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Frequent system crash -- with gcc3.2 (?)

I am troubled by frequent hard system crashes, which seem particularly
likely to occur when I am using gcc3.2.  Since I often want to rebuild
large packages, this is extrememly annoying.  At the moment, it's as bad
as Windows 95!

A related symptom is that gcc will freeze while compiling a particular
object file -- not always the same one, though the same one is
moderately likely to be picked on a subsequent run.  If I press
control-c the compilation terminates, but an unkillable cc process is
left in the background.

I notice that the process is marked as running.  However I believe that
this is false, because there are 2 other processes running (on a 2
processor system) and I believe that there cannot be more than one per
processor.  (Is that correct?):

0  1000 10112  1671  14   0  3272 1380 -      R    pts/2      0:00  |   \_ ps axfl
0  1000 10113  1671  13   0  1284  416 pipe_w S    pts/2      0:00  |   \_ grep  R
0  1000  9913     1   9   0 15988 14456 -     R    ?          0:02 /usr/lib/gcc-lib/i386-linux/3.2.3/cc1 -lang-c -I../../../src/interfaces/libpq -I../../../src/include -I/usr/include/tcl8.4 -D__GNUC__=3 -D__GNUC_MINOR__=2 -D__GNUC_PATCHLEVEL__=3 -D__GXX_ABI_VERSION=102 -D__ELF__ -Dunix -D__gnu_linux__ -Dlinux -D__ELF__ -D__unix__ -D__gnu_linux__ -D__linux__ -D__unix -D__linux -Asystem=posix -D__OPTIMIZE__ -D__STDC_HOSTED__=1 -Acpu=i386 -Amachine=i386 -Di386 -D__i386 -D__i386__ -D__tune_i386__ -DBINDIR="/usr/lib/postgresql/bin" pg_dump.c -quiet -dumpbase pg_dump.c -g -O2 -Wall -Wmissing-prototypes -Wmissing-declarations -o /tmp/ccsCFqfh.s

At the moment, as that listing shows, I have such a process and am able
to continue working (but I expect that it will soon die if I restart the
build without rebooting).  Very frequently, however, the whole system
will die quickly, particularly if I am using some other program in X,
such as galeon or evolution.  When the system dies, Alt-SysReq-S will
sometimes do an emergency sync; Alt-SysReq-B may start a reset but, if
it starts, it will always hang so that the machine has to be
power-cycled anyway.  

I presume that this is a bug in the kernel itself rather than in gcc,
but I have no idea how to isolate it.

Relevant data:
Motherboard: Tyan Tiger S2466N-4M
Processors:  Athlon 1800MP x 2
Kernel:      2.4.20 - built for this system
Packages:    unstable, up to date as of this morning
SCSI, IDE, etc
Boot options: append="mem=510M mem=nopentium aic7xxx=ultra parport=auto"

Can anyone here help? or should I take it to the kernel mailing lists?

Oliver Elphick                                Oliver.Elphick@lfix.co.uk
Isle of Wight, UK                             http://www.lfix.co.uk/oliver
GPG: 1024D/3E1D0C1C: CA12 09E0 E8D5 8870 5839  932A 614D 4C34 3E1D 0C1C
     "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have 
      faith, but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?
      Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and
      daily food.   If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish
      you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing
      about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same
      way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by
      actions, is dead."          James 2:14-17 

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