A whole variety of strange behaviors can occur when the software, or the way you are using the software, stresses the hardware in a way that triggers hardware bugs. This might seem hard to believe, but it happens frequently enough that there exist documents explaining in detail what the various causes of the problems are, what typical symptoms look like, and so on.
Generally these problems are referred to in this document as "signal 11" crashes, because the Linux kernel, running on the most popular hardware (the Intel x86 line), often stresses the hardware more than other popular operating systems. When hardware problems do occur under GNU/Linux on x86 systems, these often manifest themselves as "signal 11" problems, as illustrated by the following diagnostic:
sh# g77 myprog.f gcc: Internal compiler error: program f771 got fatal signal 11 sh#
It is very important to remember that the above message is not the only one that indicates a hardware problem, nor does it always indicate a hardware problem.
In particular, on systems other than those running the Linux
kernel, the message might appear somewhat or very different,
as it will if the error manifests itself while running a
program other than the
it will appear somewhat different when running your program,
when running Emacs, and so on.
How to cope with such problems is well beyond the scope of this manual.
However, users of Linux-based systems (such as GNU/Linux) should review http://www.bitwizard.nl/sig11/, a source of detailed information on diagnosing hardware problems, by recognizing their common symptoms.
Users of other operating systems and hardware might find this reference useful as well. If you know of similar material for another hardware/software combination, please let us know so we can consider including a reference to it in future versions of this manual.