Freeradius process dies with some (bad?!) EAP requests

Alexander Clouter alex at
Tue Jan 6 23:27:37 CET 2009

Nelson Vale <nelsonduvall at> wrote:
> We have several machines running freeradius 2.0.2 as authentication server,
> and we're facing a strange and very critical problem.
> Occasionally radius server just dies with no apparent reason. When I look at
> the logs, the last lines I see before it happens are like:
> "...
> Error: rlm_eap: No EAPsession matching the State variable.
> Error: rlm_eap: Either EAP-request timed out OR EAP-response to an unknown
> EAP-request
> ..."
> **
> I've googled for problems like this and I found some simillar occurrences,
> but no solutions provided...
> Is this a known problem that is fixed in a recent version?
> This is a big issue for us because this causes several thousands of users to
> complain about it, so we would appreciate your help...
For us it was not FreeRADIUS at fault, it was glibc.  As we *ran* Debian 
'stable' the version of libc6 was really really old (2.3.6) and it just 
kept randomly segfaulting (turned out it waas in libc6).  The EAP 
session timeouts looked like a possible clue but in the end I discarded 
it as a red herring.

In the end bumping to Debian lenny (currently 'testing' but soon to be 
stable) fixed all our problems and I have not had *any* reliability 
issues either...all down to the libc6 version (now 2.7).  Another added 
bonus (this was just before etchandahalf) I was able to start using gdb 
on FreeRADIUS as a kernel bug[1] (earlier than 2.6.23) prevents it from 

When reliability hits you, it's good to learn briefly how to use gdb.  
Very simply[2]:
 * log in as root
 * open a screen session[3]
 * make sure FreeRADIUS is not running
 * make sure you have all the debug symbols about, or a debugable 
	version installed
 * configure screen to log to a file; 'Ctrl-A H'
 * type 'gdb /usr/sbin/freeradius'
 * in gdb type 'run -X'
 * detach from screen 'Ctrl-A D'
 * when you notice FreeRADIUS has died, reconnect to your screen session
 * and the gdb prompt type 'where' or for *lots* of info try
	'thread apply all bt full'[3]
 * tell screen to stop logging, 'Ctrl-A H'
 * logout of screen

Means you can run FreeRADIUS and get the debugging you need to either 
blame the OS or Alan :)

>From what I can remember, I think the segfault for use was in the GNU 
regexp library it's-self.



[2] a different approach to the one on

Alexander Clouter
.sigmonster says: 	"The jig's up, Elman."
                  	"Which jig?"
                  		-- Jeff Elman

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