Gutsy 7.10 - A mind of it's own.

Rashkae ubuntu at
Sun Dec 21 17:31:56 UTC 2008

Ted Hilts wrote:
> Rashkae wrote:
>> Ted Hilts - Thunderbird Acct. wrote:
>>> For several days now my Resource Usage Monitor has been busy even when 
>>> there is supposed to be nothing running.  So I did a "ps -A" and looked 
>>> for a process that might be the cause.  It turns out  that  my Gutsy 
>>> 7.10 was doing some kind of unattended upgrade -- the first time I have 
>>> ever seen this happen.  I checked the man files as well as the Ubuntu 
>>> Community Documentation and found "sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get 
>>> install ubuntustudio-desktop ubuntustudio-audio 
>>> ubuntustudio-audio-plugins ubuntustudio-graphics ubuntustudio-video 
>>> linux-rt" but nothing about what set this process into motion in the 
>>> first place. In the effort of finding this situation I did "sudo kill -9 
>>> process-number" (where process-number represents the actual process 
>>> number). The process took a while to wind down which I thought was 
>>> strange.  By this time I was beginning to worry about the state in which 
>>> I had left the system.  For example, what happened after the kill 
>>> command? Can I resume the process?  What was upgrade actually doing;  
>>> apps. or apps plus kernel, just somethings or everything? If the process 
>>> was repeated either from where it left off or from the beginning what 
>>> happens to my system which pretty well runs 7-24 until it crashes or 
>>> goes weird.  Does it alert me in some way or what?
>>> Thanks for any help or suggestions.
>>> Thanks -- Ted
>> For future reference, never use -9 signal unless as a last resort.
>> Although I can't say what state killing an apt install process will
>> leave your system, it's certain that whatever safety net the process
>> might include to handle a Term signal will not take place if you force
>> the issue with -9
> Okay, I appreciate your warning about "kill -9 ..." but what should I 
> have done to stop the "apt" process or any other process as far as that 
> goes? There are many reasons why it may be necessary to stop a process.  
> I obviously don't know the best way.  For just one example, when using 
> FireFox web browser to capture web pages I have seen it hang Ubuntu 
> because of some conflict with a media player that is not responding or 
> does not exist.  

Not sure about your firefox problem.. That in itself is an anomaly and
not business as usual.  I have seen something similar on my Gutsy system
with the Gnash open source Flash player..  It would start filling all
ram (which starts filling swap, causing the system to be unresponsive)
and would continue until the system finally ran out and the Out of
Memory heuristics killed it.

As for killing a process, use the kill command (without the -9).  That
sends a Term signal by default, which means the process itself is
supposed intercept the signal and exit.

It does happen that sometimes a very misbehaving app will not respond to
the term signal and you need end it with a -9.  However, you should save
that as a last resort for already broken apps.

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