[lug] sluggish machine

Michael J. Hammel mjhammel at graphics-muse.org
Tue May 19 17:21:00 MDT 2009

On Tue, 2009-05-19 at 16:09 -0600, Davide Del Vento wrote:
> The obvious suspects are javascript in the large number of pages I
> keep active in firefox (I need them, don't suggest to not use them,
> they are almost all work related, besides gmail for chatting with
> family and friends - maybe chrome would have been better to pinpoint
> the guilty site, but we don't have it for linux)
> On a similar system (older hw, same OS, maybe slightly different
> packets installed - oddly less carefully picked, like skype) they the
> same websites don't create this mess! So it's not (entirely) web's
> fault.

Actually, that's not completely accurate.  It's possible that a feature
available on the newer machine (which is having the problem) is not
available on the older machine.  Its absence on the older machine
prevents some plugin or javascript or flash (or whatever) from running
on the older machine.  It's presence on the newer machine exposes the
problem.  That's at least a possibility.

One way to isolate the problem to the web is to just close firefox and
see if the problem goes away.  If it does, then its something that's
happening because of one or more of the pages you are browsing.  Begin
to open them one at a time (closing each if they don't exhibit the
problem).  If no single page causes the problem, start opening them up
and leaving them open one at a time.  I know you said you need these
pages, but this is a debugging process to find the real problem.

You can also try to enable NoScript for firefox and see if that catches
which page is doing evil things, if any.

Your description makes it sound like an embedded function (javascript,
java, or flash) is running periodically and chewing up lots of CPU.  The
problem with that analysis is that top (actually I prefer htop these
days) should show firefox eating up all your CPU during that time.  If
it isn't, then it looks like something is trying to hide itself - and
that's never a good thing.
Michael J. Hammel                                    Principal Software Engineer
mjhammel at graphics-muse.org                           http://graphics-muse.org
When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual 
who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that 
individual is crazy. -- Unknown.

More information about the LUG mailing list