What is plasmashell and why does it keep writing to disk?

I have a desktop PC with Ubuntu 20.04 + KDE. Yesterday my program gets stopped due to a no space left on device error. I deleted some files and then found the freed space is soon occupied again. Through iotop I found that plasmashell is writing to the disk at ~19MB/s, so I killed the process. I have two questions:

  • What does plasmashell do? It seems to be related to the plasma desktop environment, but I wonder whether writing at 19MB/s until the disk is full is a bug, or do I need to worry about a virus?

  • Where does it write to? After killing the process the available disk space did not grow, which means whatever it has written to disk is still there. I’d prefer not to do a reboot because it is a remote machine (someone needs to be on site to log into the internet after the reboot).

Asked By: trisct


plasmashell is the binary that provides the desktop in a Plasma session. As to why it keeps writing to the file ~/.xsession-errors, you’d need to inspect the contents and fix the underlying issue.

As its name implies, that file is created when X11 has problems. The .xsession-errors file is where the X Window system logs all errors that occur within a graphical environment.

You can disable the logging of this file. Check the answers to this question to know how..

Answered By: Uri Herrera
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