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Panic! UNIX® System Crash Dump Analysis by Kimberley Brown, Chris Drake

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Chapter 1. My System Has Crashed!

What is a system crash?

Since the beginning of time, midnight January 1st, 1970 according to UNIX, computer systems have crashed. A system crash often refers to several different conditions where the system has suddenly become useless. These include:

  • System panics & bad traps

  • Watchdog resets

  • Dropping out (to boot PROM or bootstrap level)

In this chapter, we will limit our discussion to panics and bad traps.

What conditions cause panics?

While some folks see panics as horrible things, they really should be seen as system and data integrity safeguards. A good operating system programmer will embed calls to the panic() routine throughout his code when checking the integrity of the system resources he is referencing and ...

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