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For about the last 6 months, and for about a year before that (with a 6 month hiatus), one of my servers has had a consistently high load average:

13:37:34 up 192 days, 5:44, 2 users, load average: 2.00, 2.01, 2.00

Per another answer, I checked the output of ps:

$ ps -eo stat,pid,user,command | egrep "^STAT|^D|^R"
D<    3043 root     /sbin/modprobe -Q pci:v00008086d0000293Esv000015D9sd0000D780bc04sc03i00
D<    3150 root     /sbin/modprobe -Qba pnp:dPNP0401

Checking the config & loaded modules:

$ modprobe -c | grep "pnp:dPNP0401"
alias pnp:dPNP0401* parport_pc

$ sudo modprobe -l | grep parport_pc

So it appears to be a parallel port rule, but I can't think of what might be connected, or why. Physical access to the server is about 2 hours drive away.

Operating system is Ubuntu 8.04.4.

I can't see anything obvious anywhere in /etc/ but I may not know what I'm looking for.

Any clues as to what might be causing this, and where this modprobe rule may have come from?

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Is the problem purely cosmetic? Or is there a performance problem? – David Schwartz Jul 23 '12 at 4:30
I would expect if you're seeing a load average of 2 or higher there is a performance issue of some sort, the question is how bad is it's severity. What part of the scheduler is loaded? System, User, Nice?? – Red Tux Jul 23 '12 at 4:34
@RedTux snmp (cacti) shows system and user, CPU usage is <1% most of the time. – Andrew Jul 23 '12 at 4:50
@DavidSchwartz Cosmetic at this stage, too many other know performance issues to determine if this is a factor. – Andrew Jul 23 '12 at 4:59

Check your udev rules to see if that pci string shows up. In addition have a look at your pci bus, see if that string shows up in there, you may need something like "lspdi -vvv" with grep to find it and start back tracking.

If you're feeling very adventurous try running the modprobe command in question with strace and see where it's hanging, that may or may not give you some additional clues.

Lastly, when was the last time you patched the system?

share|improve this answer
90-modprobe.rules has a generic PNP helper, nothing else obvious. System is production & 2 hours drive away so I'd prefer to leave it alone than risk crashing it. Uptime indicates it's been > 190 days since any updates were run; it's due for an upgrade to 10.04 anyway. – Andrew Jul 23 '12 at 4:56

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