Memory leak in update-notifier-kde

Bug #289264 reported by Julien Aubin on 2008-10-25
This bug affects 13 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
update-notifier-kde (Ubuntu)
Jonathan Riddell
Nominated for Karmic by Stefan Fleiter

Bug Description

Binary package hint: update-notifier-kde

I've seen a memory leak in update-notifier-kde package. Each time you update the package list with the aptitude update method, the memory used by the process increases but never decreases then.

How-to-reproduce :
DO: launch the update-notifier-kde process
DO: run top or htop and sort processes upon the used memory.
DO: launch several times an aptitude update command.
You can run the following command as root in order to save time :
for i in `seq 1 50`; do sudo aptitude update; done
EXPECT: the memory used by the update-notifier-kde process increases a lot, more than 100 MB used at the end of the for loop !!!

The issue should have a very low impact in most of the cases, but for a production machine that runs 24/7 this can become resource-critical.

Release used :
Kubuntu 8.10
Package revision : 0.9

I suspect the issue from coming from one of the following lines (my knowledge of Python is NONE ;-) ) :

Line 103: self.new_dist = metaRelease.new_dist // Any garbage connection of the old new_dist reference if any ?
Line 124: self.new_dist = metaRelease.new_dist // Same comment

vlk (palo-bielyvlk) wrote :

I see the same problem.. I thing, after four updates is 90MB too much for one small application.

Daiwai (daiwai) wrote :

Confirmed. Kubuntu was running for about 13 days and the update-notifier-kde process used more than 230M at the end.

vlk (palo-bielyvlk) on 2008-11-14
Changed in update-notifier-kde:
status: New → Confirmed
Hervé Fache (rvfh) wrote :

I did not look at the startup memory usage, but found this bug when trying to report this program is (after plasma) the greediest on my system:

21946 herve 20 0 135m 66m 18m S 0 6.6 16:28.16 /usr/binplasma
21995 herve 39 19 116m 51m 19m S 0 5.1 0:35.93 python /usr/bin/update-notifier-kde

I think 51 MB of residual memory is a tad too much for an applet...

Hervé Fache (rvfh) wrote :

And this is after logout/logon:

29856 herve 39 19 109m 43m 28m R 100 4.3 0:03.26 python /usr/bin/update-notifier-kde
29852 herve 20 0 83768 29m 18m S 0 2.9 0:00.52 python /usr/bin/printer-applet
29807 herve 20 0 97740 25m 17m S 0 2.6 0:01.53 /usr/bin/plasma

Wow! 43 MB still!!! And 29 for the printer applet, in front of Plasma!
Let's check again when 4.2 Beta 1 is available.

Yevgen Antimirov (turist) wrote :

My `top` from 17 days-uptime machine:

6916 yevgen 39 19 197m 124m 22m S 0 3.8 1:17.20 python /usr/bin/update-notifier-kde

Guys, please please check what's wrong with it. Thanks!

Mine after 1 day, 17:56:
4674 fache 39 19 130m 63m 21m S 0 3.4 0:38.34 python

Not bad either, huh?

Jonathan Riddell (jr) on 2009-01-20
Changed in update-notifier-kde:
assignee: nobody → jr
Julien Aubin (gojulgarbmail) wrote :

The issue also applies to Jaunty :
Currently the process is eating almost 100 MBs of memory.

Daniel Hahler (blueyed) wrote :

This appears to be caused by apt_check /

            result =
            result = (0, 0)
in /usr/bin/update-notifier-kde prevents this growth of memory usage (there's minor growing still though - according to ps).

apt_check is in /usr/lib/update-notifier/ (from update-notifier-common).

I've quickly looked into it: it used apt_pkg, which may be causing it.

btw: a comment in update-notifier-kde says that the whole checkNewPackages may not be required in the future:
 checkNewPackages = True #kpackagekit has a new package notifier but it's broken so use this

Looks like some memory profiling is required here.

Changed in update-notifier-kde (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
status: Confirmed → Triaged
Daniel Hahler (blueyed) wrote :

btw: I've added the following snippet (in variants) to debug this (and added output to update-notifier-kde):
(update-notifier-kde &); sleep 5; pid=$(pgrep -f ^python.*update-notifier); echo $pid; for i in `seq 1 50`; do ps aux|grep update-notifier|grep -v grep|grep python|awk '{print $2":"$5"/"$6}'; sudo touch /var/lib/apt/lists/; sleep 15; done; kill $pid

This may help you, apart that a "real profiler" is more useful of course, see e.g.

Gobnuts (gobnuts) wrote :

I experience the same problem on Jaunty with KDE 4.3RC1.
running apt-get update and apt-get upgrade twice makes update-notifier-kde rack up around 200 MB of Ram (everytime I run it, update... takes in a few more MBs. Also for a couple of minutes it insane amounts of CPU time (in the high 70s to 80s initially, the between 20 and 50% for another couple of minutes).

Now, on my main machine it not that big of a deal, but on weaker machines this is really annoying as this almost causes the system to come to a grinding halt.
If there is a fix out for karmic already it would be nice to have this backported to Jaunty.

Daniel Hahler (blueyed) wrote :

I'm raising the priority to High, since it's really bad for long running systems (that e.g. only get suspended / hibernated).

If this cannot get fixed properly, I think a workaround should get implemented to regularly restart the app.

Changed in update-notifier-kde (Ubuntu):
importance: Medium → High
Julien Aubin (gojulgarbmail) wrote :

In the worst case, you can kill the process yourself. It should restart after the next sudo aptitude update.

Götz Christ (g-christ) wrote :

The big memory leak is still present in version 0.19 of Jaunty.

As a workaround until this is fixed, how can I disable update-notifier-kde so that it doesn't start every time?

BongoMan (pascal-bongosoft) wrote :

I observe this bug too in jaunty 64 bit. Here what top says after only 1/2 hour uptime and one "apt-get update":

4620 pp 39 19 435m 139m 25m S 0 4.7 2:13.41 python /usr/bin/update-notifier-kde


Note that after running "apt-get update", update-notifier-kde had high cpu usage (nice time) during 2-3 minutes. This could have to do with a big KDE update today, but should not happen...

> how can I disable update-notifier-kde so that it doesn't start

I would be interested in this too...

myrtille (akm1984) wrote :


I think you can disable it by starting KPackageKit, go to settings ->Edit Software Sources->Updates and in Automatic updates uncheck "check for updates".

Götz Christ (g-christ) wrote :

@myrtille: you are right, thanks for the tip!

But in Karmic I have seen that update-notifier-kde uses less memory, between 20-35 MB. Right now it uses 5 MB (RSS 15 MB)

dtr (dtr) wrote :

I've noticed this for some time now, I'm using Kubuntu 9.04 64 bit.
Today the update-notifier-kde is using 217 MB long after I checked for updates. If I don't kill the process it remains until either shut-down or reboot.

myrtille (akm1984) wrote :

G.Christ I can confirm.
Looks as if this is fixed in Karmic. I ran the loop of the initial post on an up to date karmic and update-notifier "only" uses ~30Mb. On jaunty I had it using up to and above 400Mb of RAM on the same PC.

Changed in update-notifier-kde (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → Fix Released
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