Last week, the default GNOME Classic desktop environment of WS1 started giving hiccups. I was unable to see any medm screens. I restarted the computer assuming that will solve it but then I was unable to login from the graphical user interface. That was weird as I was able to ssh into the computer and do whatever I want. So it seemed that some graphics engine was unable to run. On login screen, after typing in the correct password, a black screen would appear and it would go back to the login screen. This is mentioned in various forums on the internet as "login loop". Taking advice and directions from Jamie, I tried to troubleshoot this to the best of my ability but we both were unsure in the end what was the problem. Our best guess is that installation of LSCsof package upgraded some graphics library beyond the capability of the present system. I tried all different desktop environments and I was able to login only through GNOME on Wayland (supposedly bleeding edge for debian 8). Another mystery is that I found medm uninstalled from the computer. I installed it back with:
sudo apt-get install medm
And I found that GNOME on Wayland is still usable option. After some more discussion with Jamie, I decided to upgrade the OS to next stable version debian 9. I followed the instructions on:
to dot and have successfully upgraded to debian 9. However, still only "GNOME on Wayland" is the only desktop environment through which we can login without facing a login loop
On another note, I found today that clicking the scroll button over a medm channel screen (which ideally displays the channel name) freezes the computer. The mouse pointer disappears and the computer does not respond to anything. Again, I can ssh into the computer and do anything. This problem goes away on restart.
So bottom line is, the overall system environment of ws1 is becoming messy and old and ideally we should do a clean install of a new os (something like Jon did in QIL). But I was heavily discouraged for doing so as it seemed it will take a lot of time to setup a new workstation.
Due to recent cleanup and upgrades in our computer environment in lab, this workstation ws1 is a mere looking window in the experiment. There are no active scripts that it runs (except a precavity beatnote reading) and the experiment can be carried out without it present as well. However, it is nice to keep a computer loaded with EPICS, nds2, python environments and a screen to carry out day-t-day functioning of the lab.