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SubjectRe: Behavior under swap catastrophe?
   From: worley@ariadne.com (Dale R. Worley)
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 15:28:23 GMT

Supposedly, if virtual memory runs out, Unix is supposed to kill off
processes, starting with the most recently initiated one. Since init
is the oldest process, it is safe.

There is no standard mandated behavior for what "Unix" should do in a
low memory situation. Different systems do different things, with
varying degrees of success.

For example, AIX will send a SIGDANGER signal to the largest processes;
unfortunately, the default behavior for a process that doesn't trap
SIGDANGER is termination, and the biggest process is often the X server
(and for a while, yes the X server didn't catch SIGDANGER, with very
good results as far as reclaiming lots of memory; unfortunately it was
at some inconvenience to the user..... :-)
- Ted

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