After investigating a number of Linux distributions I decided to settle on Lubuntu 12.10 as the distribution to replace Ubuntu 10.04 on my Dell Inspiron Mini 1012 netbook. In the brief period I used it away from the television I didn’t run into any issues with the user interface/LXDE hanging on me. Only when I run XBMC do I seem to run into issues. At this point I’m unsure if it’s LIRC, XBMC, or changes to Xorg that are causing the problem.
What I have found is that most of the hanging seems to occur when using the HP Windows Media Center remote in XBMC. I can’t pin-point exactly when the hanging occurs because it seems random. XBMC hung once right after I clicked Videos > Files. Another time it was fine, I happily clicked info and fetched info for over a half dozen movies before it hung. Then it hung after I answered the 10th question in the Programs > Movie Quiz plug-in. I’m thinking the problem isn’t related to my hard drives. The netbook hard drive checks out both using smartctl and the Disks utility in Lubuntu. The USB external hard drives don’t report any errors in dmesg.
When XBMC hangs, it locks me out of being able to switch to a terminal. However, I can ssh in to the XBMC machine and kill two XBMC processes to get the Lubuntu desktop back. This suggests to me that the problem lies with XBMC 11.0. However – XBMC 11.0 worked beautifully on Ubuntu 10.04, so I’m left scratching my head.
The crashes are frequent enough that using the XBMC machine is really painful. It happens all the time and in short time. I managed to get a XBMC crash log once, but none have been recorded since. At one point I also got a core dump, but this may have been because I killed the second XBMC process first.
I’m going to try removing the stock XBMC 11.0 and use the PPA for 12.x next.