SUMMARY: SPARCprinter hanging

From: Glenn Carver (
Date: Sat Sep 19 1992 - 14:48:29 CDT

Thanks for all the replies to this problem. I've got enough to try and fix it.
It seems this has been found by quite a few people.
had posted a summary several months ago which I'd missed, apologies for that,
but I don't think his summary had the answer for me.

The problem is caused by the SPARCprinter driver hanging in disk wait state.
I had a reply, which I think has hit the nail on the head, from Mark
Ferraretto but I've not had the opportunity to try it. His suggestion is below.

Some people offered suggestions on how to clear the stuck process without the
need to reboot:

1. Use lpc commands : restart sparc, clean sparc etc in various combinations.
   This has never worked for me...

2. Reload the printer by : sh /etc/load.SPARCprinter. I also tried this but
   it didn't work. HOWEVER, the next step after reloading should have been to
   run the ptst program in /usr/SPARCprinter/diag which is supposed to reset
   the SBus card. The printer has not stuck since so I've not tried it.

Then there is the list of suggestions to cure the problem:

3. Several people suggested Newsprint v2.0. However, Marc's original posting
   showed he had the same problem with Newsprint v2.0, so that's not
   necessarily the answer. I also don't believe in buying the latest version
   of software just to fix problems with the first.

4. Patch the small_openwin that came with Newsprint. Marc's summary also got
   the list of suggested patches which are:

100176-10/README:Synopsis: OpenWindows 2.0: Patch release 2008-09 for X11-NeWS server
100293-04/README:Synopsis: SunOS 4.1.1: write system call is returning EINTR
100351-01/README:Synopsis: NeWSprint queue hangs up when out of paper
100444-12/README:Synopsis: OpenWindows V3.0 xnews Server Patch 3000-18

   However, Marc replied that he'd followed these patches up and didn't think
   they were relevent to this problem.

But the solution in my case is probably ...

5. Mark Ferraretto found this problem was caused by the machine running out
   of swap/memory. His original configuration was an IPC with 24Mb RAM and
   60Mb swap (and I've got 24Mb RAM, 40Mb swap). By having 180Mb swap, his
   problem went away.

   I strongly suspect that this is the cause of my problem, since the problem
   only occurs when someone is working on the machine running OW3 and probably
   something running in background. Probably also explains why it only occurred
   when we went to OW3, since the machine now has two xnews processes running.
   First chance I get, I'm going to increase the swap space.

Glenn Carver Email:
Atmospheric Chemistry Modelling Group Phone: (44-223) 336521
Chemistry Department Fax : (44-223) 336362
Cambridge University

Thanks to :

From: Mark Ferraretto <> **STAR PRIZE**!
From: "Marc P. Rinfret" <>
From: (Jeff Martin)
From: ups! (Kevin Sheehan {Consulting Poster Child})
From: ups!upstage! (Glenn Satchell)
From: Jim Lick <>
From: (Danielle Sanine)
From: (Leigh Hume)
From: (J. Theuerkauf)
From: (William Unruh)

Original message :

> I have a problem with a SPARCprinter that I don't know how to fix.
> I have an IPX running 4.1.1 + OW3 with a SPARCprinter served by NewsPrint 1.0.
> When we upgraded to OW3, I switched NewsPrint to use the small_openwin
> package that came with the software as NP v1.0 is not compatible with OW3.
> Ever since then, our SPARCprinter hangs very regurlarly, couple of times a week.
> I am fairly certain (although I have not checked it) that the printer hangs
> when a user deletes a currently printing job.
> The symptoms are that the lpq command gives :
> waiting for sparc to become ready (offline ?)
> Rank Owner Job Files Total Size
> 1st glenn 309 /.cshrc 146 bytes
> and a quick look at what's going on reveals that a process has got stuck in
> disk wait:
> 4044 ? D 0:01 /usr/newsprint/printer_classes/SPARCprinter/bin/engine_ctl_SPARCprinter
> This process is doesn't respond to kill -9 and the only way I've found of
> getting the printer going again is to reboot the machine. This is very
> inconvenient as the machine also has long background processes running all the
> time.
> Has anyone seen this before and know what the solution is?
> The only patches I have on the system are those that came with Newsprint.
> Thanks for your help. I'll summarise.

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