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Once in a while, if I've been using the terminal and click on it to select text, the terminal freezes, with the mouse pointer becoming the spinning wheel. Activity monitor also shows 100% CPU usage. I sampled the process during this time twice. I uploaded the samples here and here. Why does it do this?

Update in response to comments:

  • I am on 10.6.8.
  • Snapshot on the context menu: enter image description here
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Which version of OSX? If you (successfully) select some text in Terminal and right-click (or control-click) on it, what comes up in the context menu? –  Seth Noble Sep 28 '12 at 16:37
    
@SethNoble, added the information. –  highBandWidth Sep 28 '12 at 16:43
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1 Answer

When you highlight text in most OS X applications, the system passes that text to a variety of utilities which analyze it to see what that text might be. For example, a url, a phone number, or a street address.

Third-party utilities like TextWrangler and MacVim, as well as built-in utilities, all get a crack at it. Most likely, one of these is hanging for some reason. Try removing the third-party utilities to see if that solves the problem. The utility causing the problem might not be one of those listed in the context menu: those are just the ones which decided they can do something with the text. Any utility which tries to attach to text context menus could be causing the hang, so check all such third-party software.

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When I look at the Act Monitor, terminal is taking up 100% of the CPU. I'd think it would be the other utils taking up the CPU. Also, it seems the function hogging the CPU is kevent. –  highBandWidth Sep 28 '12 at 18:08
    
kevent is simply a system primitive for kernel communication: lots of system calls use it. Data Detectors and initial matching for Text Services run under the process containing the text, so its not surprising that Terminal (the app holding the text) is where the CPU is spiking. The trick is figuring out which Data Detector or Text Service or other plug-in-like thing is misbehaving. –  Seth Noble Oct 1 '12 at 14:35
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