The three load average numbers give the average number of jobs in the run queue over the last 1, 5, and 15 minutes. In other words, the n-minute load average is the number of processes competing for the attention of the CPU(s) at any moment, averaged over n minutes.
The lowest possible load average is zero, the highest unlimited, though we rarely see load averages exceeding 20, and even 10 is unusual. A load average of one or two is about typical
So a load of 0.02 means that there are an average of 0.02 processes in the run queue. This could mean the CPU is idle 98% of the time, with 1 process running the remaining 2%, or idle 99.8% of the time, with 10 processes running the remaining 0.2% time.
For systems with multiple CPUs, the number needs to be divided by the number of processors in order to get a percentage.
- On August 19 2006, Thewebdruid managed to get the server load up to 190.67 due to his extreme clumsyness.