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SubjectRe: 2.2.1 mkfs.ext2 out of memory
In <> Richard B. Johnson ( wrote:
> On Thu, 18 Feb 1999, Jon P. deOng wrote:

>> Hi,
>> I'm running a pII 400 with 256Mb of ram with a vanilla 2.2.1 kernel
>> Im trying to create a raid5 array with 4 9gig scsi seagate cheetah drives
>> connected to the external adapter of an adaptec 2940uw controller. My os
>> drive is also a 9gig scsi cheetah on the internal ultra scsi adapter. I
>> have no scsi2 devices at all. I have verified proper termination and turned
>> off the auto term in the adaptec bios.
>> Now I have no problems with mkraid, mdadd, or mdrun. All of these raid tools
>> report no errors. The problem comes when i try to format /dev/md0
>> my syntax is
>> mkfs.ext2 /dev/md0
>> mkfs gets almost halfway through writing the inode tables and then i get
>> this output
>> Writing inode tabels: 1969/3254
>> Out of Memory for mkfs.ext2
>> Killed

> Yep! First make a big swap partition or a big swap file. There is, roughly
> 4096 bytes of memory required for every megabyte of file-system space when
> you execute mkfs.ext2. This depends upon the allocation-unit size, but
> it's a reasonable rule-of-thumb.

> Then boot into single-user mode with no network daemons running. Make
> sure your swap partition is activated, then make the file-system. You
> should be sucessful.

Sometimes big swap helps but NOT ALWAYS. I was unable to set up RedHat 4.2
on comp with 11MiB RAM and 1GiB HDD even with 128MiB swap but with 31MiB
all was just fine without any swap :-(( Plus your "rule-of-thumb" will give
us 144MiB for 36GiB "drive" and there are 256MiB REAL memory ! IMO it's some
rare race in kernel triggered by mkfs.ext2 when there are a lot of dirty
pages in cache but they are not written on disk and so you could not allocate
memory even of there are plenty of swap area...

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