In between everything else that has been going on around here, I’ve been trying to pin down some strange elinks behavior this machine running Crux. For a week or so, I had gotten bizarre broken pages and error messages when trying to access what seemed like otherwise normal pages — GMail, for example, or LinuxTracker.org. Messages like, “Error reading from socket,” or even just a dead black page.
I had cloned my system early in March and performing a systemwide update didn’t seem to correct the error, which to me meant there was some sort of package update that was silently killing some Web access. Needle in a haystack is the expression, I think.
The obvious culprits were things like openssl and openssh and even iptables, which all were bumped in Crux in March. Strangely though, the errors still appeared when I excluded those packages from the update. In the end, after about four or five days of recompiling in the background — which didn’t really hamstring the machine at all, since it is more than capable of compiling at full bore while playing music or showing a movie — the answer was … zlib.
Yeah, I know. That’s what I said too. “zlib? Huh?”
I don’t know how or why, but the 1.2.4 update to zlib causes some Web pages in elinks — at least on my contorted little home-grown system — to return error messages. I’m apparently not the only one with the problem though — both Arch and Gentoo users seem to have had the same problems.
I’ll see if it’s possible to fix it, or if I should just stick with zlib 1.2.3, which is what I’m doing right now. I don’t mind holding back a package until I can be sure it won’t taint another program; I sat on an old version of mplayer for about six months, because the updated one wouldn’t compile without errors.
Still, the satisfaction in this little adventure was tracking down the offending program, and seeing that it wasn’t my problem after all. Even if it did mean restoring the drive twice over USB1.1, and then recompiling packages one by one at 550Mhz. …