Solving Ubuntu's 100% CPU Problem

Ubuntu Server 9.04 Install CDUbuntu is a pretty decent operating system for home servers, and it's one that I've used on my 10.6 TB media server for years.  System requirements are typically light, and having a *nix-based server in the house means you have one less thing that needs rebooting (usually).  That said, there are a few little hiccups with the latest and greatest version of Ubuntu when using Remote Desktop.

Kenji was telling me how he recently installed 9.04 (Jaunty Jackelope) on an old computer in his home and how he was using it as a Torrent and MP3 server.  He really enjoyed the ease of installation and said he was thinking about replacing Vista Ultimate with the open-source alternative.  While I doubt he could live without all his Windows-specific software, it would certainly be interesting to see a non-geek change all of their home computers to use a Linux variant.  However, despite the many things that Kenji liked about Ubuntu, there was one thing that annoyed the heck out of him: his server's processor was always running at 100%.

Luckily, I've had this problem before, too!

Replacing vino-server With Something Else

The problem seems to be with the vino-server process when Remote Desktop is enabled.  Disabling Remote Desktop will almost instantly bring a pegged processor from 100% usage down to 1-2% in less than a heart-beat, and will give that computer a new lease on life.

Except now you can't connect remotely.

The great thing about software, though, is that there are so many alternatives that provide essentially the same functionality.  I've been using NoMachine's free NX Server software for a few months now, as well as their Windows and Linux clients.  At the end of the day, we can get everything up and running with three simple commands:

sudo dpkg -i nxclient_3.2.0-14_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i nxnode_3.2.0-13_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i nxserver_3.2.0-16_i386.deb

The server service starts up automatically after being installed, and will auto-start after every boot.  The Windows client is dead simple to install and, aside from the occasional visual weirdness when working over a poor wireless connection, it's been a great tool for those rare instances where I need to connect to the server.

Kenji's Smiling Again

Since installing NX, Kenji's been happier than a pig in poo.  Considering how he's #367087 — Remote Desktop" href="" target="_blank">not the only one reporting this issue, hopefully the Ubuntu team will find some way to resolve the problem.  Until then, there are several other remote desktop solutions out there we can use.

Have you had this problem with Ubuntu or another flavor of Linux? How did you solve it?