Blender 2.79 slow when selecting object with particle system?

I’m working on a simple scene with a rug on the floor, modelled with a hairy particle system. When selecting this rug, blender locks up for 20 seconds or so with 100% cpu; not rendering, just selecting in 3D viewport. Running blender under Ubuntu 16.04 with integrated gpu. Any help is appreciated, as this renders blender useless for me.