Linux top command errors with Segmentation Fault

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

A user reported he could not execute the top command.

I accessed his system and found top worked. However, if I used to the su command to become the user, top would fail with a segmentation fault. To add to the oddness was a strange message: Cannot get binary type. Odd messages such as this can fill a person with dread as it could mean somebody messed up their profile.  A debugging task that is rarely fun or rewarding.

I checked the PATH and found it was in order.

For fun; I reloaded procps.

I even checked security settings.

Still the segmentation faults continued.

At this point; I asked a few people and checked the Net and didn’t get any obvious answers.

I tried another system with the users account and though it pulled an error at login, it did run top.

What could be wrong?  Do I need to reload the system?

I checked the users profile and didn’t see anything obvious.  I happened to run ls -la and one thing did catch my attention. There was a file called .toprc. I renamed it and top worked!

It turns out you can have an RC file for top.  I didn’t know that as my need for top is usually the load on the system…..



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