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Location: Somewhere between silicone and silicon valley.
Distribution: OpenSUSE, Mint, Fedora, Ubuntu
What does the service gam_server process do?
I left my Fedora Core 3 machine logged in last night with the desktop locked. When I came in this morning I noticed my cpu utilization was at 100% and then it dropped off to normal immediately after I unlocked the workstation. I ran a netstat -tap and saw a connection closing the process was gam_server and the remote connection was 18.104.22.168 and so I did a tracert to it and dig and then opened a web browser to it and it was a Google page. Just wondering what my machine is doing connecting to Google overnight when I didn't even have a browser open.
gam_server is the binary fo gamin (see http://www.gnome.org/~veillard/gamin/). It's a sgi_fam replacement for file alternation monitoring. I'm not sure how it is started on FC3, but I'd assume you can configure whether or not to run it w/ chkconfig and xinetd.
Your CPU was most likely at 100% because of the screen saver. This often happens w/ my FC2 desktop when the screen saver comes on.
As to your connection to Google, it was most likely not gam_server but an old connection from a web browser -- sometimes connections don't fully close themselves. But, to be safe, I'd download rkhunter and test our your system.
Distribution: Only used RH but have heard good things about Mandrake. BSD might be interesting.
ditto. i'm seeing 97% cpu with top. no screensaver. i have an open office doc up and a badblock command is running (i guess). what starts this thing. if it is controlled by xinetd, it doesn't have an entry in your services. locate lists it as a subdir of libexec or something like that (on FC3).
i'm wondering what started it and is it legitimate or should i kill it. prefer to know what it is first.
Just woke up and my screensaver was running really slow... checked top and noticed all the same stuff you guys noticed, with gam_server hitting the top of the list at like 99% CPU usage. Apparently, it's a known issue .
As a short-term solution, I've had no problems just killing the process with a 'killall gam_server' .
Gives a reasonable rundown of what is likely going on, and the 99th comment suggests installing the development rpm of gamin. I've done that for the only person here who seemed to be having a real problem with gam_server cpu usage and it looks good so far...
Note that if you are having problems when having large/complex filesystems under the /mnt or /media mount points then gam_server is likely to always have problems due to the way the kernel is implemented.
Well, in my case, I do have about four NFS filesystems mounted. My /home directory isn't NFS (I've learned my lesson with that); however, I have created a "/home/private/[username]" NFS mount to which I sym-link choice directories into my userdir(s).
Am I just asking for it? (Or do NFS and gamin inherently not get along?)
While I am sure it would help, I am not sure it would be safe in the long run or best to go off the update path. Right now I just moniter gam_server everyday, kill it if it starts going wild, and renice it when it restarts.
I really think there needs to be a package to remove it, and it should be considered almost a virus in its current operation. Its inexcusable to me to have that kind of software out there; absolutely nothing else in Linux for years has causes so much trouble. The relatively low priority they have placed this bug and the performance hit the systems are taking is outrageous. Its time to stop defending it and either fix it or provide a clean method to eliminate it from systems.
Distribution: FreeBSD, Fedora, RHEL, Ubuntu; OS X, Win; have used Slackware, Mandrake, SuSE, Xandros
Originally Posted by andyholland
I really think there needs to be a package to remove it, and it should be considered almost a virus in its current operation....
Since it is not malicious code, I wouldn't call it a "virus," but its out-of-control nature does lend itself to the possibility of bad coding. It seems to be a harmless package that tries to do good things (tracking file changes for you is a good thing), but there's got to be a better way of keeping it under control than waiting for it to consume 100% CPU so it can be killed.
I also wonder whether this gam_server CPU cycle problem has something to do with my files/folders not being updated in Nautilus until I manually refresh?
I found a great solution on Ubuntu's forum (ubuntuforums.org). Here's the solution from the poster:
Here is a solution that works.
There is a file called "gaminrc" in the "gamin" folder in the "etc" directory which controls how often the gam_server asks the system about changed files.
You have to edit that file as a superuser.
1. Press "Alt" + "F2" to get the "run Application" dialog.
2. In the box type the following (without the quotes) :
"gksu gedit /etc/gamin/gaminrc"
(You will have to type in your administrative password when it asks you)
3. You will need to know what filesystems you are using.
For each filesystem type the following in a separate line replacing <filesystem> with the filesystem you are using:
fsset <filesystem> poll 10
4. Save the file
For example, if you are using the ext3 filesystem you would type the following:
fsset ext3 poll 10
What this does is tell gam_server look for changed files every 10 seconds instead of a gazillion times a second like it was doing.
You can try a different interval other than 10 seconds to see what works best for you.
I'm using RedHat AS version 4, which doesn't have an /etc/gamin directory, so I put the gaminrc file directly in the /etc directory and it worked like a charm (after I sent a "kill -1" to the gam_server pid).