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SubjectRe: system lockup issues w/ 2.4.19
On Friday 07 March 2003 22:52, Keith Owens wrote:
> Those symptoms do not necessarily mean a full process table. You get
> exactly those symptoms if some code has grabbed a spin lock related to
> process creation and not released it.

Hmm... Well, it happened again on Friday night, and pouring through the
syslogs, sendmail started refusing mail due to a load average of 18 and
then 19... This system, even under it's heaviest use, never breaks a
system load average of 4-5. Would a "stuck" spinlock result in an
artificial inflation of system load averages (as a symptom)?

> You need kernel debugging features to find out which lock is the
> problem. Booting with nmi_watchdog and a serial console (see
> linux/Documentation) will often tell you what has hung.

I'm building a 2.4.20 kernel using sources from, and turning on
the following options:

-->8--[Cut Here (.config)]-->8--
# Kernel hacking
# CONFIG_DEBUG_SLAB is not set
-->8--[Cut Here (.config)]-->8--

Should I enable the other two, as well?

Also, do I've wired up the serial console on this machine to another machine
(that's much more stable) so that I can access it remotely... should I try
to set something up that simply monitors the serial console constantly and
logs it to a file, or will I be able to get the info I need via a program
like minicom by poking the kernel after the fact?

> The kdb patch ( will let
> you print the state of each process and find out where they are
> spinning. Note: kdb patches are against standard kernels, ask your
> distributor about how to patch the distributor's kernel with kdb.

I'll add this in to the kernel as well. Hopefully I'll be able to get some
more useful information out of the system the next time this happens.

Thanks for all the pointers!


Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade <>
Sr. Systems Administrator
Cast & Crew Entertainment Services, Inc.

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