Just a quick note about life on a tiny CPU.
Using the Raspberry Pi, with IceApe (FireFox derivative) browser, I have sometimes felt it was just too slow.
Especially when editing postings. WordPress is painfully ‘chatty’ when entering a posting. Constantly spell checking the doc, and the longer it gets the slower things go. It periodically flushes a copy back to the mothership, and for a long posting, that can end up taking almost the time before the next flush shows up… Now, add in some extra demands and the fact that IceApe will only use one of the 4 cores, it can bog down fairly quickly.
For example, at the moment, while typing, I’m at about 19% to 30% total CPU usage. Stop typing, it drifts back down to between 1% and about 11% as it does a servicing of the other minor tasks of keeping the machine running and checking that I didn’t type anything into the open ‘terminal’ window. I have 4 pages open. One, on “comments” so I can check the arrival of anything in SPAM or Moderation. One is this new article. One is the “Non-PC Sundae” page as a sample low load web page, and one is a git repository (so not much happening).
I expect the CPU to cycle like this. And, for most articles, this is a very acceptable experience, if just a touch of type-ahead at times.
From time to time, the experience has been very different. One core just maxed out, even when I stop typing. A 25% machine utilization minimum (shows in the upper corner of the screen) and when “top” is running in a terminal window, it shows a nearly constant 100% (93%ish on up) usage by IceApe of one core. Keeping it maxed.
I’ve finally figured out what’s the difference. IF I have a window open at http://iceagenow.info/ it happens. Close that window, I have some CPU left over.
I think this is the animated ads that do it (I’ve not tested the R.Pi with ads blocked… but will ‘soon’ as this is a PITA). So I did a test at WUWT. CPU was between 5% and 12% while reading but not typing nor moving the mouse. No video popped up, but that may be because I don’t have FLASH (the bug haven and ‘hack me hotel’) installed. Or maybe I didn’t wait long enough. I may need to get a wider sample to figure out just what, exactly, is pegging things. (Yet it does play Youtube videos, if a bit jerky, so supports HTML5? Yet more loose ends… but “Help:About Plugins” says none installed.)
What is very clear is that something at iceagenow.info is pegging the CPU; other sites don’t do this, and it shows up in a big way on the Raspberry Pi, but either doesn’t happen or isn’t as noticed on other platforms. (More testing to continue later as the “box of the day” is booted and I try other browsers while monitoring process CPU use.
Hard to say.
First off, the Chromium browser on the R.PiM2 doesn’t do this. Only IceApe. That implies an issue with the browser. Yet lots of other sites don’t do it, which implies an issue with that site generating HTML ‘with issues’.
Setting “block images from this website” didn’t stop it, but also didn’t stop the images that were advertizing. Yet another test for later. As the rest of the site is just text, I think that strongly points to one of the advertisers making HTML that flaky or trying to suck up more than 1 core worth of CPU (on the assumption everyone is on a 4 core 64 bit 4 GB memory Intel UnobTainium 4-GHz box like their developer uses?)
I set this box up to be it’s own DNS server (as it will be the PXE Boot server too) but not yet pruned the list back to add blocking DNS sources (“first make it work normally”…) So that’s now a ‘thing to try’ to see if it is an advert.
Also, the IceApe Browser isn’t smart enough to use more than one core. While “best” would be to not go into CPU runaway process, if it spit out a thread that sucked up one core for some bogus HTML Advert but used a second core for all the rest, I’d likely not have noticed at all as I usually have one or two idle cores at any one time. Even when Chromium is using a couple, just one tends to cover the background stuff leaving one idle.
So I suspect this is an “any of the above can fix it” problem. IceApe by doing whatever Chromium does. IceApe by using more than one core. The (suspected) advertiser by not spitting out bogus HTML and/or Java. The web site provider by checking and blocking it. Or even me, by using a different browser, box, or changing settings. Heck, maybe even Debian or Raspbian in the porting process could fix it.
Once I figure out what to do, I’ll post a comment on what was found.
What this means for now, though, is that if you do try IceApe on the Raspberry Pi (Model 2 for me) and it is always running CPU pegged; try closing open windows one at a time while watching “top” and see if one window in particular makes all the difference in the world…
Anyone wishing to try that web site with other browsers (or the same browser on other platforms) and report any findings, please do. The time you save might be my own ;-)
UPDATE: (Yeah, I know… all of a minute after posting… Think first, then hit post…)
I just tested the Epiphany browser and it has no problems. With two browsers having “no problem” and one “with issues” it’s looking a bit more like a browser issue or at most a “both the website / advert HTML and browser interacting”.