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When my server experiences high load and I run a command, there is a long delay after the command has finished before I get the prompt again. Any idea what is causing this?

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closed as too localized by Caleb, Stéphane Gimenez, Mat, Tim Kennedy, jw013 Sep 27 '12 at 18:02

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Why is anything slow when there's high load? It's a game of chase the bottleneck. There's no magic bullet answer. – bahamat Aug 14 '12 at 9:09
I mean it literally takes minutes to print the prompt. The actual command has finished executing (e.g. a cat printed the last line). Is this then the context switch before the shell gets to run again? That would be surprising. – ensonic Aug 14 '12 at 9:21
My guess is that your terminal's nice level is outranked by more demanding processes, so it cannot compete for CPU and has to wait a little longer for attention. – invert Aug 14 '12 at 9:23
How high of a load are we talking here? can you add some CPU averages for us? – invert Aug 14 '12 at 9:24
Are you sure it's finished? Have you traced it to be certain that it has exited and returned control to the shell? There are about a million things that it could be, ranging from software to hardware. – bahamat Aug 14 '12 at 9:24

Something slow is running before each prompt, through the PROMPT_COMMAND mechanism. In my case, this.

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