[ubuntu-uk] Strange high CPU usage problem

John Stevenson john at jr0cket.com
Thu Feb 24 09:47:33 UTC 2011

On 24 February 2011 09:29, Rossen Stoyanchev <rstoyanchev at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Hi-
> Apologies if this isn't the right place. Having started as a Ubuntu user in
> 7.04 I find myself completely baffled by the this one.
> Every now and then an application starts using a lot of CPU. This is
> typically when running Flash or Java typically in a browser but I'm not
> completely sure about what triggers. The strange thing is that once the
> problem occurs all applications become affected. Even simple things like
> opening a file browser or dragging windows around spikes the CPU to 100% for
> 10-15 seconds or longer. It's like a gradual melt-down with the system
> becoming unusable even for simple tasks. The only solution at that point is
> powering off the laptop completely, which takes a long time since all
> processes are now really slow to close down.
> Needless to say a very debilitating problem to have and I'm baffled as to
> how to narrow things down. I know how to look up CPU usage by process with
> top but when all applications begin to exhibit this behavior that's pretty
> much useless.
> Thanks,
> Rossen <https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UKTeam/>

The plugin-container of Firefox can go berserk on occasion.  I have this
problem on Ubuntu 10.04 64bit version.  When I open system monitor I notice
that the firefox process is file, bu the plugin container is on a bit of a
rampage through system resources.

If I kill the plugin-container process, things are back to normal and it
does not kill firefox - although of course all the flash bits die but in a
managable way.

If you have this issue with the plugins causing problems, then try using
flashblock firefox plugin, you will find you are using less memory if you do
and it will help you control how much flash runs concurrently, especially if
you have many tabs open.

Thank you
John Stevenson
Lean Agile Consultant / Coach
jr0cket.com  |  leanagilemachine.com
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