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This seems to be on a random basis.

Any ideas on what could cause this?

(sorry for the lack of detail - it really does seem to be random)

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Sometimes it simply dies, and you need to restart it. Alternatively, the system could be temporally unresponsive and it might take more time that usual to invoke the launcher.

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I don't think the system is busy so I guess it just dies. Is this normal? I have found most popular Linux apps/daemons to be very stable. –  AFD Apr 19 '11 at 22:01
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It's not normal for Ubuntu generally but gnome-do, bless its cotton socks, has had some bugs like this. When it stops responding, find the pid in the system monitor or ps, and run ubuntu-bug PID to file a bug. –  poolie Apr 20 '11 at 0:32
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