Could it be a bug in RedHat 7.3?
I get it in both my machines, both have the same things runnning except one has pppd and pppoe and the other has X. X, I noticed, starts about 30+ processes, while pppd and pppoe are two processes. Clearly, the X one has many more processees running.
Besides, file-max has 19659 in one of them, and I definitely don't have 19659 processes in any machine. It's 8192 in the other, that doesn't have over 50-100.