SUMMARY: Unusual shelltool core-dump

From: Syed Zaeem Hosain (
Date: Tue Nov 30 1993 - 20:21:47 CST

The original message:

Platform: Sun IPX
OS: SunOS 4.1.3
GUI: OpenWin 3
Tool: shelltool (really cmdtool since shelltool is a link)

I am experiencing an unusual problem with shelltool, in OpenWin 3, that
I hope has a quick and simple solution.

In a shelltool window, when I enter "clear" followed by a return, and
if I then enter other characters from the keyboard *before* waiting for
the screen to finish clearing, I *occasionally* get a core-dump. If I
am typing quickly, this gets to be a real pain in the neck when the
shelltool window disappears from the screen. Of course, this always
occurs when you least want it too! :-(

What is causing this? Are there any patches available that prevent this
silly problem from occurring? I did a little bit of a search but did
not see anything that seemed to fit the bill.

The Cure(?):

Still somewhat unknown, but a combination of two patches (see later)
plus an alias for clear ("echo ^L") seems to be working so far. If I
do not observe any problems, I will assume that this has fixed it for
the nonce.

Extraction From Responses:

0. Others have seen it this symptom too.

A number of respondees did mention that they had also seen this problem
occur on their environments, so I am not OTL (praise the Lord

1. Don't use shelltool - switch to xterm.

Well, I kinda like shelltool, so I am not sure this is a *totally*
viable recommendation <grin>. Of course, if the crashes persist, then I
will have to think about it. :-)

2. Cmdtool may have limited size buffers, crashes when it fills up.

Possible I suppose, but I am using the shelltool symbolic link to this
program, so the scroll-back buffers are not even being used. Plus the
program crash and core-dump can be quite unexpected. Sometimes it has
occurred very shortly after I opened the window, so ... I do not think
this is it. The respondee also felt the same way too after queried

3. Extra chars may be interpreted as ^D. Try setting ignoreeof.

This did not seem to have any effect. I tried it, and still got one
shelltool crash for certain with it on. So, this is not a workaround

Plus, if the window simply "disappeared", as would occur with simply
pressing a control-D, then I would not expect to see a core-dump, but I
do, so this is another indication that the problem is something other
than this.

4. Try tracing the shelltool executable.

Unfortunately, the problem is rare enough that this turned out to be a
real pain to do. I tried it for a 6 hour period without any problems,
and it severely impacted my use of the system, so I have decided to
abandon this approach to solving the problem. Sigh ...

5. Suggested workaround: alias clear "echo ^L"

One recommendation was to alias the clear command to echo a control-L
instead of executing whatever it does. This seems to be working, but
the cure may also have been the xview patch I installed. So, it is not
clear (pun intended) what the *real* cure is.

6. There is a related bug reported in Sunsolve:

*Bug Id: 1074004
 Category: xview
 Subcategory: cmdtool
*Release summary: 3.0.1, 3.0
 Synopsis: OW V3 FCS and OW V3.0.1dev Shelltools dump core for no apparent reason
        OW V3 FCS shelltool coredumps, "seemingly" spontaneously.

Unfortunately, I did not find a specific patch to cure this particular
bug. I went looking in the README's at, and it wasn't
there in any of the obvious patches I looked at. I may have to ftp all
the README's and search ...

5. There is a jumbo xview patch that may solve the problem.

I went looking and found two patches that are updated versions of ones
I have installed before. These are patches: 100444-48 (Openwindows 3.0
jumbo patch) and 100943-02 (cmdtool patch).

Unfortunately, the bug ID's described do not seem to be relevant. So I
do not know if these are real cures. But they do seem to be working
(along with the alias for clear).

The Respondees (Thanks!):
adaptec!met@uunet.UU.NET (Met Cirit) (Kevin Sheehan {Consulting Poster Child}) (Mike Raffety) (Tim White)
len@contec.COM (Leonard Mills) (Greg Potts / Systems Admin.) (Steven Dick) (Knut Somme )

Sorry if I left anybody out!

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