FreeBSD 4.8R sluggish performance

Scott scot-gale at
Mon May 31 12:17:35 PDT 2004

This problem also occurred a few months ago but spontaneously
resolved itself after a few cold boots, so I never found
out exactly what the problem was. Most functions have slowed
dramatically. Some examples:

If I try to ping a host on the internet (e.g., I
get all the packets, but the output of the command doesn't
begin for at least 10 seconds. If I try startx, it takes about
30 seconds just to begin to display the root window. Even
backspacing seems much slower.

While this is going on, no unusual processes are running and
the CPU is practically unused. Nor is it merely a matter of
delay--the CPU usage never spikes up like it normally would. It
just sits mostly idle while the command I've issued takes a
long time to complete.

Although I haven't installed any software or changed anything
else lately, I tried booting the GENERIC kernel instead, but
the problem remained.

I can always tell when the problem will occur based upon what
happens at boot. There are no error messages, but the slowness
begins when the standard daemons are loading. Cron and sshd
load just fine, but the delay occurs as sendmail loads, and
there is another delay as sendmail-clientmqueue loads. Once
that happens I know I'm in trouble thereafter.

I know this isn't much to go on, but does anyone have any clue
on what I might try? Thank you.

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