Top not showing cpu usage even remotely accurately

Chuck Swiger cswiger at
Thu Aug 10 10:52:05 UTC 2006

Ian Smith wrote:
> But since running 5.x (5.5-STABLE since 1st Aug) top can show 0.0% idle
> but the cpu usages shown don't add up to much of a fraction of 100%.
[ ... ]
> Any ideas why top hasn't much of a clue about what's consuming cpu? 

Sure, if you're running a parallel make, that will be starting up lots of 
short-lived compiler processes which exit quickly; top can only display the 
CPU load for those processes which are still running at the time it samples 
the system.


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