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SubjectRe: Endless overcommit memory thread.
On Sat, 25 Mar 2000, Linda Walsh wrote:
>"Richard B. Johnson" wrote:
>> Even if the perfect operating system kept some virtual RAM for
>> 'root' to log-in. It has no idea of what programs root would
>> want to execute. Eventually, it will fail with an out-of memory
>> condition.
> Having no idea of what programs root would execute doesn't mean
>you can't reserve sufficient memory for a shell, a ps and a kill.
>But if my machine runs out of processes and I can't log in -- I have
>little choice but to hit the RESET button.

You could use alt-sysrq to kill some tasks from the console, if you have
one. :-)

> By allowing 'overcommit', you end up in a situation where now your
>90M process touches the last of its memory -- and it isn't there, so....
>it SEGFAULT's because the memory mapper can't the address to a physical \

It gets killed because the sysadmin didn't put enough memory in the
machine. Which has nothing to do with overcommit...

> If you allow overcommit, you can have *either* the SEGFAULT behavior
>*or* the no-mem/locked out (process touches everything up front).
>If you disallow overcommit, you reduce the possible behaviors to 1.

You're confusing OOM situations with overcommit. OOM can happen without

>The problem is that suppose the process allocates it's memory -- with
>the 'overcommit' you have a system where it is hard to predict *what*
>will fail. Will it be a system process? A deamon? It's a
>low-integrity system because you can't figure out the behavior of
>failure in advance.

Predicting what will fail has nothing to do with overcommit. It depends on
the kernels OOM behavior.

> David's killing demon is fine for a user-space/level solution,
>but the kernel should default to the high-integrity option.

Which is Rik van Riel's patch, or something very much like it.


David Whysong
Astrophysics graduate student University of California, Santa Barbara
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