If you equipped your system with an Ivy Bridge Intel processor with HD 4000 graphics and use the latest LTS Ubuntu version (12.04) or Linux Mint (13/Maya), you might also experience unpredictable system freezes from time to time. This article outlines the reason and the fix.
If you are using any Linux distribution that utilizes the Linux Kernel 3.2, as Ubuntu 12.04, Linux Mint 13 or every other distribution based on it does, you run into a bug causing a system freeze because some problem between this kernel and your integrated graphics chip. You might have chosen this version of Ubuntu since it is a LTS one. Also the most obvious reason to think of would be that system freezes are caused by compiz or any other window decorator or window manager, it is really just a incompatibility with the kernel.
Are Google Chrome or Chromium responsible?
Since the last Google Chrome and Chromium Update, you might think that these browsers are responsible, since you suddenly find some entries in your syslog that contain:
audit ... comm="chromium-browse" reason="seccomp" sig=0 syscall=4 compat=0 ... code=0x50002
Unfortunately it is a bit more complicated: not the browsers themselves are creating the errors, but they are just printing errors logged in the syslog that are the effect of the problem with the kernel. Most of the times you might even experience the freezing issue using Chrome or Chromium, but this is not mainly because of these browsers but because you use them most of the time you use your computer. This makes it significantly more possible that you experience the issue while browsing the internet.
If you upgrade to the next highest version of your distribution (e.g. Ubuntu 12.10 or Linux Mint 14) you automatically get the newer Linux Kernel version 3.5 and won't experience the problem anymore. If you don't feel like upgrading, it is also possible to install the kernel of the next Ubuntu / Linux Mint version without doing an complete system upgrade. If you are using Ubuntu 12.04 or Linux Mint 13 you can install a package called linux-generic-lts-quantal. It is a special meta package to equip the LTS (Long Time Support) versions Ubuntu 12.04 / Linux Mint 13 with the most uptodate kernel from the next Ubuntu version, which is codenamed Quantal Quetzal. Install it like this:
Is it really fixed?
Fixing an issue like this always comes with the uncertainty whether the problem is really gone for good. A couple of things you can check to be reassured:
Additionally: we applied the fix to one of our own machines, which stalled at least once per day because of this issue. It now has worked flawlessly for a whole week 24/7, even with running burn-in tests during nights! So it seems the kernel upgrade really resolved this issue for good, and the best thing: you can stick to the latest LTS version from Ubuntu and Linux Mint without the need for doing a distribution upgrade just because of the newer kernel.