Train Wreck. How nemo-desktop trashed both my local machine and the LAN

For some time now, I’ve been having problems where the power-save (suspend) feature of my desktop system has failed to put the machine to sleep. In some cases, in fact, the entire machine became black-screen unresponsive.

Examination of the system logs indicated that the suspend function was failing to freeze a number of tasks, thereby aborting the suspend. Indications were that it related to the glusterfs fuse client, and some tweaking of the gluster client and servers to upgrade protocol versions did help, it appeared, but only temporarily.

The other thing that I didn’t like was that the nemo-desktop task was eating one of my cores alive. I actually removed the entire cinnamon system and re-installed it, but that didn’t help. I considered moving back to gnome, but I need those monitoring widgets that gnome 3 in its arrogance dropped, and I keep a lot of icons on the desktop for quick access to hot project resources.

As it happened, I botched a cron definition on a long-running backup job, the server started launching multiple instances of it, and the gluster system took over the LAN. I fixed that, but noticed that gluster was still doing a ton of traffic to my desktop system.

And, incidentally, nemo-desktop response was painfully slow even just to pop up menus. But not regular file-explorer nemo. Only the desktop!

Digging into the toolkit (and google), I found to my horror that for some reason, nemo-desktop was opening, reading, and closing files over and over and over again. And among the files it was chowing down on were a handful of shortcuts (softlinks) to resource out on the glusterfs filesystem.

I deleted all of those links and suddenly all was calm. My network activity dropped to a whisper, and, strangely, nemo-desktop seemed to stop iterating through desktop files. So I’ve lost some convenience, but now the system performs much better (although nemo-desktop still reacts somewhat sluggishly). And power-save features now work reliably.

Author:

Evil Genius specializing in OS's, special hardware and other digital esoterica with a bent for Java.