I have a Mac Mini (latest model I believe) running OS X 10.7 at a remote location that I can only access via SSH.

The problem is that the ps command* does not work. When I run it in any form, from any user, it just freezes and I can't do anything: I'm forced to close the terminal window. The rest of the machine appears to work fine, but any script that relies on ps does not work anymore.

This has happened several times now on different remote machines (same model and OS), and can be fixed by rebooting, but I'd prefer to know the actual cause so I can prevent it happening again. Does anyone have any ideas how to fix or diagnose this problem?

*ps,top,w,killall all experience this freeze, and so does lsof when it is run as root.

  • Is there anything in the log files around the point of the freeze which could help in analyzing the problem? When the freeze occurs, can you relogin on a second connection and check whether the original command is still running? Is the remote command freezing or "just" the terminal window/tab? – nohillside Apr 18 '13 at 3:28
  • Unfortunately the log files rotate every 7 days, and I didn't notice this had happened until a few weeks after it started. It is definitely the remote command. I can login on a second connection, but I'm not sure how I would check if the command is still running. – DanielGibbs Apr 18 '13 at 3:29
  • Hmm, right, you can't run ps :-( But if I understand you correctly, it doesn't happen right now? – nohillside Apr 18 '13 at 3:30
  • I'm not sure what you mean, it is still happening, as I haven't yet restarted the machine. – DanielGibbs Apr 18 '13 at 3:33
  • If it's still happening, can you reproduce and then login in again to get the relevant part of the log files? – nohillside Apr 18 '13 at 3:52

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