Thoughts of a geek

4 November 2009

Fixing VMware mouse grab bug on Ubuntu Karmic

Filed under: Computers — Tags: , , , — qwandor @ 9:23 am

I just upgraded my work machine from Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty) to 9.10 (Karmic) and came across a couple of problems with VMware Player (version 2.5.3 build-185404). It seemed wise to document the fixes I found here so that other people experiencing the same problems might find these solutions when they Google for it.

The first was an error when it tried to launch my VM complaining that the virtualisation extensions of my CPU were already in use, saying “The virtualization capability of your processor is already in use. Disable any other running hypervisors before running VMware Player.” and then a number of other errors. This was fixed by removing the KVM kernel modules:
$ rmmod kvm_intel kvm

The second problem was that the VMware window would lose its mouse capture whenever I moved the mouse pointer outside the top-left of the VM screen (apparently a 640×480 region), unless I had a mouse button held down. This made it impossible to actually use the VM. This was eventually fixed by adding the following line to /etc/vmware/bootstrap:
This forces VMware Player to use its own version of the GTK library rather than the Ubuntu one, which apparently avoids the mouse grab bug.


17 August 2009

An interesting tale of filehandles

Filed under: Computers — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — qwandor @ 10:25 pm

I just found an interesting bug, so I thought it might be worthwhile to share it with these intertubes to prevent other people from making the same mistake.

I was just transferring some more music onto my iPhone with Amarok while at the same time listening to music. I wanted to listen to a particular track (from a Moby album I bought recently), so stopped and switched to that, but Amarok would not play it and complained about the sound device being busy. This seemed rather odd as it had just been playing fine until I tried to change tracks. Wanting to get to the bottom of this, I checked who had what open:

andrew@rata:~$ sudo lsof /dev/snd/*
lsof: WARNING: can't stat() fuse.sshfs file system /media/iphone
Output information may be incomplete.
timidity 4162 root 6u CHR 116,1 4973 /dev/snd/seq
kmix 4511 andrew 10u CHR 116,0 5260 /dev/snd/controlC0
ssh 5605 andrew 16u CHR 116,0 5260 /dev/snd/controlC0
ssh 5605 andrew 33r CHR 116,33 4954 /dev/snd/timer
ssh 5605 andrew 39u CHR 116,16 5236 /dev/snd/pcmC0D0p
ssh 5605 andrew 41u CHR 116,0 5260 /dev/snd/controlC0
sshfs 5609 andrew 16u CHR 116,0 5260 /dev/snd/controlC0
sshfs 5609 andrew 33r CHR 116,33 4954 /dev/snd/timer
sshfs 5609 andrew 39u CHR 116,16 5236 /dev/snd/pcmC0D0p
sshfs 5609 andrew 41u CHR 116,0 5260 /dev/snd/controlC0

I should point out at this point that the way I get Amarok to sync music to my (jailbroken) iPhone is to FUSE-mount the iPhone via SFTP over the network, so that is why SSH was running. But on with the story.

SSH had my sound device open‽ What? That seemed very odd. I wondered whether perhaps there was some new SSH feature I had not heard about to forward sound over the network connection (as it can do for GUI applications using X11), but there I could find no mention of such a feature in the manpage or via Google, nor any possible reason why it might want to open a sound device. I asked lorne, and he was equally confused, but suggested a few things to check.

After a bit of poking around I discovered that I could not replicate this behaviour by mounting the filesystem myself, only when Amarok did it. This prompted a realisation of what must be happening: when Amarok launches sshfs to mount the iPhone filesystem, it presumably does a fork and exec to start the new process. But when you do this, the new process inherits all the open file handles of the parent process. Amarok of course had the sound device open to play the music I was listening to originally, so sshfs and subsequently ssh ended up with the same device file open. Amarok must then have closed it and tried to reopen it when I switched tracks, and this failed because the other processes it had launched still had it open. Of course.

So, lesson of the day: when you fork, remember to close any excess files before you exec. Especially if they are device files or other special files.

I should probably file a bug report for Amarok, but I am not sure that I can be bothered.

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