I'm receiving several reports by Ubuntu and Debian users having their desktops crashed as soon as they click the NoScript icon. Yes, your whole session gone, back to your logon page in one move!

Actually this may be triggered by different actions, not necessarily with NoScript installed, or reportedly just by having a long/complex enough interaction with Firefox.

It turns out to be a bug in the xorg-server package, which Ubuntu's maintainers deemed not worth to get fixed before releasing Lucid Lynx.

My understanding is that a fix will be included in next automatic update, but in the meanwhile you can apply the available patch from Bryce Harrington's PPA by issuing the following commands in a terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bryceharrington/purple && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade


I was sure I had this crash reported by Debian users as well, but when some of them commented here that they couldn't reproduce it, I double checked and could find Lucid Lynx reporters only. Better so.

19 Responses to “Bug in Ubuntu 10.04 Crashing Your Desktop via Firefox, NoScript”

  1. #1 aladmin says:

    Are we supposed to trust the Ubuntu devs know what they're doing anymore? 9.10 and 10.04 have all been buggy, they actually remind me of Vista.

    Hope they'll fix all the annoying bugs by the end of the month. Until then upgrading is not an option.

  2. #2 Mich says:

    You mentioned "Ubuntu and Debian users".

    Just like to feedback that I am using Debian Squeeze with Iceweasel 3.5.9 and NoScript without any problem.

    Maybe it's just a Ubuntu problem?

  3. #3 sonickydon says:

    Is there any chance that the problem is also related with the ubuntu firefox modifications addon and/or the ubuntu community firefox build?

    I'm running various official mozilla nightly builds (and the latest official stable) along with noscript (with ubuntu modifications disabled) on ubuntu 10.4 64bit but i didn't noticed any side effects after the upgrade

  4. #4 Giorgio says:

    Thanks for your feedback, I updated my blog entry.

    Maybe, the underlying bug is of a kind which may have multiple triggers, not easy to spot.

  5. #5 Colin Faber says:

    I was experiencing this same issue, amongst other major problems after upgrading from 9.10 to 10.04. Though the noscript icon could crash it, I believe the issue to be related to nvidia based systems and the distribution drivers. As soon as I installed the latest drivers from nvidia the crash in X went away. This is likely do to something within the new firefox and how it draws menus.

  6. #6 Scott says:

    Every time I try run the patch, I get a message popping up saying:

    E: Could not open lock file /var/lib/apt/lists/lock - open (13: Permission denied)
    E: Unable to lock the list directory

    Being a new convert to Ubuntu, not sure how to proceed!

  7. #7 Giorgio says:

    Have you got any GUI package manager opened while you run the commands in your terminal?

  8. #8 matairangi says:


    I had same problem on a Dell D600 laptop

    By changing terminal to root user with 'sudo su' and then using Giorgio's fix the problem with list permissions is avoided. (then change terminal back with 'exit')

    Curiously I didn't have any problem with Firefox/Xorg-server on my HP4400 desktop

  9. #9 M says:

    @aladmin: "9.10 and 10.04 have all been buggy"
    I strongly disagree. Of course, they're a few bugs. But if you want recent software version, this is the price to pay. Otherwise, go Debian !

  10. #10 Rene says:

    I had this problem, also on a Dell D600 laptop, with Firefox, when I typed something in the search box at the top right of the window, the x-server would crash and the system was back at the login screen. Tried Giorgio's fix and it seems OK so far. Thanks very much!!!

  11. #11 andrew says:

    This has affected my work laptop (which I upgraded from 9.10 to 10.4) but not my own machine, where I did a clean install on a new disc and then re-loaded packages (dpkg --get-selections > a.txt then dpkg --set-selections

  12. #12 effe says:

    thx giorgio, your solution via ppa-repository works perfectly, as your can't-live-without-it add-on noscript... =:-)

    i myself did a fresh from-the-scratch xubuntu install on my compaq evo N610c. whenever i hit the noscript-button, my session exploded as already mentionend by others. with your suggested solution, including a restart of x-server, everything works the way it should.

    thank you very again, as well as for NoScript -- the interwebz is save again. =,-)

  13. #13 Jackie Petraglia says:

    I Went through the entire process, entered the command as a root user. After completion I exited the browser and terminal. After restarting firefox and attempting to use Noscript again, the computer/OS proceeded to reboot itself just as it had done before the patch was added. What now?

  14. #14 Giorgio says:

    @Jackie Petraglia:
    A X reboot is needed for the patch to be effective.

  15. #15 Demetre says:

    Thank you for the fix. I run Ubuntu Lucid on Dell 600m and Aspire and only the Dell had the problem.
    In all fairness to Ubuntu guys they warned about the firmware in the Dell Inspiron 600m but they could have been a bit more informative. This adventure cost me three hours of phone calls to VISA and an airline company. While booking a ticket, the charge went through and the session stopped (crashed) when I attempted to disable the Noscript and I did not get the booking confirmation. Fun or what!

  16. #16 john paterson says:

    I am running Ubuntu 10.04 on a Toshiba laptop. I tried the command line above and was told I didn't have permission. I then tried to go into root but the system would not accept my password.

    Finally I entered the line as three separate commands. One command at a time. Each prefaced with sudo. That worked and I now have NoScript behaving the way it should in Firefox.

    Thank you all for your help.

  17. #17 Amanda K says:

    I tried the fix mentioned and:
    gpg: requesting key [redacted] from hkp server keyserver.ubuntu.com
    gpg: keyserver timed out
    gpg: keyserver receive failed: keyserver error
    E: Could not open lock file /var/lib/apt/lists/lock - open (13: Permission denied)
    E: Unable to lock the list directory

  18. #18 Amanda K says:

    Back, found a solution:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bryceharrington/purple && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

    All three commands need sudo to get full permissions to do what they need.

    Captcha(heh): resign among

  19. #19 Mark Melvin says:

    I've been plagued by this problem, installed the patch - and it seemed to work for awhile, but the issue is back. *Very* frustrating. Is there perhaps another bug? I am using the Nvidia drivers on an Alienware M15x laptop. Ubuntu is pretty much unusable right now and I cannot seem to find any other solutions.

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