[CentOS] Load Average ~0.40 when idle

listmail listmail at entertech.com
Sun Jul 20 22:52:38 UTC 2008

On Sat, 19 Jul 2008 21:56:45 -0700, John R Pierce wrote
> Stephen John Smoogen wrote:
> > On Sat, Jul 19, 2008 at 2:48 PM, listmail <listmail at entertech.com> wrote:
> >   
> >> I am running CentOS 5 on a dual-dual-core Intel machine, and I am seeing
> >> a load average of between 0.35 and 0.50 while the machine is idle, i.e.
> >> no processes appear to be running.
> >
> > Download the livecd and boot using it. See if the load average still
> > occurs. Check to see if you have any traffic occuring on the network
> > from the system. [I had a box that was kernel trojaned that had a load
> > average all the time when it was on the wire and did not when it
> > didn't. The kernel trojan was looking for a particular bit of traffic
> > that would open up its backdoor to.]
> >
> its been ages since i've had to do this, but in years past, rkhunter 
> was really good at finding rootkits like this.   worst case, you put 
> it on alive CD and run it from there.
OK, I downloaded the CentOS 5.2 Live CD and booted from it. To eliminate
load from the GUI, I forced the system into runlevel 3 and ran top.
I see the same problem; the load average sits at about 0.40 continuously.
This is with the ethernet drivers running, and it does not matter if the
network cables are plugged in or not.

In my mind, that pretty much eliminates the possibility of a rootkit, unless
one was delivered with the Live CD. :-)  So it looks like this is a bug
in either the Intel GLAN driver, or some other kernel timing issue. If anyone
can suggest where this bug should be reported and is likely to be addressed,
please let me know. I don't know myself who would be the correct party to

Thanks to everyone who responded and helped me track this one down. I'm not
sure if should roll back to CentOS 5.0, or just try to live with this bug
until the maintainers address it, but at least I have some idea of what's


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