unclutter: cursor flashes repeatedly over GTK apps., takes 100% CPU

Bug #385034 reported by Jim Petersen
This bug affects 9 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
unclutter (Debian)
Fix Released
unclutter (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: unclutter

Ubuntu 9.04
unclutter Installed: 8-9

What is expected:

Cursor should disappear and stay gone when mouse is idle for a specified time.

What happened instead:

unclutter works as expected in many cases, e.g. when pointing at a web browser display window in Firefox. But it seems that in many GTK applications, pointing the cursor at a blank area of the app causes the cursor to flutter/blink/flash very quickly off and on after the specified -idle time. Not only does the cursor flutter, but Xorg begins to take up ~50% of CPU capacity on my 2.4 GHz P4 (according to xosview and top). Qt applications seem unaffected. Shaking the mouse causes the cursor to reappear normally and not flash, and CPU usage to go back to ~0%. But as soon as the idle period is over, the cursor begins to flash again.

An example of an app. that consistently exhibits the flashing cursor behavior is Open Office word processor--point to a blank document window, or to an empty spot on the menubar, and the cursor begins flashing. However, I have seen this behavior in many other GTK apps, not just Open Office. I see that gcalctool (Applications->Accessories->Calculator), for example, also exhibits the behavior. gcalctool + unclutter causes 100% CPU usage (about 50% user and 50% system) between gcalctool, metacity, and Xorg, according to top and xosview. To see the behavior, point the cursor at a _blank_ area of the widget canvas; pointing it at one of the number keys, for example, does not show the behavior.

Revision history for this message
cristoperb (chris-mretc) wrote :

Does running unclutter with the -noevents flag cause it to behave as expected?

Revision history for this message
Jim Petersen (jpeter20) wrote :

As a matter of fact, YES. I happened upon that solution about a month ago when checking out the unclutter manpage, where I saw the -noevents flag option. So you can close this ticket. Thanks!

Revision history for this message
Mihai Capotă (mihaic) wrote :

I also noticed this bug. Maybe -noevents could be added to the default options.

Revision history for this message
Artem Popov (artfwo) wrote :

This also occurs on Maverick, where unclutter is a dependency for ubuntu-desktop. Really irritating issue, please fix!

Changed in unclutter (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
Andy Whitcroft (apw) wrote :

Confirmed in maverick as at 13-jul-2010. This leads to my machine halving its battery life. killall unclutter sorts it out temporarily.

Revision history for this message
Andy Whitcroft (apw) wrote :

Also confirming that -noevents fixes this.

Revision history for this message
Roger Binns (ubuntu-rogerbinns) wrote :

Also happening for me on upgrading to oneiric. -noevents is also a fix in this case

Revision history for this message
Axel Beckert (xtaran) wrote :

This has been fixed in 8-19 which is in Ubuntu Saucy:

unclutter (8-19) unstable; urgency=low

  * Add patch by Tao Nelson to fix blinking pointer and 100% CPU usage
    with GTK applications. (Closes: #266118) Thanks Tao!
  * Bump debhelper compatibility to 9 to ease hardening build flags
    + Update versioned debhelper build-dependency to >= 9~.
  * Add patch to properly pass $LDFLAGS (fixes lintian warning
    hardening-no-relro) and $CFLAGS (fixes blhc warning)
  * Add patch to fix lintian warning hyphen-used-as-minus-sign.
  * Bump Standards-Version to 3.9.4 (no changes)
  * Fix grammar in README.source.

 -- Axel Beckert <email address hidden> Thu, 02 May 2013 02:15:08 +0200

Changed in unclutter (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Fix Released
Changed in unclutter (Debian):
status: Unknown → Fix Released
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