non-stop disk activity

Tommy Reynolds Tommy.Reynolds at
Thu May 13 07:11:07 UTC 2004

Uttered Per Bothner <per at>, spake thus:

> First, the cpuspeed daemon writes out a log message
> May 12 10:37:34 kelso kernel: longhaul: FSB:133 Mult:5.5x
> multiple times a minute.  This is due to a dprintk in
> /usr/src/linux-2.6.5-1.327/arch/i386/kernel/cpu/cpufreq/longhaul.c
> I can disable the cpuspeed service, but that doesn't seem like a
> good idea if I'm concerned about power usage!  Can this message
> be removed?

Kernel log messages are handled by the syslog daemon.  You can edit
the file "/etc/syslog.conf" to control where kernel messages of a
certain priority are logged such as "/dev/null".

> Second, a bunch of things get run by cron.  mailman wants cron
> to run gate_news every 5 minutes.  This is still going on even
> after I disables mailman in the services configuration.  I can
> presumably edit /var/mailman/cron/*, but I shouldn't have to
> if I've turned off the mailman service.

The cron daemon is going to wake up every minute and scan its
crontabs, even if no work needs doing?  How else is it going to know?
Just turn off the cron daemon when you want low-power mode; some
essential system maintenance (such a log file rotation) isn't going 
to get done so either do it yourself or enable cron overnight once in
a while.
> mrtg is also run every 5 minutes, and I have no idea how to
> turn that off.

This is another cron job: "/etc/cron.d/mrtg" so when you disable cron
this should also stop for you.
> /usr/lib/sa/sa1 is run every 10 minutes, and I'd like to turn
> that off or run it less frequently.  (I assume this is
> "system accounting" but I'm not sure).

Yet another cronner.
> These are bad enough, but when I run iostat it tells me that
> something is writing to the disk every 5 or 10 seconds!  If
> I can't fix this there is no way to ever spin down the disk.

The rules say that the filesystem must update the time of last access
of every open file every second.  If you don't want this, just edit
"/etc/fstab" and use the term "noatime" instead of "defaults" for
every hard drive partition line there.  This can result in a
significant savings in disk traffic on a lap top or a huge enterprise

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