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Less responsive input, 3-second freezes & blind-typing


For a while now I've been experiencing a strange behavior where there
are frequent and regular "freezes" when typing or issuing commands
in the shell. All of a sudden I'll find myself "blind-typing" for 3
seconds or so before a backlog of characters burst onto the screen.

I seem to notice this a lot in Vim...maybe because that's what I'm
using most of the time. But this also happens for example when typing
a command into a shell and attempting to tab-complete a filename --
there will be a 3-second pause before the completion takes effect.
Trying another command immediately after, I see the tab-completion
is instant. Setting updatecount=0 in vim to avoid disk activity in
writing to a swap file made no difference.

One guess is that this may have to do with disk access, as when
experiencing this there's the telltale sound of the hard disk spinning
up during the pause. Not always -- at times the disk is already
spinning when I'm typing and then there's the annoying 3-second pause.
But never is there the pause and the disk remains silent.

It used to be this behavior would *only* occur when running on
battery power, when plugged into the AC/DC adapter I would not see
it at all. Now, seemingly coinciding with a recent dist-upgrade, I'm
experiencing the mystery pause while plugged into AC as well.

I posted to the linux-thinkpad list a while back [1] about this,
but none of the suggestions led to a solution. This is incredibly
annoying, making for a barely tolerable user experience. Any
help sorting out what might be causing the problem would be much

This is up-to-date Sid on an X200s ThinkPad, running Screen in a
framebuffer console.

[1] http://old.nabble.com/Less-responsive-input-(blind-typing)-when-running-off-battery-td32277259.html



John Magolske

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