Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

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Piers66
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Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by Piers66 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:56 am

Hello,

A couple of years ago I installed Mint 17.3 Rosa. It's worked pretty much fine since then, but recently I've been having problems with the PC getting unbearably slow (e.g. after suspend, or after opening large images).

I used to tell the update manager to do all the level 1-3 updates, but have recently just been doing levels 1 & 2. It was when I saw that it wanted to update both Python 2.7 AND Python 3.4 (neither of which I'm aware of using in the first place), that I started to wonder if the updates were really necessary...

I note, however, that I've never been prompted to upgrade Linux itself (e.g. to v18).

Are there good reasons why I ought to do a major upgrade?

System Info:
Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon 32-bit
Cinnamon version 2.8.8
Linux Kernal 3.19.0-32-generic
Processor Intel Core i5 CPU M 520 @ 2.40GHz x 2
Hard Drives 68.8GB
RAM 2GB

Thanks,

Piers.

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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by Pierre » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:11 am

you could, but the LM17x series is still currently active, so it's not a pressing need,
unless something occurs, that could force your hand.

eg: this machine has LM17.2 installed into another partition,

and whilst it is still working just fine, there is a possibility of replacing it with LM19,
when that finally does go stable, at the end of this month.
- but there is no pressing need, to do that, as it will be a personal choice scenario.
:)
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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by shawnhcorey » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:06 am

Piers66 wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:56 am
A couple of years ago I installed Mint 17.3 Rosa. It's worked pretty much fine since then, but recently I've been having problems with the PC getting unbearably slow (e.g. after suspend, or after opening large images).
That shouldn't happen. One reason it might be slower is because a disk is filling up. Run this command and if any partition is over 90% full, you may want to delete some files on it. Or buy a bigger disk. :mrgreen:

Code: Select all

df -h
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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by michael louwe » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 am

Piers66 wrote:.
.
Avoid using Suspend/Sleep/Hibernate because the Power Management features in CPU is not well-supported by Linux.

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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by Hoser Rob » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:19 am

michael louwe wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 am
Piers66 wrote:.
.
Avoid using Suspend/Sleep/Hibernate because the Power Management features in CPU is not well-supported by Linux.
Well, that depends on what hardware you have. I've had no issues.

On the OP's issue I suspected an almost full disk too, that's a common thing in Linux.

I'm a bit curious why you want 32 bit Linux with an i5 CPU which is 64 bit. 32 bit software is an endangered species.

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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by majpooper » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:15 pm

Also the kernel is way out of date.
Nothing wrong with LM 17.3 but the OP's configuration is not really optimum in regards to the 32bit and kernel.
Probably not a bad idea to do a fresh install - I would recommend the OP install LM18.3 Cinnamon 64 bit. Let LM 19 soak in the field for a few months and get the bugs worked out before putting it on your daily driver. Lm 18.3 is secure and stable and LTS for a few more years.

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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by Reorx » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:37 pm

OP;

You don't need to upgrade your OS. I am currently running LM17 Qiana (with a 3.13 kernel, cinnamon 2.2, and 4GB of RAM) on the machine I am using to type this and it has been working just fine for 4 years! And the processor on my machine is an Intel Celeron with a max speed of 2GHz - not exactly a speed daemon!!!

I think that you should check a few things. A mentioned, if your HD is VERY full, this can slow down your system. Another area that might be causing problems is that you only have 2GB of RAM. If you run with a lot of stuff open, your system will have to resort to swapping which can bring performance to its knees. Open a copy of System Monitor to the Resources tab and let it run while you work. If you hit a slowdown, look at the system monitor graphs and see if you can get an idea as to what the problem is (you can also check the other tabs as well). I think that it is unlikely that you will find maxed out CPU cores... but there is a fair chance you will see RAM usage and SWAP usage going up... If that is the case, upgrading your RAM to 4 GB should fix the problem quickly and cheaply.

Best,

- R -
Last edited by Reorx on Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:38 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by jimallyn » Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:52 pm

Mint 17.x is still supported for another year. I'm still using it, but will probably move to 19 soon.
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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by Piers66 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:15 pm

Hello,

Here's some more system info:

It's a Dell E6410 laptop. I set it up as dual boot, Windows 10 and Linux Mint, as I have software that needs to run under Windows (Cakewalk Sonar, principally), but normally I boot to Linux.

The 150GB disk is partitioned as follows, and I've included current usage, which will show that running out of HD space is not the problem:

Linux Partition - 70.63GB
SDA4 Extended 70.63GB
SDA5 / 24GB / 4.6GB Used + 19.3GB Free Space (13/6/18)
SDA6 /Home 42.8GB / 25.2GB Used + 17.6GB Free (13/6/18)
SDA7 Linux-Swap 3.72GB

Windows Partition - 80GB
C:\ 24.2GB Windows 10, Programmes, etc.
D:\ 53.7GB Documents (a lot of audio!)

I can't now remember exactly why I installed the 32-bit version of Linux, except for the fact that one of either Linux, Windows or both could not run in 64-bit mode. I suspect was probably Windows. I think at the time I did some asking around and the suggestion was that for an older laptop like mine there wasn't a huge amount to be gained by going 64-bit for Linux. As I say, it's more that two years ago, so the reasons why are lost in the mists of time...

I regularly run Firefox for web browsing, Thunderbird for emails, Audacity when editing audio, and Libre Office Calc for spreadsheet editing. I view quite a lot of images (currently going through 18 years worth of photographs of the band!). I occasionally run Filezilla, Xfburn and Xsane, but by no means every week let alone every day.

I'm very particular about not running too many apps at the same time, there's usually only just enough open to complete whatever task I'm working on right now. I routinely shut down anything unnecessary to free memory.

For some months the PC has been running very slow when I wake it up after leaving it long enough for the the screen saver and password prompt to kick in. I actually posted a separate topic about this - viewtopic.php?f=208&t=270293, but apart from the suggestion that it's to do with the swap file, not got to the bottom of the problem.

Today, I tried opening a 75MB jpeg image (using Image Viewer 3.10.2), and the thing just froze. I had a couple of other apps open at the time, so I rebooted (had to hold the power button to force a shutdown, it was that bad), and opened it again immediately after startup. It managed, but took a long time (we're talking minutes). I ran 'watch free -m' in a terminal window before and after opening the file, with the following results:

-----------------------------------
Shortly after startup:

total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 1941 898 1043 82 66 467
-/+ buffers/cache: 364 1576
Swap: 3812 0 3812
-----------------------------------
After opening 75MB jpeg file:

total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 1941 1084 856 881 4 928
-/+ buffers/cache: 152 1788
Swap: 3812 1136 2676
-----------------------------------
After closing the 75MB jpeg file:

total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 1941 261 1680 54 5 113
-/+ buffers/cache: 142 1799
Swap: 3812 300 3512
-----------------------------------

To my untrained eye, it seems like an awful lot of memory is being used to open a file that size (well over a GB?), so my first question is whether that's normal? Second, I'm wondering why it continues to use some of the swap partition after the image has been closed. Shouldn't it revert back to using RAM?

Any advice / suggestions gratefully received. If there are tests I should run for more evidence please let me know, just bear in mind that I'm not an expert user, so will need comprehensive instructions!

Thanks,

Piers.

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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by Piers66 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:29 am

Hello,

I realise it's not good form to run two different threads about the same issue, so if you have ideas about the crashing, maybe they should be in the other one...

My question here was really about whether the root of all my problems is simply an out-of-date system.

Piers.

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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by majpooper » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:23 pm

Reorx wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:37 pm
OP;

You don't need to upgrade your OS. I am currently running LM17 Qiana (with a 3.13 kernel, cinnamon 2.2, and 4GB of RAM) on the machine I am using to type this and it has been working just fine for 4 years!
The fact that you are happy running a system with a kernel that is not secure does not negate the following for the OP.
First - the OP is not getting optimum performance running a 32bit OS on 64bit hardware.
Second - the OP's kernel and yours Reorx, are not secure and both of you should update to 4.4 or 4.13 series ASAP.

However, for the OP based on the information provided, they would get improved performance and security by updating.

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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by Reorx » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:23 pm

I thank you Major... my computers are all on private networks and sit behind routers with firewalls... I never install anything that is even remotely "questionable". I am not very concerned or worried about my kernel's vulnerability to specific attacks... Having said that, I will be changing all my machines over to Mint 19 in the not-so-distant-future. I have been testing the BETA and, so far, it seems to run just fine on all of my hardware.

In addition, the OPs question stems from the fact that his machine ran fine for years and recently he has noticed slowing and not concerns re: kernel security. This slowing is probably not related to his OS being 32 bit or his kernel's vulnerabilities however your recommendations are sound and duely noted... :wink:

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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by Piers66 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:16 pm

Hello,

OK, I've done a first read up about kernel updates, and as far as I can tell all I have to do is open the Update Manager, view kernels, pick one and click on the install button. Is it that straightforward?

The list contains a lot of kernels since 3.19.0-32. Presumably there's a right one to upgrade to, given that I'm still running Mint 17.3. Is it the latest, or should I go for an intermediate one?

What surprises should I expect following an upgrade? Will other installed software continue to run OK, or will there be further actions required?

Thanks,

Piers.

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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by Spearmint2 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:02 pm

I would run a test on the RAM from the boot menu, also fsck the disk too. Open the "Disks" program and check the SMART values on the hard drive.
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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by I2k4 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:10 pm

My Dell 1520 has run 32bit M17.x through to M17.3 today with no problems, though admittedly lightly used bedroom media and light browser and LibreOffice use. I'm planning to keep it so for the LTS life of the install, so long as third party software stays current, and so far so good. I had been updating through Level 5 until the Meltdown/Spectre madness caused second thoughts about rushed patches for threats that aren't materializing, so have limited to Level 3 since last January. Your Intel i5 is probably better so I don't see what would be slowing it down.

Although it will set some people's hair on fire, I have used Bleachbit for half a decade, to clear useless file clogging and it generally removes several hundred MB of junk when run, just as I use a junk cleaner for Windows (that needs it even more). I don't bother arguing with experts who know better than me, but have never had a problem and will keep using it. Since you're considering completely replacing your OS anyway, no harm no foul if it doesn't work.
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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by cogsncogs » Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:37 pm

Piers66 wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:15 pm
Today, I tried opening a 75MB jpeg image (using Image Viewer 3.10.2), and the thing just froze. I had a couple of other apps open at the time, so I rebooted (had to hold the power button to force a shutdown, it was that bad), and opened it again immediately after startup. It managed, but took a long time (we're talking minutes). I ran 'watch free -m' in a terminal window before and after opening the file, with the following results:

-----------------------------------
Shortly after startup:

total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 1941 898 1043 82 66 467
-/+ buffers/cache: 364 1576
Swap: 3812 0 3812
-----------------------------------
After opening 75MB jpeg file:

total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 1941 1084 856 881 4 928
-/+ buffers/cache: 152 1788
Swap: 3812 1136 2676
-----------------------------------
After closing the 75MB jpeg file:

total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 1941 261 1680 54 5 113
-/+ buffers/cache: 142 1799
Swap: 3812 300 3512
-----------------------------------

To my untrained eye, it seems like an awful lot of memory is being used to open a file that size (well over a GB?), so my first question is whether that's normal? Second, I'm wondering why it continues to use some of the swap partition after the image has been closed. Shouldn't it revert back to using RAM?
A 75MB jpeg is HUGE. Remember, a jpeg is a compressed (encoded) file. To view it, it will need to be decompressed (decoded) using many times it's file size in memory depending on how much the file was compressed. With only 2G of RAM, it will bring your machine to it's knees.
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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by Piers66 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:13 am

cogsncogs wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:37 pm
A 75MB jpeg is HUGE. Remember, a jpeg is a compressed (encoded) file. To view it, it will need to be decompressed (decoded) using many times it's file size in memory depending on how much the file was compressed. With only 2G of RAM, it will bring your machine to it's knees.
Hello,

Thanks for pointing that out, now that I read it it's such an obvious answer. I should have thought of it myself!

I'm still curious, however, to know why the swap file continued to be used after I closed the file and got the RAM back. Also, and more importantly, why it continued to be slow as well.

Piers.

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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by Reorx » Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:43 am

Piers66 wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:13 am
...Also, and more importantly, why it continued to be slow as well.

Piers.
Did you try the System Monitor recommendation from my post above?
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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by phd21 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:57 pm

Hi Piers66,

I just read your post and the good replies to it. Here are my thoughts on this as well.

It would help to know more about your system setup. If you run "inxi -Fxzd" and "lsusb" from the console terminal prompt, highlight the results, copy and paste them back here, that should provide enough information.

You should definitely be using a 64-bit version of Linux Mint. That 2gb of system memory (ram) is not much memory at all, especially for audio or video editing, and with Linux Mint Cinnamon. You might be better off with Linux Mint Mate or Xfce with only 2gb of memory. If you can add more memory to your system, then do it. There is an application called "swapspace" you can install from the Software Manager or Synaptic Package Manager SPM that may help with low system memory, restart after installing this.

Running really low on or out of hard drive space will cause all kinds of problems, try to keep at least 10%-20% free space. If your hard drive is going bad which you can test, then replace it with an SSDrive.

As for updating from Linux Mint 17.3 to Linux Mint 18.3, that is up to you. A lot of software has been majorly updated to use Linux Mint 18 based on Ubuntu 16.04 or newer and they are not updating their software to run on previous versions, which is too bad because Linux Mint 17.3 was incredible and super stable. Linux Mint 18.3 is super stable as well.

You might consider these Linux alternatives to "Cakewalk Sonar" Digital Audio Workstation (daw), like "Ardour", "Bitwig Studio", "LMMS", etc...

ardour - the digital audio workstation
http://ardour.org/

HOW TO INSTALL ARDOUR LINUX AUDIO WORKSTATION IN UBUNTU 16.04 - A BEST LINUX AUDIO EDITOR
http://www.elinuxbook.com/install-ardou ... io-editor/


The 5 Best Audio Tools For Linux
https://www.addictivetips.com/ubuntu-li ... for-linux/

Linux Digital Audio Workstation Roundup - Freedom Penguin
https://freedompenguin.com/articles/sof ... n-roundup/

14 Best DAWs for Linux as of 2018 - Slant (click "see full list")
https://www.slant.co/topics/6067/~daws-for-linux


Hope this helps ...
Phd21: Mint KDE 17.3 & 18.3, 64-bit Awesome OS, Ancient Dell OptiPlex 780 Core2Duo E8400 3GHz,4gb Ram,256gb SDD, Video: Intel 4 Graphics, DVD Lightscribe. Why I use KDE?:https://opensource.com/life/15/4/9-reasons-to-use-kde

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Re: Do I need to upgrade Linux (from 17.3 Rosa)?

Post by Piers66 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:00 am

Hello,

Time for an update.

The problem is still going on, and if anything it's got worse.

I've been routinely running System Monitor while doing other tasks to see if I could work out what was triggering the slowdowns, but it's really hard to see a pattern. The vast majority of what I do on the PC is sending emails, and browsing the net, with a bit of low grade image editing (e.g. cutting the screen-shots below down to size). Sometimes I'll be able to work for an hour without a problem, and sometimes only 5 minutes.

By way of a benchmark, straight after start-up Thunderbird takes about 20 seconds to load. After a slowdown it'll take 6 minutes or more.

If the System Monitor graphs are to be believed memory use doesn't seem to increase particularly on slowdown, but CPU can hit 100%. If I close all programmes at this point memory goes back to where it was at start-up, but CPU sits around 10-15%. However long I leave it it doesn't return to the initial 1-2%, and opening any programme at all (even just a text editor) will immediately send the CPU rocketing again.

This graph shows about 5 minutes of browsing Facebook, after which I closed Firefox. Nothing else (apart from the underlying system) was running:
2018-08-05_browsing.png

The one thing that is absolutely guaranteed to make it crash is streaming video (e.g. BBC iPlayer or YouTube). I'm pretty sure that websites with embedded videos are one of the problem areas as well. This is 10 minutes of a programme on My5, by which time the video was pretty much frozen. After a break of about 5-10 minutes I tried watching again, unsuccessfully:
2018-07-27_video.png

In this case I did nothing on the PC at all, other than starting System Monitor, and after half an hour the fault kicked in on its own. It may look like the CPUs are only 5-10% busy, but in this condition the PC is rendered pretty much unusable:
2018-08-05_idle.png

I have a question about System Monitor - How should I interpret the reported memory usage on the processes tab?

For example, Dropbox lists the following:
Memory - 79 MiB
Virtual Memory - 823 MiB
Resident Memory - 124 MiB
Wrieable memory - 79 MiB
Shared Memory - 47 MiB

What do all these mean, and how much of my 2GB of RAM is it really using?

I believe this is a software problem, not hardware. RAM may be limited, but there's plenty of HD space. Significantly, if I boot to Win10 I have no similar problem. I've run the full memory diagnostic on start-up and it came back clean. As I said previously, the laptop had been running the same version of Linux Mint fine for most of two years before this problem arose a few months back.

Here's the inxi result:

Code: Select all

piers@piers-Latitude-E6410 ~ $ inxi -Fxzd
System:    Host: piers-Latitude-E6410 Kernel: 3.19.0-32-generic i686 (32 bit gcc: 4.8.2)
           Desktop: Cinnamon 2.8.8 (Gtk 2.24.23) Distro: Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa
Machine:   System: Dell product: Latitude E6410 v: 0001
           Mobo: Dell model: 04373Y v: A00 Bios: Dell v: A16 date: 12/05/2013
CPU:       Dual core Intel Core i5 M 520 (-HT-MCP-) cache: 3072 KB
           flags: (lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx) bmips: 9576
           clock speeds: max: 2400 MHz 1: 1199 MHz 2: 1333 MHz 3: 1199 MHz
           4: 1199 MHz
Graphics:  Card: Intel Core Processor Integrated Graphics Controller
           bus-ID: 00:02.0
           Display Server: X.Org 1.17.1 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa)
           Resolution: 1280x1024@60.0hz
           GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Ironlake Mobile x86/MMX/SSE2
           GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 10.5.9 Direct Rendering: Yes
Audio:     Card Intel 5 Series/3400 Series High Definition Audio
           driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:1b.0
           Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k3.19.0-32-generic
Network:   Card-1: Intel 82577LM Gigabit Network Connection
           driver: e1000e v: 2.3.2-k port: 7040 bus-ID: 00:19.0
           IF: eth0 state: up speed: 100 Mbps duplex: full mac: <filter>
           Card-2: Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200
           driver: iwlwifi v: in-tree: bus-ID: 02:00.0
           IF: wlan0 state: down mac: <filter>
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 160.0GB (26.2% used)
           ID-1: /dev/sda model: WDC_WD1600BEKT size: 160.0GB
           Optical: /dev/sr0 model: TSST DVD+-RW TS-U633F
           rev: D500 dev-links: cdrom
           Features: speed: 24x multisession: yes
           audio: yes dvd: yes rw: cd-r,cd-rw,dvd-r,dvd-ram state: running
Partition: ID-1: / size: 24G used: 8.1G (36%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda5
           ID-2: /home size: 43G used: 28G (69%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda6
           ID-3: swap-1 size: 4.00GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda7
RAID:      No RAID devices: /proc/mdstat, md_mod kernel module present
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 51.0C mobo: 47.0C
           Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: 128910 mobo: 128910
Info:      Processes: 179 Uptime: 1:12 Memory: 874.7/1941.2MB
           Init: Upstart runlevel: 2 Gcc sys: 4.8.4
           Client: Shell (bash 4.3.111) inxi: 2.2.28 
And here's lsusb:

Code: Select all

piers@piers-Latitude-E6410 ~ $ lsusb
Bus 002 Device 004: ID 0a5c:5800 Broadcom Corp. BCM5880 Secure Applications Processor
Bus 002 Device 003: ID 046d:c404 Logitech, Inc. TrackMan Wheel
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 8087:0020 Intel Corp. Integrated Rate Matching Hub
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 001 Device 005: ID 05ca:1814 Ricoh Co., Ltd HD Webcam
Bus 001 Device 007: ID 413c:2106 Dell Computer Corp. Dell QuietKey Keyboard
Bus 001 Device 004: ID 413c:2513 Dell Computer Corp. internal USB Hub of E-Port Replicator
Bus 001 Device 008: ID 03f0:1005 Hewlett-Packard ScanJet 5400c
Bus 001 Device 006: ID 04a9:10b6 Canon, Inc. PIXMA iP4300 Printer
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 413c:2513 Dell Computer Corp. internal USB Hub of E-Port Replicator
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 8087:0020 Intel Corp. Integrated Rate Matching Hub
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Any suggestions or advice about fixing this gratefully received!

Piers.

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