Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm using GNU Emacs (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu, GTK+ Version 2.18.0) and start my Emacs session inside GNU screen. Since I upgraded to Ubuntu 10.04 and the version of emacs-snapshot there I encounter some problems. Sometimes Emacs hogs all RAM plus the same amount of swap space (2+2GB) and also eats all CPU time. When I send the process a SIGTERM the process stops to eat CPU time, but the huge allocated amount of memory stays. Emacs itself doesn't take any key sequences. So usually I send the process a SIGKILL and it dies.

Now I want to find out where the bug (if there is one) is located and want to do some debugging. I can see no special reason for this behavior. Sometimes it starts after Emacs is freshly started, sometimes I can work a whole day without problems, sometimes it happens in between. So I'm looking for a kind of debugging or monitoring the process. I tried strace, but this generates too much output. Strace output of a editing session should easily fill my whole harddrive. Running Emacs inside gdb should also not work, because if I remember correctly Ubuntu builds the software without debugging symbols. So do you have any advice how I can find the (possible) bug? What would you suggest?

share|improve this question
GNU Emacs 23.2 was released in May; if you are not satisfied with Ubuntu's default 23.1, good chances are that the bug has already been fixed upstream. – Riccardo Murri Aug 9 '10 at 8:53
It seems that there are no Ubuntu packages for 23.2, so I'll have to check out CVS. – qbi Aug 9 '10 at 21:56
I strongly suspect that emacs-snapshot is lagging behind now and just plain emacs package will bring you more recent version. At least it did that to me a while back ago. – vava Sep 12 '10 at 9:44
emacs-snapshot has version and emacs 23.1.1. – qbi Sep 12 '10 at 19:14

Perhaps the package emacs-snapshot-dbg might be of interest?

"This package contains the debugging symbols useful for debugging Emacs."

share|improve this answer
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I found the answer to this by accident. The problem was not emacs, but a malfunctioning GNOME keyring. When I start Emacs without the keyring daemon all is fine. So disabling it resolved my issue here.

share|improve this answer

At the moment I'm trying to save all content of Messages-buffer to a file and hope to find something useful:

(with-current-buffer "*Messages*" (auto-save-mode t))
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.