Patch 125720-03 on Ultra 40

I thought I should blog about this just in case, like mine, your desktop monitor (temporarily) becomes no better than a cheap terminal!

My Ultra 40 came pre-installed with S10U3, and I have been keeping it up-to-date with all of the latest security and recommended patches using Sun Connection Update Manager. A few days ago, Sun released patch 125720-03 as a security fix for the Xorg server, so I duly installed it like any good admin should ;) along with a couple of other security fixes which came out the same day.

The problem was that after rebooting, the window system did not start up, and what was worse was that I could not get the console login prompt to login to find out why. The moniter showed the normal message indicating that the X server was being started, but other than flashing a couple of times, it did not start or exit to allow me to find out what the cause was.

Luckily, I have my trusty laptop hanging around, so I logged in from there, figured out which patch was the likely suspect and removed it. Within a few seconds, the X server started up and we were up and running again. A quick poke around in /var/dt/Xerrors showed the following:

Backtrace:
1214:   /usr/X11/bin/Xorg :0 -depth 24 -nobanner -auth /var/dt/A:0-vCaiJb
 fef70b47 read     (a, 8047950, ff)
 080e391d xf86SigHandler (b, 0, 8047b20) + ed
 fef7013f __sighndlr (b, 0, 8047b20, 80e3830) + f
 fef666ed call_user_handler (b, 0, 8047b20) + 22b
 fef6686d sigacthandler (b, 0, 8047b20) + bb
 --- called from signal handler with signal 11 (SIGSEGV) ---
 feab7443 _nv000949X (f9e00000, 4b00780, 2000, 1820, 842e484, cafe0001) + c3
 00000000 ???????? (0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 20)
 feb86948 ???????? ()


Fatal server error:
Caught signal 11.  Server aborting
This seems to indicate that the X server is crashing whilst trying to access the nVidia driver (that's a guess, BTW).

I logged a bug about this 6565662 which was handled very efficiently by the engineering group responsible for the nVidia drivers and it turns out that this is an issue with the particular version of the nVidia X driver installed on my machine:

pkginfo -l NVDAgraphics
   PKGINST:  NVDAgraphics
      NAME:  NVIDIA Graphics System Software
  CATEGORY:  system,graphics
      ARCH:  i386
   VERSION:  1.0.8776,REV=2006.10.16.22.33
   BASEDIR:  /usr
    VENDOR:  NVIDIA Corporation
      DESC:  X and OpenGL Drivers for NVIDIA Quadro graphics
    PSTAMP:  builder2920061016223323
  INSTDATE:  Feb 27 2007 09:54
   HOTLINE:  Please contact your local service provider
    STATUS:  completely installed
     FILES:      115 installed pathnames
                  26 shared pathnames
                  34 directories
                   5 executables
I had version 1.0.8776 installed, but the Xorg server in patch 125720-03 requires a facility of the nVIDIA driver which is not available until later releases, so an upgrade to the nVIDIA driver was required - to at least 1.0.9637.

If you work for Sun, you can get the updated drivers from here. Otherwise, you need to visit nVIDIA.

I have it on good authority that the README for patch 125720-03 will be updated to reflect this dependency in the patch installation instructions.

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