OS X Terminal slow to bring up a prompt?

Today I was in the middle of some tasks and needed a bash shell. Naturally, I fired up the Terminal.app from OS X and waited….. and waited….  The window popped up but the bash prompt didn’t come up, it just stayed there with one character blinking at me. It took forever for the prompt to appear, it seemed like a few minutes but was probably more like 20 seconds. You know how time scales depending on how busy you are. Fed up with that, I goggled [1][2][3] around to see what if anyone else has had similar problems.

It turns out there’s a well known solution to the problem:

sudo rm -f /private/var/log/asl/*.asl

The speculation is the that a build up of log files causes the terminal app to continually slow down when opening a new prompt. After deleting the log files and opening a new terminal window the prompt appears immediately. I hadn’t noticed this behavior before Snow Leopard so it looks like apple forgot to clear something out on a regular basis or added a new check. In either case, it’s annoying.


[1] “OSX Terminal Slow To Launch”, http://www.proposedsolution.com/solutions/osx-terminal-slow-launch/

[2] “Speed up a slow Terminal by clearing log files”, http://osxdaily.com/2010/05/06/speed-up-a-slow-terminal-by-clearing-log-files/

[3] Apple Support Discussion on the problem, http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2178316


2 Responses to “OS X Terminal slow to bring up a prompt?”

  1. Stuart Lewis says:

    Hi Scott,

    Thanks for that. I’d been noticing mine getting slower – but only down to about 2 seconds, not the 20 you had to wait. But now its instant!



  2. Thanks Stuart.

    I didnt have the presence of mind to see how big they were before I deleted them. But it does look like Apple keeps alot of data in them.


Leave a Reply