Thank you nrickert & larryr. You’ll forgive me if I seemed to have an attitude but on all kinds of forums it’s been my experience that there are people who have ACTUALLY seen a problem. They may not have the solution but they can at least give relevant comment. There are other people who, like the drunk on the next bar stool (I tended bar about 20 yrs ago), just want to talk & have little of value to offer.
What follows is a lot of background. My current question is in the last paragraph or so, if you want to skip my story/drivel.
I’m not a computer professional but my ‘literacy’ began in the 1960s when, in 8th grade I was sent to a Saturday computer school at IIT in Chicago. At that time, we never saw the machines as they were the size of a building & under lock & key. All we dealt with were IBM punch cards. Basically, they taught us BASIC, gave us cards punched with instructions & data, we were to put the cards in order & turn them in. If the cards were in proper order, they ran & we got a print out. If not, we got the cards back & a chance to reorder them. For me, the concept of looping execution with if/then statements was irresistible.
In the 70s, when the Timex Sinclair came out for $100, I was hooked. Next was the Actrix, a Compaq suitcase clone the size of a typewriter. Screen & floppies in front, printer & modem cups on top. From there on all I could afford was used equip, which is why I have so much. I have so many machines because, years ago, each machine ran better & faster if I only used them for 1 or 2 processes each. Now I just separate data, video, & mail on different machines. The controlling machine on my desk is fast enough for random, intense multitasking…50-100 windows on 15 desktops at a time.
So now I’m 71 & short on patience sometimes.
At any rate, again thank you both for your replies. Your answers were helpful if only to establish you’re the type of people I’m looking for.
I’m quite surprised you say there is a recovery mode for 11.x. Either I never noticed or, because I never needed it, I don’t remember seeing it. But that is good to know. (Coming back from 3 paragraphs down, this seems to be a good place to insert the fact that, also I may not know because I think all of my 11.x machines are single boot so there is no boot menu showing the recovery mode. I apologize for not checking those machines now but those machines are so stable, they are located in odd places. To see the boot menu I’d have to reboot, & that can mean an awkward process because of the location of the machine. As I’ve said, those machines are rock solid. They run for years at a time without attention.)
Next, it has occurred to me that there might be a problem with drives, but if there is, it’s not hardware. I’ve had this problem with brand new drives, rotating disks & SSD, older drives also. But every time I’ve tested with smartctl, nothing fails. This has led me to wonder if there is some timing problem, machine language instruction problem, or OS glitch which causes a failure…but I have no evidence of this.
The next variable added to the New/Old x HDD/SSD mix is encryption. I too have always set the / & /home directories on one, unencrypted physical drive or partition & my data (basically, everything else) on a separate physical, encrypted drive or partition. The earliest reason I had for doing this was simply Windows upgrades…never because of crashes, though when I started the segregation, I realized it would be a benefit if something crashed.
My next thought is that something is happening with the OS as, in addition to the unrecoverable crashes, when I moved to SuSE 12.x or 15.x, I found I had an inability to mount external (on other machines on my LAN) drives on my controlling machine. Under 11.1-11.4 I was able to mount external drives on my controlling machine. This allowed me to write directly to the external data drive from the program I was using. Without mounting the drives, I have to save the data file, then copy it to the external machine. That winds up being Waaaaaaaaaaayy more that a doubling of effort. I can elaborate on that if you ask, but for now, take my word for it. It’s a serious pain. (I’ve since come to suspect some kind of ssh problem, but I haven’t had time to investigate this.)
This traced to the fact that, under 15.1 & 15.2, smb, the Samba daemon is not loading on my desk (controlling) machine. I have NO clue as to why it will not load.
Beyond that, I’m experiencing transient, varying changes. Things that come & go. For instance, Samba would work between some machines & not other. And it would change. Some machines today, others tomorrow. I imagine it was not exactly random, but try as I might, I could find no pattern to try & trace down.
Then suddenly I was able to access external machines in the Network folder. Turns out they were showing up as SFTP drives…which allow me to access the drives/data, but NOT mount them, which is why I have to copy the data files (mostly correspondence or spreadsheets) to my desk, work, then copy them back. That, I have an idea is some sort of SSH problem…either a key, or an implementation fault.
Most recently I’ve found an inability to copy files. When the users are the same, I can’t copy because I don’t get a dialog box to enter the user ID & password. When the user permissions are different, even if I change the permissions, I can’t copy. Again I think that’s because I’m not getting the ID/password dialog box. To cure this I have to reboot.
I generally leave all my machines running 24/7 because it takes 15 min just to start them all. I like to be able to walk into my spare bedroom & google something whenever I want.
I have done little in the way of examining logs after crashes. When I’ve tried, the logs are voluminous & when I’ve gone through them I found nothing…so I stopped doing it. Plus, I had no idea of what I was looking for, so it seemed a waste.
****** The one thing I found under Leap 15.1, along with “enter password for recovery or ctrl D to continue” is a “bad or missing mtab” message. I have not seen the missing mtab thing under 15.2. I have not found a way to fix the mtab problem. *******
This is now getting to the present. And I might add here, that, in the rare case I had an 11.x ext2 crash, I found that all I had to do was run fsck on the root partition & that fixed everything. Once they released ext4 (or whatever version it was), I almost never had a crash. I assumed the journaled file system almost completely took care of data corruption due to interrupted power crashes.
But under 15.x I have not been able to recover from a crash in any way. When I am able to fsck the root, it generally gives me the bad super block message, & using the recommended numbers gets nowhere.
My 11.4 machines are Gnome, which I found exactly what I needed. When Gnome dumped the classic desktop & went to 3.x I found Gnome totally useless & I switched to KDE Plasma with the animation effects turned off.
My desk/controlling machine is a Mini-ITX board, AMD A6-3650/Radeon x86-64, 8Gig memory, Seagate 320Gig + 2 WD 7.25Tb.
The machine I just bought is a Lenovo IdeaPad, Pentium 6405U, 4Gig memory, 1Tb SSD. Delightfully fast for a Walmart Black Friday $150 special…though I replaced the 218Gig SSD with a $150 1T SSD. I tried expanding the encryption for the first time to include /home but when that machine suffered the crash within hours of installation, I decided that, as I suspected, encrypting the home directory was just way more trouble that it’s worth.
I’m using LG GP50NB40 & SP80NB80 USB DVD burners.
I’m seriously thinking of just installing a dual boot 11.4 & 15.x on all my machines as reinstallations come up. I can do all the writing & spreadsheets I want on 11.4 & just boot to 15.x when I want to use FireFox. I have the feeling that I will find the reboots too time consuming & I would wind up with 2 machines on my desk. But the dual boot will work in the Lenovo which I bought for the road.
That’s all I can think of for now. (Probably waaaaay more than you wanted)