Friday, 1 October 2010

gconf-sanity-check-2 exited with error status 256

Today I discovered I knew something was wrong before it was wrong. That doesn't make much sense, but let me explain.

One day on my laptop I had a problem with my /tmp directory where the permissions had changed and therefore my user was not able to install applications, etc, etc. I didn't know what changed it, but since I didn't reboot, I just changed the permissions of /tmp back to 1777. Everything happy.

Today, a colleague of mine installed Ubuntu on his desktop. He did the usually good thing of installing all the updates. However after the reboot he got the error listed above and couldn't log into his system. The rather odd error of /usr/lib/gconf2-4/gconf-sanity-check-2 exited with error status 256 didn't really give much as to why this was happening.

We used ctrl-alt-f1 to go into a tty and look around. We tried a few things but nothing seemed to fix it. I did a quick Google search and discovered that others had had this issue even with versions prior to 10.04. The solution?
sudo chmod 1777 /tmp

And guess what? That fixed it. What exactly changed the permissions on /tmp we're not sure, but at least we were able to fix it.


Cancel or Cancel?

I'm not a design guru by any means, but something caught my eye today.

I was on a web screen that gave me the options to click OK or Cancel. Those were the only two choices, which is fine because I was looking at a page that was just displaying my preferences and if I did or didn't make any changes, those were my options. However, when I click "Cancel" I got a popup that said "Do you really want to cancel?" and my options were once again "Ok" and "Cancel."

So, lets recap. Options: "Ok" and "Cancel" - I press "Cancel". Popup: "Ok" and "Cancel".

Now do you see the problem? I pressed "Cancel" the first time, but I have to press "OK" the second time. Why not "Cancel" and "Cancel"?

Granted the question is "Are you sure you want to cancel?" but surely if I didn't make any change there shouldn't be any reason why I'm asked if I am sure I want to cancel.

Note that pressing "OK" doesn't prompt me if I'm sure I want to "OK" the action. It just submits the form and takes me to a completely different page. In other words, I don't get to continue editing my preferences.

Oh well. I guess whoever designed that workflow didn't think anyone would want to cancel their Ok.