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SubjectRe: Wild thangs, was: sendmail fails to deliver mail with attachments in /var/spool/mqueue
Followup to:  <>
By author: David Ford <>
In newsgroup:
> - Requires high load average allowance
> Incorrect. Same machine barely spiked a tenth of a point for this load and dropped
> back to .05. Only time I adjusted the configured load average allowance was back in my
> naive days and we got hit with 80,000 in the queue at one time from multiple spammers.
> Part of this test's load came from numerous things running and the mail sending required
> spinup of the drive which blocked.

Well, I think it does, but not because it itself is generating much of
a load. I had it block traffic on my desktop machine while doing a
kernel compile; I run with high parallelism and the load occationally
spikes in the high 20's. However, the machine is perfectly
responsive, and so I was a little taken back by this.

The way Linux computes the load average really does call for higher
limits than what BSD does. This isn't inherently a "good" or "bad"
thing -- it's just a fact of life. That being said, it probably would
be useful if the Sendmail people would provide higher default limits
in cf/ostype/linux.m4 than for other systems.

The one thing about load average that is making it a bit hard to deal
with is that workloads on modern machines tend to vary a little too
quickly for the standard load average time constants to deal well with
them. It's probably fine for throttling down a machine that is
getting killed with requests, but not really enough to keep, say,
parallel make without a limit ("make -j" as opposed to "make -j5")
from forking the machine to the point where the make itself fails
before knowing what just hit it.


<> at work, <> in private!
"Unix gives you enough rope to shoot yourself in the foot."
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