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SubjectVM: do_try_to_free_pages failed
Linux 2.2.18, pcmcia-cs-3.1.21, Pentium 75 (100 MHz)
Toshiba 420CDS Satellite Pro laptop, 40 MB RAM

I can get this to happen reliably:

kernel: VM: do_try_to_free_pages failed for xntpd...
kernel: VM: do_try_to_free_pages failed for klogd...
last message repeated 15 times
kernel: VM: do_try_to_free_pages failed for tail...
last message repeated 15 times
kernel: VM: do_try_to_free_pages failed for init...
last message repeated 15 times
kernel: VM: do_try_to_free_pages failed for vmstat...
...
etc.

It happens when swap gets full (I have 32 MB swap); I have a particular
program that thrashes the system (balanced binary tree searching) so
there's heavy swapping going on. Once, running 2.2.18pre23, this happened
when I wasn't looking, and when I came back the system was dead -- I'm not
sure what the message means or how long it could survive after that, but I
run apmd/noflushd, and the disk & screen were powered down. I got the
disk to spin back up, but nothing else happened. I just made
do_try_to_free_pages fail again under 2.2.18, but I quit & rebooted before
anything else happened.

Can enough do_try_to_free_pages failures do that? Are they supposed to
happen at all? Do I need to configure some out-of-memory thing?

Dr. Tom Holroyd
"I am, as I said, inspired by the biological phenomena in which
chemical forces are used in repetitious fashion to produce all
kinds of weird effects (one of which is the author)."
-- Richard Feynman, _There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom_

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