When LibreOffice Causes Ubuntu To Lock Up

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This is a known bug. One that has been mentioned several times on the Ubuntu and Linux Mint forums as far back as July this year, and maybe even earlier. Honestly I don’t remember this happening on my old desktop computer – Intel Core 2 CPU with a 250GT NVIDIA graphics card. Lately, I’ve been having these lock ups one too many times since I purchased my notebook barely a month ago – Intel i5 2410 with dual GPU (Intel HD Graphics and Radeon 6470M). On both desktop and notebook, I have Ubuntu 11.04 installed with the main difference being, aside from the hardware, that the notebook sports the 64-bit version to fully utilize the 8GB memory.

The bug seems to happen randomly with LibreOffice (LO) running. In my case I use Calc more often than any other LO app so my experience with the system freeze is solely limited to Calc. Other people, however, report that they have experienced the same thing with Writer.

I am not sure how to reproduce the bug. On most days LO Calc is fine. I almost use it on a day-to-day basis. There are just those few occasions that it freezes the system and today is one of those days.

Today I had to force reboot my notebook three times in less than half an hour because 5 to 10 minutes into doing a few simple operations with a .XLS file – such as copy pasting a few lines of text from one file to another – the system locks up.

After searching about this problem on the Internet for a while, I was finally led to these particular threads on the Ubuntu and Linux Mint Forums – http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1813246 and http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=77851&p=456737.

The suggested fix is to disable hardware acceleration and anti-aliasing on LibreOffice.

I cannot confirm or deny that this supposed fix was effective in my case. So far LO Calc has not misbehaved after I disabled the Graphics Output options from the LO View preferences. One thing to note is that among the few things in common with the system freeze as experienced by the others as mentioned in those threads listed above and mine are that the graphics card in use is Intel HD Graphics and on an Intel Sandy Bridge CPU.

As an added precaution I have made sure that LibreOffice is not using a Java Runtime Environment.

Again while I am now sure that LibreOffice is the culprit as to why my system locks up randomly all of a sudden, this does not happen that often. Yes, it may have happened one too many times to be noticeable, but it NEITHER happens every day NOR does it happen at the frequency of at least once every time I use LO. Always, the system freeze happens with LibreOffice running and always at that time when I am working on it.

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16 thoughts on “When LibreOffice Causes Ubuntu To Lock Up

  1. thanks, started using calc this week and been running into lockups pretty much every time I pasted some large block of cells. thought it was compiz but that didn’t solve anything. so far the fixes above have worked.

    • It is good that your troubles are over too. If it ain’t too much can you post your hardware specs here please? The GPU and CPU will do. Thanks. :)

  2. Thanks for the summary! I’ve been having the same problem.
    CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2540M CPU @ 2.60GHz
    GPU: Intel HD Graphics 3000
    Here’s hoping your workaround works!

    • Crossing my fingers it works for you. :D hehe.. . But really, I have not had my system freeze since I did this, which is very good. It has been what, almost two weeks now and as far as I remember I’ve used LO Calc everyday from then up to today.

      *BTW, just to make it clear this is not my solution. It is from those links I posted above.

  3. Thanks, that helped me!
    Intel Core i5-2520M Processor (2.50GHz, 3MB L3)
    NVIDIA NVS 4200M Graphics with Optimus Technology, 1GB DDR3 Memory

  4. Thank you. Deselecting use of antialiasing was enough to resolve the problem for me.
    Acer Aspire S3 CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2540M CPU @ 2.60GHz

  5. Thank you for taking the time to write this. This solution has worked for me on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS w/ AMD quad core, integrated graphics.

    Other are reporting to increase the graphics cache in Options>LibreOffice->Graphics, but this didn’t work for me.

    I salute you.

  6. Great, I’m not sure about Java, but Graphics Options solved fine my hanging issue that I was experiencing both on Writer and Calc editing large files. FYI, I’m using LibreOffice 3.5.4.2 on Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS 32-bit / Kernel Linux 3.2.0-33-generic-pae. Thanks a lot.

  7. While my system, CentOS 5.8, doesn’t freeze, just doing a simple select of text and then CTRL-C to copy it pushes my cpu to about 40% and it stays there until I close LO Writer. Using 3.5.6. Starting to think I should have stuck with OO.

    While LO might have a few more features it sure feels more buggy.

    • The current LO version on Ubuntu 12.04 no longer cause my desktop to freeze. Then again I’m using NVidia on an i5 gen 2 now. Previously it was an ATI Radeon. I haven’t noticed the increase CPU load. Will check on this. ..

    • Hi, sorry for offtop, but I have the similar issue on Ubuntu 12.10 (Unity,3.5.0-28-generic x86_64,Dell i7 laptop) with 2 versions of LibreOffice: 3.6.2 (bundled with Ubuntu) and 4.0.2.2 (latest official deb package).
      Symptoms: CPU load ~20% and ~50 K/s disk activity (HDD led is blinking a few times per second); sometimes GUI constantly shows blinking progress bar (like during document saving), it is blinking too fast to read operation description, possibly it is “Load document”.
      How to reproduce: open Calc, copy a cell.
      On Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.04 Calc does not produce this invalid activity.

      • Hello.

        Not have had this issue for a long, long time. Was using 11.10 then jumped to 13.04 on the same hardware.

  8. A SOURCE OF LIBREOFFICE FREEZE: My libre write was frozen because it was attempting to recover a file that was no longer on the system.

    How do you cancel this process?

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