[artix-general] [s6] random boot error -> setfont: ERROR kdfontop.c:232 put_font_kdfontop: ioctl(KDFONTOP): Input/output error

Kian Kasad kian at kasad.com
Sun Feb 14 22:26:06 CET 2021

On 21/02/14 03:09PM, Javier wrote:
> When booting, I'm randomly getting the following error:
> > setfont:  ERROR kdfontop.c:232 put_font_kdfontop:  ioctl(KDFONTOP):  Input/output error
> Notice that "sudo dmesg" doesn't show that message at all, and "grep
> -ri -e setfont -e kdfontop /var/log" don't show a single thing, so
> it's sort of hard to find out what's going on.  It happens whether on
> a HP laptop or mintbox2.  My mkinitcpio:
> > % 'grep' '^[ \t]*[^#]' /etc/mkinitcpio.conf
> > MODULES=(i915)
> > FILES=()
> > HOOKS=(base udev block autodetect modconf keyboard keymap consolefont encrypt resume filesystems fsck)
> > COMPRESSION="zstd"
> > COMPRESSION_OPTIONS=(-T$(nproc --ignore 1))
> I'm not sure if related to S6 (the init/supervisor system I use), but
> I believe it is.  It shows up on the 1st tty1, besides/after the 1st
> useless login prompt shows up when using S6, but it quickly goes away
> when tty1 gets over rendered or overwritten, showing a 2nd now useful
> prompt, so it goes away pretty fast.  And as you can see, it doesn't
> log anywhere it seems (at least not somewhere I'm used to look for
> logs).
> Although it seems related to fonts, I don't know how harmless it is,
> since the "ioclt(...):  Input/output error" indicates there's an issue
> accessing disk, I'd guess.  Moreover, as it's random (sometimes it
> happens, but sometimes it doesn't), I'm kind of concerned.
> Besides using early KMS, "consolefont" is one of the hooks I have
> included, given [1] suggestion.  Also I'm not finding many possible
> answers on the web for that specific error, but old [2] makes me think
> it's an issue with consolefont.  Notice as well:
> > % cat /etc/vconsole.conf
> > KEYMAP=la-latin1
> > FONT=ter-v14n
> However, I've already tried removing "consolefont" from the mkinitcpio
> hooks list and rebuilding the initrd to then reboot, and that doesn't
> help a bit.  Knowing that, and considering the error shows up after
> the 1st prompt (useless one, since it gets replaced later) shows up,
> makes me almost sure this is not about initrd early user space bring
> up.  Perhaps the way S6 starts tty.
> It's important to note, this started showing up just after recent
> upgrade with several S6 packages upgrading, including:  s6-scripts,
> s6-rc, cryptsetup-s6, kexec-tools and lvm2-s6, and I haven't noticed
> it before.  I also noticed s6-scripts includes several tty and console
> related stuff, though nothing specifically called "consolefont", but
> that might be called underneath.
> BTW, my major concern, as mentioned is about the "ioctl Input/output
> error"...  So far it seems harmless, though if I have time, I prefer
> rebooting several times until booting without that error...
> Any help understanding and fixing such error is appreciated.  In my
> mind, with S6 at least (not sure yet if S6 specific though), it should
> be easy to reproduce, since it's happening randomly on different
> machines (HP laptop with core i7, vs mintbox2 mini-pcs with core-i5).
> However it's not as easy to see, given how fast the initial rendered
> tty1 is substituted by another one...

I've never come across this specific error, but I have had issues with
"kdfontop" errors in the past. The solution for me was to include the
/usr/bin/setfont program in the BINARIES array in /etc/mkinitcpio.conf.
By default, mkinitcpio uses busybox's setfont, not the one from the kbd
package. Explicitly setting this in mkinitcpio uses kbd's setfont
instead of busybox.

I have no idea if this will fix the problem or not, but it's worth a

Kian Kasad
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