In desperation, I asked for help. Eric McCartney over at Prominic took some pity on me and started looking at the system. After doing all the usual swaps and tests, there were no obvious issues.
Finally, Eric loaded up a neat little program called sys_basher, which exercises all the elements of the system…hard. It puts the machine under a strong load and if something can’t handle the load, it’ll die. Quickly.
As it turned out, the problem was a hard drive. The weird thing is, we hadn’t allocated the hard drive in the Linux environment yet. It was simply plugged in, awaiting configuration. But, when that hard drive was plugged in, sys_basher would take the system down almost instantly. When the hard drive was unplugged, the system would run rock solid.
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