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As many of you know, there is a long-standing problem with Intel Bay Trail processors. Since a particular patch was merged into the Linux kernel, low power states these CPUs attempt to enter are unsupported, resulting in frequent total freezes.

The bug report: Bug 109051 - intel_idle.max_cstate=1 required on baytrail to prevent crashes

The workaround for this bug is to pass a boot parameter disabling the c-states altogether, providing a stable system at the price of slightly faster battery consumption. This "fix" is so characteristic, that it defines the bug; if your freezes aren't fixed by this, then you have a different problem, according to the folks maintaining the bug page.

(Aside: this question Will the Intel Bay Trail CPU problem be fixed in 17.04? was recently asked, and I did some further research, suggesting that the bug could be fixed by 17.10)

Some time ago, with some modly assistance (chat transcript FTR), all the posts I could find about the c-state bug were closed against: System freezes completely with Intel Bay Trail - since OP seemed to have vanished, I edited the post liberally, aiming in the title to capture what people searching would type in not knowing the cause for their freezes, and what reviewers would recognise when they do know something about it. It's my answer, so I'm maintaining that.

Now, since this was done I have tried to close new posts about it against that one too, as was the original plan. But I have found that, unless OP clicks the button to agree with the duplicate, it is hard work to get them closed. For example, I recently voted to close these two and my CVs have aged away :/

I sometimes see such posts being closed as duplicates of What should I do when Ubuntu freezes? which to my knowledge has no answer about the c-state bug (although it probably should have such an answer, I would argue against closing the specific c-state problem posts against this giant catch-all)

Apart from the fact that the CV queue is apparently getting a bit out of hand since its impressive December low (thanks to Zacharee1's efforts and the vague promise of hats), I wonder what is stopping people from voting to close these posts as duplicates. Is it lack of awareness about the c-state bug, or is it something that needs fixing about the target? Is it because I'm voting to close as dupe of a question I answered myself? Or do people think such posts should not be closed for some reason (I think I'm going to disagree if that's the case, but I want to hear the reasoning)? What can be done to handle questions about this in the best way possible?


TL;DR

How should we handle questions about freezes caused by the c-state bug (given that OP will not know the cause - if they did, they would know the characteristic workaround)? The plan was to close these questions as duplicates of System freezes completely with Intel Bay Trail but community support/awareness hasn't generally been sufficient to make that happen consistently so far.

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    FWIW, Seth and a few others keep an eye on the Ubuntu Regulators chat room, where you can post easily-closeables like these. – muru Mar 5 '17 at 7:14
  • @muru thanks for that! I don't know why it never occurs to me, since I peek in there myself from time to time – Zanna Mar 5 '17 at 7:56
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This is an interesting question and worthy of some thought.

All systems have there strengths and weaknesses and ours is no exception (no offense intended to the devs). Sometimes thinking outside the box and using the tools available within the framework in perhaps unintended ways can be effective.

One way to deal with the closing of these questions as duplicates of What should I do when Ubuntu freezes? would be to edit the top rated Community wiki answer to add I have a Bay trail CPU and provide a link to your working answer. This is something you could do without moderator assistance. This is the option I chose.

This would seem simplest to implement and also to revert (by removal of the link) once the bug is squashed. The danger here is that someone edits the link out of the answer prematurely.

  • Hmm, creative solution :) +1 – Zanna Mar 6 '17 at 16:56
  • @Zanna If you think so, I'll be happy to edit accordingly. I don't think I'd be beaten too severely for doing so. ;-) – Elder Geek Mar 6 '17 at 17:00
  • Haha certainly not by me :D – Zanna Mar 6 '17 at 17:11
  • @Zanna Mission accomplished. – Elder Geek Mar 6 '17 at 17:11
  • Deleting obsolete comments on this post... ;-) Always glad to help. It's why I'm here. – Elder Geek Mar 6 '17 at 17:14

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