User-friendly way to handle gnome-shell's getting stuck (CPU 100% and black screen with no cursor)

I have experienced that some famous applications that use the GPU made the computer’s screen stop and black. Input did not seem to work. At first, I thought that the OS has crashed and I reset the PC, but then I figured out that the OS itself is working, and I can press Ctlr+Alt+F1/F2 to see Gnome’s login screen or the terminal.

In Gnome’s login screen, if I type my password, it just returns to the black screen, so I gave up and tried to restart the session, but there was no such menu. The menu did not have a “log out” or “restart session”, etc, but only things like reboot or power-off.

So, I switched to the terminal, logged in. The font was very small but I managed to see that gnome-shell was using 100 in htop and I killed it. After that, re-logging in gave normal Gnome desktop again.

But this manually killing gnome-shell is not easy for a novice like myself. Maybe there could be a more user-friendly way to handle this:

  1. Show “log out” or “restart session” menu on that login screen invoked by Ctrl+Alt+F1.
  2. When gnome-shell is stuck, show a message box asking the user if he wants to wait or kill the session, just like unresponsive GUI applications.
  3. If 2 is technically not possible, maybe just force restart gnome-shell after a certain amount of time, like 10 seconds.

This isn’t really a good way to look at things: there shouldn’t be a “user friendly” way to recover from a broken state. Either the system should not meaningfully break (hard, but not impossible); or it should recover by itself.

In practice, you should open an issue on GNOME Shell and report:

  • which OS you are using
  • which hardware platform you are using
  • the sequence of actions that led to the system getting stuck
  • the logs for the system when it got stuck

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