not even sysrq keys work

Victor Silva
2012/7/23 SanskritFritz <[hidden email]>

> When I do a videochat in skype, the whole system freezes after a
> while. This while can be a couple to 10+ minutes. The system locks up
> usually when I start or close some other apps in the background. When
> it happens the screen doesnt change anymore, and the sound stutters
> the last half second over and over again.
> Nothing helps, not even the magic sysrq keys (REISUB), which otherwise
> do work (tested it).
> I suspect this could be a result of a new videocard in the system (the
> problem started around that time, when I swapped the old GeForce 7300
> GS to a new 8600 GT), but everything else works flawlessly, 3D games,
> movies, compiz, everything, except skype. Is it possible that a
> hardware problem causes a problem of this magnitude only with skype?
> I couldn't find anything in the logfiles after reboot. There is no
> overheating of the nvidia card or cpu, I constantly check it with
> conky.
> Later I'm going to switch back to the old videocard, and test, to see
> if it is hardware related.
> Please help me to find the problem if software related.
> Cheers
> SanskritFritz
>

Any hint from /var/log/errors? Else any hint from calling skype from a
terminal and observing tty output?

Regards.
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Re: Skype locks up my system, not even sysrq keys work

Mauro Santos
In reply to this post by SanskritFritz
On 23-07-2012 22:27, SanskritFritz wrote:

> When I do a videochat in skype, the whole system freezes after a
> while. This while can be a couple to 10+ minutes. The system locks up
> usually when I start or close some other apps in the background. When
> it happens the screen doesnt change anymore, and the sound stutters
> the last half second over and over again.
> Nothing helps, not even the magic sysrq keys (REISUB), which otherwise
> do work (tested it).
> I suspect this could be a result of a new videocard in the system (the
> problem started around that time, when I swapped the old GeForce 7300
> GS to a new 8600 GT), but everything else works flawlessly, 3D games,
> movies, compiz, everything, except skype. Is it possible that a
> hardware problem causes a problem of this magnitude only with skype?
> I couldn't find anything in the logfiles after reboot. There is no
> overheating of the nvidia card or cpu, I constantly check it with
> conky.
> Later I'm going to switch back to the old videocard, and test, to see
> if it is hardware related.
> Please help me to find the problem if software related.
> Cheers
> SanskritFritz
>

Try some programs that deal only with the webcam, you could try vlc or
guvcview to stream only video from the webcam and check if it hangs.

There are reports that the uvcvideo module needs to be loaded with
nodrop=1 in order to get things to work smoothly, do search in the
forums, I believe I saw something about this there.

--
Mauro Santos
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Re: Skype locks up my system, not even sysrq keys work

SanskritFritz
On Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 12:25 AM, Mauro Santos
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> There are reports that the uvcvideo module needs to be loaded with
> nodrop=1 in order to get things to work smoothly, do search in the
> forums, I believe I saw something about this there.

I can't believe that I did not find this valuable information earlier.
Thank you, that solved this problem.
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Re: Skype locks up my system, not even sysrq keys work

SanskritFritz
On Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 11:49 PM, SanskritFritz <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 12:25 AM, Mauro Santos
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> There are reports that the uvcvideo module needs to be loaded with
>> nodrop=1 in order to get things to work smoothly, do search in the
>> forums, I believe I saw something about this there.
>
> I can't believe that I did not find this valuable information earlier.
> Thank you, that solved this problem.

...and just after I wrote this, the system froze again, after several
hours of skyping :( This time it happened when I opened a movie during
a skype session. nodrop=1 is still on.
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Re: Skype locks up my system, not even sysrq keys work

Mauro Santos
On 25-07-2012 23:20, SanskritFritz wrote:

> On Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 11:49 PM, SanskritFritz <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> On Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 12:25 AM, Mauro Santos
>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> There are reports that the uvcvideo module needs to be loaded with
>>> nodrop=1 in order to get things to work smoothly, do search in the
>>> forums, I believe I saw something about this there.
>>
>> I can't believe that I did not find this valuable information earlier.
>> Thank you, that solved this problem.
>
> ...and just after I wrote this, the system froze again, after several
> hours of skyping :( This time it happened when I opened a movie during
> a skype session. nodrop=1 is still on.
>

I don't know if the graphics card you are using supports video decoding
acceleration and if skype can make use of it, but at least here with the
ati binary blob, I can only get video decoding acceleration for one
video stream at a time, trying to decode 2 videos at the same time with
video decoding acceleration results in a hard crash. I have never tried
with skype and currently I'm using the free drivers so I have no way to
test this. If this is true for your case it should be quite easy to
reproduce.

It might have been just a random crash caused by skype too, since it
isn't the most stable piece of software you can use.

--
Mauro Santos
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Re: Skype locks up my system, not even sysrq keys work

SanskritFritz
On Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 12:34 AM, Mauro Santos
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> I don't know if the graphics card you are using supports video decoding
> acceleration and if skype can make use of it, but at least here with the
> ati binary blob, I can only get video decoding acceleration for one
> video stream at a time, trying to decode 2 videos at the same time with
> video decoding acceleration results in a hard crash. I have never tried
> with skype and currently I'm using the free drivers so I have no way to
> test this. If this is true for your case it should be quite easy to
> reproduce.
>
> It might have been just a random crash caused by skype too, since it
> isn't the most stable piece of software you can use.

Thanks for this valuable advice again. I tested it, and indeed, when I
turn on another video, the system locks up after a while (not
immediately though).
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Re: Skype locks up my system, not even sysrq keys work

SanskritFritz
On Sat, Jul 28, 2012 at 11:03 PM, SanskritFritz <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 12:34 AM, Mauro Santos
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> I don't know if the graphics card you are using supports video decoding
>> acceleration and if skype can make use of it, but at least here with the
>> ati binary blob, I can only get video decoding acceleration for one
>> video stream at a time, trying to decode 2 videos at the same time with
>> video decoding acceleration results in a hard crash. I have never tried
>> with skype and currently I'm using the free drivers so I have no way to
>> test this. If this is true for your case it should be quite easy to
>> reproduce.
>>
>> It might have been just a random crash caused by skype too, since it
>> isn't the most stable piece of software you can use.
>
> Thanks for this valuable advice again. I tested it, and indeed, when I
> turn on another video, the system locks up after a while (not
> immediately though).

Has anyone succeeded to use Pidgin video and audio over gtalk? Jitsi
works but I would like to use Pidgin. I'm trying to move away from
Skype.
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Re: Skype locks up my system, not even sysrq keys work

Mauro Santos
On 01-08-2012 18:48, SanskritFritz wrote:
> Has anyone succeeded to use Pidgin video and audio over gtalk? Jitsi
> works but I would like to use Pidgin. I'm trying to move away from
> Skype.
>

Since no one chimed in so far I'll report what I have tested a while ago.

Pidgin to gtalk didn't work, pidgin to pidgin worked, _however_ some
restrictions seemed to apply.

Background: I'm not a fan of upnp and automagic port forwarding, so I
don't use that and I disable upnp on devices I manage. The tests I have
performed were done using gmail accounts, the accounts' configuration
used were the ones needed get chat working plus specifying static ports
for incoming traffic. I know this influenced the ease of use, but given
that you can't be sure to always connect within networks you manage or
get a public IP with no port filtering I'd say it was a relatively fair
test.

Having said that, what I have found is that both port forwarding _and_
firewalls must be configured correctly for things to work. If I remember
correctly, the side which doesn't have things setup properly (or has
some restriction) will not be able to receive sound/video. This makes it
harder if not impossible to establish a working audio/video call.

Given that not all users are tech savvy and some networks may be managed
by third parties, I'd say that as it is, calls over jingle are not
nearly as easy and hassle free as calls with skype. I know I'm going to
sound like the devil's advocate, but skype actually does a really good
job at hiding and working around all the complexities of establishing a
working connection with someone else, and in a way it is security
friendly as it uses the one static port you configure in the options for
incoming connections.

--
Mauro Santos