12.2. Identify a Problem
Once again, our first step is to identify the exact problem that we will investigate. In this case, we are going to investigate a periodic slowdown that occurs when I use my Fedora Core 2 desktop. Typically, the desktop performance is reasonable, but occasionally, the disk starts grinding and, as a result, menus and applications take forever to open. After a while, the disk grinding subsides, and then the desktop behavior goes back to normal. In this chapter, we figure out exactly what is causing this problem, and why.
This type of problem is different from the problems in the two previous chapters, because we initially have absolutely no idea what part of the system is causing the problem. When investigating the GIMP's and nautilus's performance, we knew which application was responsible for the problem. In this case, we just have a misbehaving system, and the performance problem could theoretically be in any part of the system. This type of situation is common. When confronted with it, it is important to use the performance tools to actually track down the cause of the problem rather than just guess the cause and try a solution.