Saving panel settings

Paul Tansom paul at
Fri Apr 22 12:09:29 CEST 2005

On Thu, 2005-04-21 at 16:21 -0700, Brian J. Tarricone wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> Paul Tansom wrote:
> > On Thu, 2005-04-21 at 22:00 +0200, Olivier Fourdan wrote:
> >
> >>The panel saves its configuration autoatically, why would you like to
> >>"force" a save?
> > 
> > Because in each of my recent crashes (forced reboots from a remote
> > console) I've lost the changes I've made to it in spite of them having
> > been in use for at least half a day. The last but one set of changes I
> > secured by changing and then logging out and restarting XFCE, but the
> > last lot I forgot to do that with. I think it lasted a day or two before
> > the memory usage topped out and X was killed, but the panel changes were
> > lost again.
> The panel intentionally does not save its settings except on a clean
> exit to avoid buggy panel plugins from causing the panel to not start at
> all.  Before this change, you could (easily) get into a situation where
> you add a panel plugin, the config gets saved, then the panel crashes.
> The next time you try to start the panel, it crashes immediately and you
> either have to edit the config file or clear it out entirely to get the
> panel running again.  At least with the new behavior, the panel will
> start again, though you'll lose any changes you've made.

Yes I can see that as a sensible way to work, I was just looking for a
means to save the settings manually.

> As a solution, after you've made changes you want to save, just run
> 'pkill -USR1 xfce4-panel' from a terminal.  That will cause it to
> restart cleanly, and save its config as a side-effect.

That would cover my needs. Is this the same action as is taken when you
right click on the panel and choose the Restart option from the menu? If
so then I'm covered without having to resort to the CLI - much as I like
using the CLI for many things, opening it up for a quick command is not
so appealing! That said it's probably not too difficult to create a
button to do the job for me :)

> >>Regarding memory leaks, it can be a leak in the X server or in the
> >>application, but Xfce won't cause leaks in other applications (ie if
> >>Mozilla leaks, Xfce is not the culprit)
> > 
> > I wasn't actually blaming XFCE. I can watch the memory usage drop away
> > when I close Mozilla, Firefox or Evolution (being the primary culprits).
> > Sadly with the browsers closing windows doesn't help and the memory
> > usage barely drops. There's no equivalent for Evolution so I can't test
> > that, although it has just plain vanished on me a couple of times today
> > - probably a glitch in the latest Debian unstable release! This problem
> > has been going on for a few months now, but seems to be getting worse.
> > I've fully tested the drives and memory otherwise I'd be thinking
> > hardware.
> Actually, I wouldn't think to blame hardware here - I can't see how an
> OOM condition could be caused by bad hardware.  Granted, if you're just
> seeing random crashes, and don't know that they're being caused by the
> OOM killer, obviously you can't rule out hardware in that case.
> Anyway, I routinely have Firefox and Thunderbird running for weeks at a
> time without restarting them.  They *do* leak some amount of memory, but
> never enough to cause an OOM condition.  Perhaps you should consider
> increasing the size of your swap partition, or creating a swap file in
> /tmp (or another location with sufficient free space).  Storage is
> pretty cheap these days.  I have a gig of swap to act as overflow for my
> 640MB of physical RAM.  I've never seen the OOM killer at work.

I guess the comment about blaming hardware was probably more a legacy
from when I first noticed it happening back late last year sometime. It
was then only every week or so, even once a month. More recently I've
investigated further and, as you say, the issue is that the process
using most memory is being killed automatically to keep the system
running (or thereabouts). Unfortunately this is invariably the X server,
which in turn locks me out of switching to the console to recover things
leaving the keyboard and mouse tied to something that is no longer able
to process input and the screen buffer full of a desktop that is no
longer actually active. The machine itself is running fine though.
Unfortunately the only way to regain control of the screen is to reboot.

I should probably look into a means of classing X as a service not to be
killed, or alternatively ensure that other processes are taken out
cleanly to return me to the CLI gracefully. Another option to ensure
better memory management would be to get the handling of my browser
sorted better. I prefer Firefox, but Mozilla seems to be the default set
(and I've not sorted out changing that yet). Additionally Evolution
starts a new window with each link I follow up from an email (usually
new items) and this looks to reserve memory at a rapid rate and not free
it up fully when I consolidate to a single browser window and tabs.

Still, this discussion line of problem is probably more for a LUG or
Debian list and a tad off topic for here :) I'm hoping to rebuild the
system shortly though as I have hardware upgrades and juggling planned.
I'll likely back off to Debian testing too, although unstable hasn't
caused me any major issues so far.

Paul Tansom | Aptanet Ltd. |

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