Before beginning this question, I fully plan to update this post with more information if suggested by commentors or answerers, but other than what I've posted here, I'm not sure what else to post. I'm hoping to get help with that.

This morning when I logged into my CentOS 6.5 system, a lot of desktop applications launched in what appeared to be an endless loop. I believe they were gnome terminals. I deleted the jobs and got control of my system.

Then I noticed using top that sosreport was running and kept running, no matter how many times I killed it as root.

A little black "circular hourglass" showed as the mouse cursor, but I was able to run Firefox and gnome terminal.

Then, I took a chance, and ran yum to update everything. A bunch of stuff updated, and the system went back to normal. That is sosreport was not running, and there was not and endless launching of gnome terminals. The install completed successfully.

I am wondering what kind of thing might have happened; is there a better way to fix it in the future; and what can I check now to see the system is OK?

I have not used this system since Tuesday night, and it was not shut off. And, my system is not on UPS, so there could have been a power dip, but if the power went off, the system probably would not have rebooted.


This Red Hat page outlines what sosreport is and how you can monitor and control it.

The sosreport command is a tool that collects configuration and diagnostic information from a Red Hat Enterprise Linux system. For instance: the running kernel version, loaded modules, and system and service configuration files. The command also runs external programs to collect further information and stores this output in the resulting archive.

To run sosreport the sos package must be installed. The package is part of the default group and will be installed automatically on most systems.


I usually start going through either /var/log/messages or /var/log/secure just to comfort myself that nothing nefarious is going on. After doing that I would recommend a reboot.


There isn't really much else to suggest other then to continue to scrutinize the system more than normal, and keep an eye on things.


I would also take some time to make sure it isn't a hardware issue. I'd use memtest86+ which you can boot from a liveCD and then run for a period of time to make sure it wasn't a bad RAM DIMM that's the culprit.

Final thoughts

I usually suspect the software 60% of the time and hardware 40% of the time, so I focus on potential software solutions such as the logs, you might want to see if you have updates pending (yum check). Don't apply them but just see if you're up to date. An update on a system with failing hardware will only make things worse.

If you're pretty close to being up to date, I'd diagnose with memtest86+ next. Plan on having the system off for a couple of hours while this runs.


This is most likely sos being run by the abrt system - when a crash is detected abrt captures an sosreport with a few basic plugins enabled to provide along with the abrt report.

  • Consider expanding on this answer with quite a bit more detail and relevant information (e.g., documentation excerpts and links). – HalosGhost Oct 31 '16 at 13:57

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