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SubjectRe: VM in v2.4.0test9

I'd second that this is most likely a VM related problem. Last few days I
sent you an example that I would make system hang simply by
doing a mkfs on 90 GB file system. This happens when low 1GB memory is used
up (but I still have high 1GB available). I think
David probably ran into the same problem as I did.

I'd trace the problem down a bit. It seems that the system goes into a loop
that consists of the following call sequence:
alloc_pages --> try_to_free_pages --> do_try_to_free_pages (but
doesn't seem to go through page_launder in do_try_to_free_pages) -->
kmem_cache_reap (so skipped the refill_inactive() in the if statement) -->
backto try_again in alloc_pages.
If I kill mkfs, the system would go on nicely for some small applications.
It is still a bit slow.
If I do a "make bzImage", the system would hang again. If I look at the
Sysrq output, I had more than 2000 pages available in inactive_clean list.
I wonder why
alloc_pages doesn't take it.

I had no problem with these kinds of things with test6 or test7.


Rik van Riel <> on 10/04/2000 09:31:21

Sent by:

To: David Weinehall <>
cc:, Linus Torvalds <>
Subject: Re: VM in v2.4.0test9

On Wed, 4 Oct 2000, David Weinehall wrote:

> Running the included program on a clean v2.4.0test9 kernel I can
> hang the computer practically in no time.

> What seems most strange is that the doesn't even get depleated.
> The machine still answers to SysRq and ping, but nothing else.

Looking again at this report in more detail, something
very strange is going on ...

> This is what I got from SysRq+M (manual copy):
> Free pages: 500 kB (0 highmem)
> Active: 8 inactive dirty: 1009, inactive clean:0
> free: 125 (31 62 93)

First, you have MORE free memory than freepages.high. In this
case I really don't see why __alloc_pages() wouldn't give the
memory to your processes ....

> Free swap: 64772

And there is tons of swap free...

Are you absolutely sure this is VM related? This almost looks
like the system puts a in a read request but the request queue
doesn't get unplugged, or something strange like that ...

There is more than enough memory to satisfy all VM requests and
the loop in __alloc_pages() is straightforward enough to give
your processes their memory without strange bugs ...


"What you're running that piece of shit Gnome?!?!"
-- Miguel de Icaza, UKUUG 2000

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