4 Replies Latest reply: Mar 28, 2009 7:30 AM by Mick_M
Mick_M Level 1 (10 points)
Every now and then I notice my CPU meter spike for a few minutes. I brought up the Activity Monitor and the offending process is 'find' owned by 'nobody'. Now I don't mind if OS X is doing something in the back ground, but you'd think it'd be owned by root or system or something kind that. Something owned by 'nobody' has me a tad worried. Anybody know what this one is all about?

MacBook Pro (17"), Mac OS X (10.5.6), 3GB RAM
  • I love my macbook!!!! Level 4 (1,415 points)
    Is Spotlight indexing your disk at the time?
  • Mick_M Level 1 (10 points)
    I thought that process was called mdimporter or something like that. And you'd still think it wouldn't be owned by 'nobody'.
  • biovizier Level 5 (7,925 points)
    There are a number of scripts that the system runs at periodic intervals (daily, weekly or monthly) for various forms of housekeeping. One of these tasks is updating and maintaining the "locate" database, which is referenced by the command line tool 'locate', which allows the location of items to be returned almost immediately based on a match of a search term to a full or partial path. The process of updating the database includes using 'find' to scan the hard drive to see what is there, and I suspect that is what you are seeing.

    The 'locate' command and database is available to everyone on the computer, but unlike eg. "Spotlight", there is no mechanism to restrict what search results are returned to whom on the basis of whether or not they have the privileges to that item. For this reason, the 'find' is run as the unprivileged user "nobody" so that eg. the private contents of users' "home" folders aren't indexed.
  • Mick_M Level 1 (10 points)
    Thanks - I've marked this one as solved. I understand your explanation, but somehow I still reckon if OS X is responsible for this task then it ought to have a more indicative owner name.