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Re: Why is my load ave so high now?

On Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 11:08 AM, Kevin J.
Cummings<cummings kjchome homeip net> wrote:
> astropulse is the SETI Home BOINC client that I run (NICEd to 19).
> It only uses "excess cycles" and in the past my load average has never
> exceed the 3-5 range, except when I was doing "real" work on the system
> (like running firefox, thunderbird, and other real programs), something I
> almost never do anymore since I bought myself a laptop.
kill it off, wait a few minutes and see if the load average comes down
> I guess what I'm asking is if only 1 job is grabbing most of the CPU, then
> what's causing the system to thrash?  (Is a load average of 12 considered a
> thrashing system?  sendmail thinks it is.)

12 is high.  is the system responsive?  if it is, then this again
points to something that has been nice'd (such as seti), in which case
its not a problem, except for sendmail - which I would then configure
for higher limits.

if its not seti and the system is not very responsive then it could be
something continuously spawning short lived processes.  these can be
hard to spot, run the following and see if the process IDs differ by

bash -c 'echo $$'
sleep 5
bash -c 'echo $$'

if they differ by much, then something is creating processes too
quickly.  you can usually spot these by running pstree -plan a couple
of times and seeing what the differences are.  you may have to do that
a couple of times to spot what is causing the problems.

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