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This is a problem I've had for years, but just haven't posted anywhere about it until now.

I'm running GRML, a Debian squeeze based Linux distro, and occasionally certain processes will runaway and cause 100% CPU usage. The only way I can usually know is when my thermal meter on my statusbar will turn yellow. Sometimes I run fullscreen applications when it happens, though, so I sometimes don't catch it, leaving my computer wasting away at my CPU.

The processes that I can think of off the top of my head are these: abook, aumix, hnb, wyrd. They are all NCurses based console applications, and there are others that are also NCurses based. Is there a bug in NCurses somewhere that I need patched or something?

This also happened on the same distro with the same applications on a different laptop with the same configurations.

Any ideas? Thanks!

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What does top tell you about the individual programs? – Dennis Williamson Jun 27 '10 at 21:55
Nothing special other than them running at 99-100% CPU. – BCable Jul 12 '10 at 23:48
Try htop. RAM footprint? Are they being I/O blocked? – CarlF Sep 28 '10 at 18:20

Whenever that happens, try to strace -ppidof programname-o /tmp/wtf, let it run for a while, stop it with ctrl+c and read the resulting /tmp/wtf with less or whatever you like to use. See if the process is banging its head and doing something again and again ad infinitum.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

I finally figured this problem out. I started noticing a pattern in when it happened: after I Alt+Q (Alt+F4 equivalent) a running terminal with certain ncurses based programs as mentioned above, instead of shutting them down "properly".

This was true about both WMII and Ion3 window managers, so figured it had nothing to do with the WM, which turns out to be false.

In WMII, I changed the keybinding to execute "slay" instead of "kill" on the following config line, and everything is working fine:

wmiir xwrite /client/$1/ctl slay

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