Over the past week or so, I noticed that my root account was
becoming slower and slower. Thinking that perhaps the
program was increasingly spawning duplicate programs, I
archived the .gnome directory under /root/ and have it
available for analysis. Pruning the files out of that
directory appears to be a kludgy workaround, but it does do
the job, but the desktop has to be rebuilt afterwards.
There is not enough information to debug the problem.