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    SubjectRe: Out of memory?
    On Sun, 20 Aug 2000, Michael Rothwell wrote:
    > David Ford wrote:
    > > The kernel does try to kill off programs when it runs out of memory but
    > > unless it picks the memory pig, then that program will probably immediately
    > > grab any memory the kernel just freed.
    > Killing, for instance, kswapd. On my machine last week, the kernel
    > started killing processes. Its first choice was kswapd, and then it went
    > on to my window manager and about 10 other programs.
    > It was pretty retarded.

    That probably wasn't the brightest choice to make...

    There are patches out there which make this behaviour a little more
    sensible, though - e.g. kill the process which has grabbed the most memory
    recently, to kill off things which go into a leaking loop (Netscape does
    this a lot...).

    > I know Linux overcommits memory and has no way of knowing who the real
    > overallocator culprit is, but wouldn't some resource accounting be good?

    A nice daemon to keep an eye on things memory-wise would make a big
    difference; someone wrote one a few months ago during the nuclear flamewar
    over "overcommit". The most common problem of this sort is probably an app
    "going rogue", and grabbing lots of RAM; you couldn't react fast enough to
    this, but a nice -20 daemon probably could. Failing that, an "intelligent"
    kernel-side killer can still reduce the fallout when the system goes

    > Or perhaps a tunable or compile-time option to turn off overcommits?

    That would just make matters a bit worse: you'd run out of memory a bit
    sooner, but still end up with things dying more or less at random. What is
    really needed is proper resource accounting - which is currently an
    optional patch out there somewhere. (Try searching the l-k archives for
    "beancounter", IIRC?)


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