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Posts: 89 | Thanked: 41 times | Joined on Jan 2010 @ London, UK
#1
For several months now, I've had an issue where my audio player and video player stop working. The video player would start but stay a completely black screen, no errors and I didn't even get the 4 animated circles while it loads bits to play it. Tapping the screen brings up the buttons and progress bar at bottom as normal but the timeline says 0:00 into playing it and pressing the pause button brings a yellow banner "Unable to perform operation". The audio player would behave similarly.

After a while of this and finding that reboots, and any other reset method wouldn't fix it including restarting the daemon processes, I eventually fixed it by after searching on here by reinstalling packages. But every reboot or battery-swap reverts to the same broken state. File-system issue? Its almost like there's a union fs and the base underlying fs never gets updated when I do the installs, just a (hypothetical) user-presented one which is kept in memory! Or could some process at boot be breaking things?

For others reference, it was reinstalling the following select codec/streamer packages (command-line apt-get with the --reinstall switch) that fixed playing both sound and video:

mafw-gst-renderer
decoders-support

There were also other odd and seemingly random issues. At this point you might suggest backup and reflash, but A) my usb port is one of the broken ones and B) the backup app doesn't work either. It seems random apps have various things missing (files not there) that stops them using either dbus or something else, or config. The player issues are just one example of this, but one of my most commonly used/most annoying ones to be broken. Btw, I can still play videos using kmplayer or sound via a command-line player util (aplay? gplay? player? I forget the program name) and other sounds for alarms etc. work fine.

I forget whether this is expected and approved behaviour, but my SD memory card also always seems to fail to mount read-write mode, and if I want to save anything to it I always need to do a quick "mount -o rw,remount /media/mmc1" in the terminal as its mounted but only read-only.

My fstab for /opt btw, just in case:
/home/opt on /opt type none (bind)

I think these are all perhaps symptoms of a deeper underlying filesystem issue or corruption that could have occurred (I can't remember the details that happened just before these things stopped working but there might have been a lock-up and reset required, or /home getting a bit full - root ('/') was fine, dont think I ever filled that up). Some dbus objects (or python libs for) also seem to have stopped working and files disappeared to support them, but it would take a lot of effort to find out exactly what needs replacing and the basic priority stuff is working again.

Maybe relevant(?): my internal battery has stopped having enough power in between battery changes to keep the time and date on the phone, unless I switch the old one out and the new one in very quickly in a seamless pop and slide I've got used to doing every day and a half or so on average. Is the internal one a rechargeable battery and the charging has broken, or is that for the life of the phone unless I can replace it (can you get at it to do that)?

I started copying files via network elsewhere to manually backup, or manually onto the SD card, but that just was being too time consuming and killing the battery when I needed to use the phone; I have a recharger and a couple of spare batteries to keep me going at present (my internal battery seems to have died a bit too). I have the original usb port which I might consider trying to fix again, but worries about breaking the whole phone and lack of serious focussed time for it recently again held off that plan (have the soldering iron and a <little> bit of experience with them).

Is it time for a new phone already with all this (bought sim-free)? Has been tempting, but budget disallows that at present - just got married, that kinda expense bubble kills any idea like this.

Its taken a while to write this up here to see if anyone has ideas, to maybe help someone with similar symptoms (or for who the package reinstall works permanently) or who hasn't got as far, as trying to include good relevant info..

Probably crosses lots of topics, and I could have posted this in hardware too or as separate posts but the issues may depend/be related.

Please anyone who can help or who understands the filesystem better and could suggest why the reinstall doesn't stick after reboot? I've got a fair few things installed on it but I can't think if anything might cause this; I used to have smscon but after a previous reflash back when the usb socket existed it never got reinstalled (by saying no to it from the backup's restore process) I'm sure.
 
Posts: 89 | Thanked: 41 times | Joined on Jan 2010 @ London, UK
#2
PS I don't have any alternate-system software installed or in use eg. power-kernel or others, and I haven't upgraded to any community CSSU yet; still on the last official Nokia-provided one (the regular upgrade app is also partly broken too... though the notification of upgrades available works, I can't upgrade them through that or via faster-app-manager). I've been doing all upgrades manually in the terminal, but I'm a capable Linux sys admin and happy with the terminal (one of the reasons I love the N900 still so much, with its real keyboard.. what do I go to after this? not that I'll be able to for a while)
 
Posts: 89 | Thanked: 41 times | Joined on Jan 2010 @ London, UK
#3
Well I figured out the simplest way to fix my audio issue after a clean boot; after a while reinstalling (on command-line using dpkg with --reinstall option) the decoders-support package on every boot, I extracted the debian package and looked at the pre/post install scripts.

Turns out that a mafw start command fixes it, so something isn't running or is dieing that shouldn't be, just at/after system boot.
So now I have a simple command that lets gpodder start and the builtin audio player to work, so as root/via su or sudo I run (in a terminal):

/usr/bin/mafw.sh start mafw-gst-renderer

I don't know why this dies on boot or isn't started - it seems to run fine after I start it, I never need to do it again until the next reboot. So hard to find/trace the process that would normally start it at boot though! Anyone know anything?
 
Posts: 1,522 | Thanked: 2,962 times | Joined on Feb 2011 @ Germany
#4
mafw is normally started with Xsession
(/etc/X11/Xsession.post/32mafw).

It runs the plugins found on /usr/lib/mafw-plugin/*.so.

Check if you have the 32mafw in place. Otherwise you may want to --reinstall mafw-dbus-daemon

Good luck!
 

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Posts: 1,225 | Thanked: 1,886 times | Joined on Feb 2011 @ Quezon City, Philippines
#5
If your USB socket is b0rked, I recommend immediately installing BackupMenu and downloading the rootfs and eMMC images to SD and internal storage.

This way, you will be able to reflash your system to clean PR1.3 without using a USB port, should you ever brick Maemo.

Just a reminder, in case you break Maemo's fragile internals and want to start fresh.
__________________
N9 PR 1.3 Open Mode + kernel-plus for Harmattan
@imblying, working on Glacier for Nemo.
 

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Posts: 89 | Thanked: 41 times | Joined on Jan 2010 @ London, UK
#6
Originally Posted by Hurrian View Post
If your USB socket is b0rked, I recommend immediately installing BackupMenu and downloading the rootfs and eMMC images to SD and internal storage.
Thanks lots for that; yes, I had been worried what I would do if it somehow got bricked; and not able to re-flash stuff as I've been able to do after the PR1.2 upgrade broke it (back when I had working usb). My regular (builtin) backup app is also a bit broken for some other reason (happened same time as this audio system breakdown) and not due to a lack of drive space, so backupmenu seems like a good tool to have. I haven't researched enough what to re install to fix this and a couple of other minor things though.
 
Posts: 89 | Thanked: 41 times | Joined on Jan 2010 @ London, UK
#7
Originally Posted by reinob View Post
mafw is normally started with Xsession
(/etc/X11/Xsession.post/32mafw).

It runs the plugins found on /usr/lib/mafw-plugin/*.so.

Check if you have the 32mafw in place. Otherwise you may want to --reinstall mafw-dbus-daemon

Good luck!
Interesting.. I have a Xsession.post/32mafw-gst-renderer - is that the one you meant or should there be just a "32mafw" instead? I do have a mafw-gst-renderer.so plugin in the mafw-plugin dir too.

That dir looks like a run-parts type sorted runlist of things, I'm a little familiar with Xsession and X init/shutdown scripts but maemo's also a little non-standard in places.

Last edited by jgbreezer; 2012-10-10 at 16:57. Reason: Added more info
 
Posts: 1,522 | Thanked: 2,962 times | Joined on Feb 2011 @ Germany
#8
I have 32mafw (owned by mafw-dbus-daemon) as well as 32mafw-gst-renderer (owned by mafw-gst-renderer).

Can you check with dpkg if you have both packages installed?

Re. Xsession, etc.: yes, Maemo is weird in some (many) aspects, but luckily there's a more-or-less-standard Unix/Linux underneath..
 
Posts: 202 | Thanked: 138 times | Joined on Feb 2010 @ York, Pa., USA
#9
Sorry please go slowly... You can reflash your n900 with a broken USB port?
 
Posts: 89 | Thanked: 41 times | Joined on Jan 2010 @ London, UK
#10
Originally Posted by reinob View Post
I have 32mafw (owned by mafw-dbus-daemon) as well as 32mafw-gst-renderer (owned by mafw-gst-renderer).

Can you check with dpkg if you have both packages installed?
I do indeed have both mafw-dbus-daemon and mafw-gst-renderer packages installed "Status: install ok installed", so dpkg says.

mafw-gst-renderer owns a /etc/X11/Xsession.post/32mafw-gst-renderer files, but the mafw-dbus-daemon package (version 0.3.2010.36-1+0m5) installed doesn't own any files in there; only (from dpkg -L) in /usr/bin, /usr/share, /etc/sudoers.d, /etc/osso-* dirs.
 
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