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TOPIC: Crashes closing a connection
#868
Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 10 Months ago  
Starting a couple of weeks ago, I get random crashed when the connection is closing ("AbsoluteTelnet has encountered problems and needs to be..."). It happens most often with connections that have been up for an extended period of time (like the entire day or so) and never happens during an open connection - only when the connection is closed. I will try to save more information from the Windows crash-box and post it as well.

Sincerely,
/msa

[ June 09, 2005, 04:11 PM: Message edited by: Brian T. Pence ]
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#869
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 10 Months ago  
Some more infor from the crash-box:

AppName: absolutetelnet.exe AppVer: 3.8.0.0 ModName: fortilsp.dll
ModVer: 1.6.140.0 Offset: 00003c48

Running Windows XP SP2 with all the latest and greatest(?) fixes/plugs/patches.
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#870
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 10 Months ago  
Big chunk from the file collected by the system:

<SNIP>

Large chunk snipped because it makes this thread hard to read.

[ June 10, 2005, 10:10 AM: Message edited by: Brian T. Pence ]
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#871
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 10 Months ago  
Mattias,

Did you recently install FortiGate? It seems to be failing in their dll (fortilsp.dll). Did the beginning of the crashes coincide with the installation of this or any other product?

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#872
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 10 Months ago  
Hi Brian,
I have been running FortiGate (VPN-solution for my work) for the last year without any problems. My guess is that there is something with the combination of FortiGate and any of the latest fixes from Microsoft. I will try to find an update to the FortiGate software as well.

Will keep you posted!
/msa
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#873
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 10 Months ago  
Because the failure point is identified as being within the fortigate dll, the failure information you posted gives me no information on what Absolute was doing at the time of failure.

Can you reproduce the error "at will"?

Can you run a debug version for me and let me know the results?

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#874
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 10 Months ago  
It seems to be rather frequent so I should be able to see something with the debug version. Sadly, it is isolated to AT, I am running Cygwin and SmartFTP for extended periods with no strange crashes. Please provide me with details of where to find the debug version and I will give it a try.

/msa
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#875
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 10 Months ago  
The difference may be in the fact that telnet & ssh sessions hold open connections for long periods of time. Web & FTP applications may be open for a long time, but the time spent in an active connection is fairly short.

I'll try to get a debug beta off to you tonight. I'll be working late. In the meantime, can you see if enabling keepalives changes your results at all? (Options->Properties->Connection) My guess is that after somer period of inactivity, FortiGate loses track of the open connection. Further activity on the connection causes a failure. If this assumption is correct, keepalives will help, but the issue should still be taken up with FortiGate tech support.

Brian
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#876
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 9 Months ago  
Keep-alives are enabled per default (60 seconds for SSH1 and SSH2 connections).
I hear that you have never been speaking to FortiNet's support :-)

/msa
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#877
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 9 Months ago  
I'm sure they're not quite as responsive as I am. ;-)

I've got the debug version ready. The version number is 3.85 RC10. The link below is a link to the program executable only. Just copy it to your desktop and double-click it to run.

My hope is that the error box that Windows throws up will contain more detailed information on the location of the error. If not, we'll have to start switching on some debug flags. More on that later.

Try it out and let me know the results.


download it here

Brian
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#878
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 9 Months ago  
Any Word?

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#879
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 9 Months ago  
Sorry for the delay... Link bad - does not work, goes to the standard download page. :-(
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#880
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 9 Months ago  
Sorry about that.

Here's the correct link:

http://www.celestialsoftware.net/telnet/AbsoluteTelnetBeta.exe

You'll want to rename it AbsoluteTelnet.exe and copy it into the c:program filesabsolutetelnetprogram directory over top of the one that is already there.

Brian
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#881
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 9 Months ago  
OK. Any special settings you want me to enable on the "Debug"-tab?
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#882
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 9 Months ago  
Not at first. Try running it without extra debug flags. When it crashes, the program may provide more information about the location of the crash.

If the crash info doesn't tell us any more, we'll start setting debug flags so we can isolate the location of the crash.

Thanks,

Brian
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#883
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 9 Months ago  
Been out of the office, sorry for the delays with this.
I have been running the debug version for the last week and guess what - not crashes at all. The only thing that has been changed on my computer is that the latest patches from Microsoft have been installed. The FortiGate client is the same etc, etc...

I will continue to run this debug version a couple of days and then we'll see. Could it be something that is enough different in this version that prevents these crashes from happening?
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#884
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 9 Months ago  
It's not unusual for errors such as this to be hard to track down. It wouldn't be the first time I saw something fail in release and not in Debug.

However, it could be that the issue is resolved in 3.85, but was still a problem in the version you were running (3.80). To verify that, run the release version of 3.85 here:

http://www.celestialsoftware.net/telnet/AbsoluteTelnetBeta.exe

Yes, I know it's the same link. I've replaced the file.

Brian
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#885
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 9 Months ago  
Being a programmer myself, I know the pain with bugs like this - add some debugging code (slowing down the program, mitigating timing issues etc.) and everything is running just fine...
I have installed this release and will see what happens.

Will keep you posted,
/msa
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#886
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 9 Months ago  
Hmmm... been running the Beta-release (non-debug) over the weekend and there have been several crashes while closing the connection... The debug-builds must have some serious magic in them... ;-)
Back to square #1...

/msa
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#887
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 9 Months ago  
Mattias,

I went ahead and finalized the new 3.85 version. I was wondering if you could verify that your problem still exists there. Nobody else has reported this.

http://www.celestialsoftware.net/telnet/AbsoluteTelnet3.85.exe

My first priority, now, is to track this issue down for you. I'm going to have to create a special build that has enough debug to be useful but not so much that the problem goes away. This is my challenge. I'll let you know when I have something ready to look at. Probably tonight.

Brian
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#888
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 9 Months ago  
Mattias,

I have something for you to try:

http://www.celestialsoftware.net/telnet/AbsoluteTelnetDebug.exe

This is basically a release build that contains all of the debug output so I can begin to pinpoint where the crash is occuring. The version number should show 3.86 when it is running. The logfile will be built in c:logfilew.doc

Create a crash, then mail the logfile to me.

Brian
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#889
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 8 Months ago  
Sad but true...
Installed 3.86 a couple of days ago, but still no crash... The debug-stuff is clearly doing its magic...
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#890
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 8 Months ago  
Still no crashes with the 3.86 beta. The logfile is growing but the application is behaving as expected.... grr...

/msa
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#891
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 8 Months ago  
I'm not ignoring you. I'm just not sure where to go from here. I'll probably try another version with less debug in it.

However, because the debug versions WORK and the release DOESN'T, it's very difficult to determine the error. The trick is to get enough debug to be useful without making the problem go away completely. These kinds of shifty bugs are always a pain in the (neck) to find.

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#892
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 8 Months ago  
One other question... Can you tell me exactly how you close the app and how the crash occurs?

Do you use the disconnect button on the toolbar?

Does the app crash the instant you hit the button?

Is the AbsoluteTelnet window still visible when the crash occurs or has it gone away already?

Brian
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#893
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 8 Months ago  
Not to worry, I don't think you ignore me. I understand that this error is hard to find and that it only affects one single user. I know you are working hard on AT and you give great support and listen to your users when it comes to feature reqs etc.

AT is configured to:
Close application on disconnect = NO
Clear screen on disconnect = NO
Allow close while connected = YES
Connect on Open = YES
Save On Exit = NO
... default ... = PROMPT
Autodetect ANSI = NO
Autodetect UTF-8 = PROMPT
Open Log in 'cooked' mode = NO
Overwrite file... = PROMPT

I normally just hit CTRL-D to close the connection and then close the application window. When things go bad, the crash occurs right after CTRL-D was pressed and the screen is cleared (Linux sends a clear-screen when logging out).

Just now I have noticed that there are some issues with this, please see the great motion picture :-) on http://www.tangix.com/AT_clear_screen.avi where the top lines of the terminal window is still there. Could it be some race-condition in the code tearing down the SSH-connection and other parts of AT?

Just my thoughts - I can live with some crashes (it has never, never crashed while connected!!).

Cheers,
/msa
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#894
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 8 Months ago  
Ok, that give me some good info and direction. Originally, I was thinking that the application might be closing and causing an error on the way down. It certainly appears that it might be related to the 'tearing down' of the SSH connection in a way that your system doesn't like.

A couple of questions...

First, regarding the reproducability of the error. Originally, you said it seems to happen more with connections that have been open for a long time and then closed. I'm curious if it might be possible that the real distinction is related to the amount of data pumped through and longer running connections have simply been more active. In other words, if you leave a copy running but doing no work, is it less likely to fail? Also, if you have a short-run that is very active, is it more likely to fail?

It's also possible that it might be a combination of both a long-running app with lots of activity that makes it more likely to fail.

Your observations?

Second, I see you're using SSH2. Can you try SSH1 for awhile? Make sure you go back to the non-debug version 3.85 to try this.

Third, Can you try version 3.85 on a machine that does not have the FortiGate client. If the bug doesn't happen on non-fortigate machines, I'll stop trying to reproduce it and attack it another way.

Fourth, Can you try version 2.13 for awhile on the FortiGate PC. It would help to know if this is something that crept into Absolute during some prior revision or something that crept into FortiGate or Windows.

http://www.celestialsoftware.net/telnet/AbsoluteTelnet2.13.exe

Thanks for sticking with me. We'll get this figured out eventually. I hope the crashes are not affecting you too badly.

Brian
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#895
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 8 Months ago  
Oh,

And as for the 'clear screen' issue. I watched the video. A few of the lines had actually scrolled off the top of the screen before you disconnected. The 'clear screen' function only affects what is on the visible screen. That's why you had to scroll up to see them.

I liked the video, though. That's a great way to communicate the problem across the internet. From the video, I can tell exactly which version and RC you are using. I can see what size screen and what type connection and exactly what happens on the screen. Not everyone is great and describing their problem in words! ;)

I've been considering some other technologies for stuff like this, including 'webex' for remote desktop sharing to help diagnose problems. Have you ever tried that?

Brian
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#896
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 8 Months ago  
Some of our external suppliers are using webex to help troubleshoot problems we run into and we have evaluated it ourself for internal use and communication with our customers. Webex is working great over Internet and the compatibility is fantastic, you only need a web-browser. The drawback we saw was the costs of a subscription for webex. You can buy it on a one-by-one basis but then there are some hassels for you and your remote party to set up the connection. Having a subscription allows you to have a link celestial.webex.com and direct all customers there and handle support. Webex allows you to grab control over the client's desktop and fix problems.

In-house we are using Remote Administrator from famatech.com. It works great and enables us (I am working at IT-Support) to see what the use is doing. Remote Administrator is not firewall-friendly and is thus not possible to use with remote clients.

If you see the need of troubleshooting remote clients and do it often, I would try to see if it is possible to get a webex account to an affordable price.

I will install 3.85 and see what happens.

Sincerely,
/msa
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#897
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 8 Months ago  
I managed to catch the crash (I was doing an instruction video for my staff). It is available on http://www.tangix.com/AT_crash.exe

/msa

[ July 27, 2005, 03:59 PM: Message edited by: Mattias Sandstrom ]
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#898
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 8 Months ago  
Perhaps I can create a version that updates the status bar with some kind of indicator as the connection is being torn down. Then, based on your snapshot of the crash, I can tell were the crash occurred. Let me work on this and I'll get back to you.

And another question... I think I asked this before but I didn't get an answer. Do you still believe that the crash is related to the duration of time the connection is active, or is it possible that it is related to total throughput? In other words, is it just as likely for an inactive instance of Absolute to crash after it's been open for a long time?

Have you been able to try these same test on a machine that doesn't have FortiGate?

Brian
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#899
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 7 Months ago  
HA!

I bet you thought I'd forgotten about this. Not a chance!! I've got a new approach to debugging this problem. I'll try to outline it here... What we're going to try to do is a post-mortem debug of the crash using a dump file generated by good ole Dr. Watson at crash time.

First, you'll need to install the latest and greatest beta, which has enough debug info in it to make a useful dump file when it crashes...

http://www.celestialsoftware.net/telnet/...teTelnet3.86RC14.exe

Now, we have to configure Dr. Watson to generate a dump file when the program fails. At a command prompt, enter the following command:

drwtsn32

change the 'crash dump' to c:AbsoluteTelnet.dmp

make sure that the following check boxes are enabled:

dump all thread contexts
dump symbol table
create crash dump file

make sure that the 'crash dump type' is set to 'full'.

Now, wait for the crash to occur. When it does, you'll see the familiar 'something bad has happened' dialog. If there is a 'debug' button on it, hit it. Dr. Watson will now generate a dump file. Let me know when you have it and we'll arrange an ftp transfer or something. It will be quite big and probably won't go through the mail.

With the dump file, I should be able to get a full trace of everything that is happening at the time of the crash.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Brian
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#900
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 7 Months ago  
Hi Brian,
just configured Dear Dr. Watson and downloaded the latest version. Sadly, the RC14 has expired... Is it possible to obtain a new one?

Cheers,
/msa

P.S I know you don't forget things D.S
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#901
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 7 Months ago  
Thanks, Mattias.

The beta just expired today. Here's the latest, which gives us another month to figure this out.

http://www.celestialsoftware.net/telnet/...teTelnet3.86RC15.exe

I'm excited to finally figure out this method of debugging. Known as 'crash dump debugging' or 'post-mortem debugging' To date, my debugging options were either:

1. Reproduce the problem locally and do a live debug session.

2. Reproduce the problem on another machine, and do a live debug session using the remote debugger over the network

3. Guess

None of these make it easy to debug problems that I can't reproduce or completely understand. With the crash-dump debugging, I should be able to more easily address issues that before went unresolved.

Thanks for helping out!

Brian
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#902
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 7 Months ago  
Hi Brian,
none of the three methods are of any use when you have users installing crazy stuff on their computers which may clash with AT. I have downloaded RC15 and armed Dr. Watson and I hope I will be able to provide you with a dump soon. I am currently out of the office, but will return on Thursday but AT may crash even when I am not in the office :-)

/msa
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#903
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 7 Months ago  
Thanks, Mattias!

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#904
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 7 Months ago  
AT is running as happily as ever... :confused: Still waiting for a crash to happen - VPN has not been updated, but Windows patched with latest and greatest.

[ September 03, 2005, 02:55 AM: Message edited by: Mattias Sandstrom ]
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#905
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 7 Months ago  
Argh!!

Oh well, I guess it's better than nothing. There's just enough debug in there to generate a useable crash dump, but I guess it's enough to make the problem go away.

I'll probably end up leaving this additional code in there. It makes the executable slightly larger, but not unbearably so. If it doesn't affect performance too bad, I'll just leave it. It'll probably help me find problems in the future anyway.

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#906
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 7 Months ago  
Well, we both knows what will happen if that debug-code is removed :D ...
If it has too much impact on performance I can live with the crashes.
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#907
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 7 Months ago  
Can you tell a difference?

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#908
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 7 Months ago  
I don't suppose you're using the NOD32 Antivirus package, are you? There is a compatibility issue identified that has ties to NOD32.

This may help us identify the issue here.

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#909
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 7 Months ago  
I am using Symantec Corporate 9.0 Anti-Virus.
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#910
Re: Crashes closing a connection 14 Years, 7 Months ago  
Thanks, Mattias.

I'm guessing now, but there may be a common thread here in that there are these dlls that antivirus software packages typically install that are supposed to scan each tcp/ip socket data for viruses. These services are called 'Layered Service Proveders' or 'LSP's and sit between the Operating System and the application. Apparently, these LSPs (unless they are very well written) can cause instability at the socket layer.

Looking now at the name of the dll in your case 'fortilsp.dll' validates some of my assumptions. Notice the 'lsp' (layered service provider) in the name.

I've had reported now three different situations where there are crashes closing an SSH2 connection. Yours, the fortigate LSP. Another involving NOD32 Antivirus LSP (imon.dll). And another that has yet to be identified.

Apparently, something in the handling of the SSH2 connection socket is unexpected to the LSP layer. I'm still researching it. I actually have a crash dump from my NOD32 Antivirus user, and I'll be investigating that. Hopefully, the benefits will translate over to you as well.

Brian
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