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In pursuit of reliable, fault-tolerant, fail-safe software and systems

The Humane Society of the United States

Network Load Monitor Bug Workaround
(Xubuntu 8.04 - Hardy Heron)

On slow computers (i.e. 300MHz PII), upon adding the xfce4-netload-plugin to a desktop panel, the options window pops up with no text in it and hangs. Opening a terminal window from another computer and running the top command shows xfce4-netload-plugin as one of the top CPU users with several modprobe commands using even more CPU. Did not experience this problem on an 866MHz machine.

One or a combination of the following default values for the xfcer4-netload-plugin seem to be the cause:
Network Device blank
Update Interval 0.25 secs
Automatic Maximum disabled

Most likely, the update interval is too frequent for the slow CPU to complete processing for one iteration before the next is started.

The Network Device and Automatic Maximum values not being set are unlikely causes as they were not set on the 866MHz machine either.


  • Add the System Monitor to a Desktop panel so you can easily watch the CPU utilization or monitor it via a remote terminal window.
  • Add the Network Monitor to the panel.
    If CPU utilization goes to or near 100%, do the following
    (NOTE: No cursor will appear and no characters will echo):
    • Click on the menu icon in the upper left corner of the Network Monitor window title line and drag the cursor down the list of options. This should cause the text to appear in the window.
    • Click in the Network device: field and enter eth0.
    • Click in the Update interval: field and enter 1.
    • Click on the Automatic maximum checkbox.

After a few seconds, the CPU utilization should drop to normal levels.

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