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Experimental results are presented for the incidence statistics and physical characteristics of self‐sustained oscillations in the output of (AlGa)As oxide‐defined stripe lasers. Oscillations near threshold are found to be associated with aging but not necessarily to output degradation. The morphology, frequency relationship with current and time resolved near‐field characteristics are presented. These observations are consistent with a rate equation model incorporating saturable absorption. Implications of this model to laser stability are discussed.