Thunderbird 70-100% CPU idle in Ubuntu Oneiric 11.10

, posted: 19-Dec-2011 16:06

Dear People From The Future
Use gtk-theme-switch2 to change from Oxygen-Molecule to some other theme, Oxygen-Molecule caused me  massive CPU usage for Thunderbird and *some* other GTK software.  Oxygen-Molecule-Flat works fine.

So, I made the really stupid mistake of thinking that it was time that I could put off an update of Ubuntu no longer, and set about updating to 11.10.

Now, lets set aside the fact for the moment that once I saw (let alone tried to use) Unity I installed kubuntu-* and switched to KDE after many many years of being a Gnome user (much has been written by others on the rampant stupidity that is the Unity interface).

Anyway, after a lot of messing about, I'm now at a state that I'm happy with, EXCEPT, well, lets look at the screenshot and see if you see a problem [click for bigness] - the ever delightful Traylor Howard is not a problem...

Do you see it?  

That's right. Thunderbird is using massive amounts of CPU, matched or exceeded by Xorg (when Thunderbird is running).  Note that I have taken the screenshot with Thunderbird ONLY on the "select profile", WHAT ON EARTH IS IT DOING?!  

It gets worse if you actually select a profile (even a brand new EMPTY one); it will sit there eating 95-100% of CPU, it works, but when it's not doing anything, it is chewing CPU like a crazy thing.  

Luckily I have 4 cores, but having two of them being effectively run at 100% all the time is NOT conducive to multi tasking.  Not to mention the occasional "pauses" it causes, just locking everything for a second or two.

So far I have found two programs that cause this behaviour.  Thunderbird, and Unison.

Ideas anybody?!

Update 1 

Now for something really interesting, if I maximise the thunderbird window, CPU usage falls right away to normal (0-1%), if I un-maximise it, it shoots back to 100% again.  And it ONLY works if you use the maximize button in the window bar, if you just resize to cover the entire screen, it keeps the 100%, but click the maximize button and it falls to zero!

Update 2

Now that I know it is to do with maximized vs unmaximized windows, my Google search has produced some new fruit...

pdate 3

Update 2 works.  The problem is isolated to the Oxygen-Molecule GTK theme which is supposed to match the KDE Oxygen theme.  The Oxygen-Molecule-Flat theme seems to work fine, as do other "normal" GTK themes.


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James Sleeman
New Zealand

PHP Programmer Extraordinaire

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