[bug] [4.3.0.12] Running apps disappearing from the homescreen

REPRODUCIBILITY (% or how often): >daily
BUILD ID = OS VERSION (Settings > About product): 4.3.0.12
HARDWARE (XA2, X10, X10 II, …): XA2 Plus dual sim
UI LANGUAGE: English
REGRESSION: (compared to previous public release: Yes, No, ?): No(?)

DESCRIPTION:

TL;DR: Multiple times a day, running apps go missing from the home screen. It doesn’t appear to have anything to do with OOM killer.

A few days ago I upgraded to 4.3.0.12 (I was travelling, and couldn’t afford new quirks while I was relying on the phone). Since then apps have slowly been disappearing from the home screen. I’m a long time, full time, sailfish user, and don’t remember seeing this behaviour before. It shouldn’t be confused with OOM killer greying out apps, where the app is killed but holds its place. - I don’t think this has anything to do with OOM killer.

Some observations:

  • I’ve only noticed android apps loosing their tile. Native apps appear immune.
  • When I restart them, they start almost instantly, and almost always in the state that I left them. (As opposed to when they start from scratch where they take several seconds to load since the app containers were introduced a few versions ago, and back to their startup state.)
  • Some apps will disappear, while others remain.
  • It happens to a random running app. Eg sometimes facebook messenger, sometimes whatsapp, sometimes reddit, discord etc. It’s not consistently the same app.
  • I have not noticed whether it happens to a single app at a time, or multiple. But it’s certainly not all.
    • Every time I’ve noticed it, there are have been multiple missing. But I don’t know if I simply hadn’t noticed yet because I hadn’t needed them or the ones below them yet, or if they all disappeared in the same event.

This bug is important for me because I have trouble recognising things visually, and therefore use their position.

PRECONDITIONS:

  • Time: Less than a day results in multiple missing apps.

STEPS TO REPRODUCE:

  1. Start apps.
  2. Time passes.
  3. Not all of the apps are still on the homescreen, but they are still running.

EXPECTED RESULT:

Apps keep their tile position on the home screen until closed or the device is rebooted.

ACTUAL RESULT:

Apps still running, but not visible until tapping on their icon in the app drawer.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Any suggestions for what to capture? I haven’t found any way to get logs out of lipstick. Is lipstick what I should be looking at? I’ve tried:

Edits:

  • 2021-01-14: Clarified observations.

An interesting datapoint

This has not happened, even once, since I filed the bug report yesterday. The only change that I have made in the time window before then to now is that I:

  1. Enabled debugging.
  2. systemctl --user restart lipstick
  3. Deleted the file I created when enabling debugging.
  4. systemctl --user restart lipstick

I have just rebooted the phone, and expect to see the problem again. Whether I do or not will be the next data point, so I’ll report back (probably tomorrow).

Theories

  • I’m thinking that there might be an ordering/timing bug in the startup of lipstick. Eg when I manually restart lipstick, android support is now fully running.
  • Maybe one of the patches that I’m running is breaking something. So I’ll test that after testing the restarting of the service (see test plan below).

Test plan

Test name When Progress Result Expected result
Enable debugging. 2021-01-12 Done Failed to get useful info directly. Reverted.
Restart lipstick service via SSH. 2021-01-12 Done Problem disappeared.
Reboot. 2021-01-13 Done Problem recurred late in the day. Problem.
Disable all patches, and reboot. 2021-01-14 Done Problem recurred. But only one app disappeared in the whole day. Going to repeat in case it was user-error (eg I closed the app.). Problem.
Reboot with patches enabled, and 1 updated, and 1 obsolete patch removed. (control) 2021-01-15 Done Problem recurred mid afternoon. Problem.
Disable all patches, and reboot. (repeat) 2022-01-16 Done Problem recurred late in the afternoon. Problem.
Restart lipstick service immediately after reboot via SSH. (My normal patches enabled.) 2022-01-17 Done Problem recurred overnight without interaction. Problem.
Restart lipstick service after one android app has been started via SSH. (My normal patches enabled.) 2022-01-17 FAIL Lipstick crashed. This is not something I usually see. Will repeat. Don’t know. Probably no problem.
Restart lipstick service after one android app has been started via SSH. (My normal patches enabled.) 2022-01-17 Done Day 1, no recurrance, so I extended the test to another day. Day 2, no recurrance. Day 3, one app dissapeared. Going to do another control, and then repeat, but via a local terminal. Don’t know. Probably no problem.
Restart lipstick service after “all” android apps have been started via SSH. ? Skip for now. No problem.
Divide and conquer through patches (will take a while) ? Skip for now. Don’t know.
Reboot with patches enabled.(control) 2021-01-19 Done Problem recurred. Problem.
Restart lipstick service via terminal app after 1 android app has been started. 2022-01-20 In progress No problem.
Disable all patches, and reboot. (repeat) ? Pending Problem.
Restart lipstick service via terminal app after 1 android app has been started. (repeat) ? Pending No problem.

Possible work-around

  1. Unlock the phone.
  2. Start at least one android app. (It takes 2 tries for it to work for me. No amount of waiting gets it started.)
  3. Restart lipstick normally without devel-su:
    systemctl --user restart lipstick
    Via SSH (and probably via the terminal app works as well. That’s my next test.)
  4. Start your apps normally.

Edits

  • 2021-01-14:
    • Add test results.
    • Format results for easier reading.
    • Clarified the first day of testing.
  • 2021-01-15:
    • Add test results.
  • 2021-01-16:
    • Add test results.
  • 2021-01-17:
    • Add test results.
    • Restarting lipstick with one android app running: Android support still declared that it was starting just like it does for a fresh reboot. I suspect the problem is going to recur.
  • 2021-01-17:
    • Repeating test after lipstick crash.
  • 2021-01-19:
    • Add test results.
    • Update possible work-around.
    • Clean up table to make it more readable.
    • Add more tests to gain certainty.