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Mysterious emacs failure

From: Denny Dahl
Subject: Mysterious emacs failure
Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2005 12:47:30 -0400

I am data warehouse consultant who has been working at a large insurance company
for 18 months.  On my first week of work, I downloaded, configured and compiled
emacs for several of the AIX boxes here.  I have been using emacs on one particular
server quite productively for the last 18 months without any problems.  Up until
Thursday of last week.
I took off Friday to attend my 30th high school reunion and returned to work this
morning.  The box had been booted during my absence: a pre-meditated re-boot so
that a particular software package (Ab Initio) could be upgraded.  Now, emacs no
longer works.  In fact, it dies a horrible death at start-up like this:
tlmitnu1:ddahl> emacs
Segmentation fault(coredump)
tlmitnu1:ddahl> ls -l core
-rw-r-----   1 ddahl    abinitio   11360307 Oct 17 12:33 core
If you can provide me any clues or ideas about things to investigate, I would be
very appreciative.  Here is some additional information.
OS particulars:
tlmitnu1:ddahl> uname -rv
1 5
tlmitnu1:ddahl> uname -a
AIX tlmitnu1 1 5 0029334A4C00
tlmitnu1:ddahl> cat /etc/motd
*                                                                             *
*                                                                             *
*  Welcome to AIX Version 5.1!                                                *
*                                                                             *
*                                                                             *
*  Please see the README file in /usr/lpp/bos for information pertinent to    *
*  this release of the AIX Operating System.                                  *
*                                                                             *
*                                                                             *
DEOS Infrastructure Version 2002-Q2-aix installed (08/13/2003)
DEOS v2002-3-aixuvscan (09/23/2002)
deos_unix_ECCmstagt_prod_s-2003.1 installed on 10/14/2003
DEOS Infrastructure Version v2004-3-alerts installed  (09/14/2004)
I've run emacs under the debugger and single-stepped my way to the general area
where the signal happens.  In rough outline, there is a variable (__malloc_hook) found
in src/gmalloc.c and this is supposed to contain the address of a function.  But when
the program attempts to execute code at this derefeneced address, it finds unreadable
tlmitnu1:emacs-21.3> dbx src/emacs
Type 'help' for help.
reading symbolic information ...
(dbx) stop in main
[1] stop in main
(dbx) run
[1] stopped in main at line 714 in file "src/emacs.c" ($t1)
  714     int skip_args = 0;
(dbx) step
stopped in main at line 737 in file "src/emacs.c" ($t1)
  737     sort_args (argc, argv);
(dbx) step
stopped in sort_args at line 1651 in file "src/emacs.c" ($t1)
 1651     char **new = (char **) xmalloc (sizeof (char *) * argc);
(dbx) step
stopped in xmalloc at line 519 in file "src/alloc.c" ($t1)
  519     BLOCK_INPUT;
(dbx) step
stopped in xmalloc at line 520 in file "src/alloc.c" ($t1)
  520     val = (POINTER_TYPE *) malloc (size);
(dbx) step
stopped in gmalloc.malloc at line 891 in file "src/gmalloc.c" ($t1)
  891     if (!__malloc_initialized && !__malloc_initialize ())
(dbx) step
stopped in gmalloc.malloc at line 894 in file "src/gmalloc.c" ($t1)
  894     return (__malloc_hook != NULL ? *__malloc_hook : _malloc_internal) (size);
(dbx) print __malloc_hook
(dbx) print *__malloc_hook
(dbx) step
Unreadable instruction at address 0x2c030000
(dbx) where
ptrgl.$PTRGL(??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ) at 0x100adf64
gmalloc.malloc(size = 0), line 894 in "gmalloc.c"
xmalloc(size = 0), line 520 in "alloc.c"
sort_args(argc = 42308, argv = 0x000c0002), line 1651 in "emacs.c"
main(argc = 0, argv = (nil), envp = (nil)), line 737 in "emacs.c"
(dbx) quit
The version of emacs that I've been using is 21-3.  In desperation, I downloaded, configured and
compiled a new emacs.21-3 but this newly compiled version failed in the same way as the original.
Thanks in advance for any help that you might be able to provide!
-Denny Dahl

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