My computer's gone mad to a point it is hardly usable (though I am somehow writing this now). There are numerous symptoms, including the mouse cursor keeping disappearing and reappearing, window appearance keeping changing (font size, positioning of elements inside the window, the menu bar appearing and disappearing under the title bar - this is for all windows, not for a particular program), slow reaction time (or at least no immediate visible reaction part of the time, perhaps correlated with appearance changes), system not reacting to my keyboard shortcuts and some programs failing to open (including the keyboard layout selector, system monitor and some - though not all - of the system settings). Also, when I type fast sometimes the letters get mangled.

If anyone knows what's causing this and/or what would solve it I'll be very grateful. One clue I have is that running ps I saw dozens (or even hundreds) of instances of /usr/lib/unity-settings-daemon/usd-locate-pointer. Maybe this holds the key to the mystery?

I'm using Ubuntu 15.10 with Unity.


Well, I've found out what the problem was, and I'll describe it here in case someone else gets here having similar issues.

Something was preventing unity-settings-daemon (hereinafter usd) from operating properly. In my case this something was indicator-keyboard (hereinafter indkbd) which failed to load because of some reason I still don't quite understand, but it has something to do with me adding a new keyboard layout (why it caused it to crash – and without as little as an error message too! – is beyond me). And apparently, indkbd crashing caused usd to crash as well (again, without an explanation of the cause).

I don't know which process runs usd, but it seems it kept launching it again and again. This was responsible for much of the weird behaviour I was witnessing (like the constant fluctuation between two themes and the constant disappearing and reappearing of the mouse cursor). Also, anything that usd takes care of after indkbd was not taken care of, which explains why some other things were not working.

I managed to find where the problem was by running dmesg and examining the segfault's: they were from uncountable usd processes, plus a couple of indkbd's – which made me suspect indkbd was not loading properly, which was indeed solved after restoring my keyboard layout list (/usr/share/X11/xkb/rules/evdev.xml).

The titular usd-locate-pointer seems to be responsible for attracting visual attention to the mouse cursor upon hitting Ctrl. It probably has nothing to do with the problem I had, it's just that more and more instances of it were launched by usd as the latter was constantly relaunched (which burdened my system even more).

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