how does linux suck? let me count the ways

Check out this totally random way my machine has decided to misbehave today:

As far as I can tell, it's as if every GL request to draw a polygon has been shifted by one point: so if it was trying to draw ABCD, it is instead drawing BCDE. This happens for every GL program. Why? How? Who knows. Maybe if I reboot, it will go away. I haven't seen this particular insanity before. I've seen shading randomly stop working on scenes that have a second light source; I've seen the back buffer vanish; I've seen DRI turn itself off; I've seen attack ships on fire... no wait, that wasn't me. It does this kind of thing totally at random. I've even had the video card (a G450) get into failure modes where the only way to un-fuck it has been to power the machine down: rebooting was insufficient. Happy happy joy joy.

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10 Responses:

  1. ciphergoth says:

    Isn't this PC hardware sucking?

  2. underwhelm says:

    I suppose because the RAM state in the video card is maintained through a warm reboot.

  3. I have seen this sort of insanity before, on a G400 under Windows; cold rebooting has always fixed it. My guess would be wonky hardware, maybe triggered by a driver bug, but more likely triggered by a memory chip just deciding one day that it couldn't go on.

  4. waider says:

    Actually, I'm just looking at that gears screenshot and thinking, man, that's far neater than the usual gears display. The fish are kinda surreal, too.

    • confuseme says:

      Yeah, those gears are awesome.

      It's a much better fuck-up than the one I usually get, which involves a large colored plane jutting out from one polygon, at random.

      • The last time I had a problem it was firmware... I had a video card which was never meant to be released (an STB Velocity *4200*) but somehow found it's way into the channel, and only had to flash it to the later, "real" product to fix it. Before I did that, most surfaces had the wrong alpha and about one vertex in ten was randomly moved to the viewpoint. Very strange playing Quake that way.

    • aml says:

      yeah, can we get a switch for that in the next xscreensaver release?

    • Yeah, OpenGL fuckups are sometimes neat display hacks by accident.

  5. beerfrick says:

    I've seen just as much random software stupidity on windows.
    Windows software has a tendency to Just Work without much fiddling. When things go wrong, however, the good'ol Boot most of the time is the cure.

  6. compwiz says:

    I've seen a lot worse. Once, my ATI Radeon seemed fine, but as soon as I booted into X, it did this awful awful staticy thing that looked like a TV which was getting barely any reception, even though all the cables were securely connected. Rebooting the machine had no effect (I should have taken a picture of the BIOS bootup screen in bad-analog-reception-looking-mode), but shutting the machine off and turning it back on worked fine.