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SubjectRe: Improving OOM killer
On Wednesday 03 of February 2010, Balbir Singh wrote:
> * Lubos Lunak <> [2010-02-01 23:02:37]:
> > In other words, use VmRSS for measuring memory usage instead of VmSize,
> > and remove child accumulating.
> I am not sure of the impact of changing to RSS, although I've
> personally believed that RSS based accounting is where we should go,
> but we need to consider the following
> 1. Total VM provides data about potentially swapped pages,

Yes, I've already updated my proposal in another mail to switch from VmSize
to VmRSS+InSwap. I don't know how to find out the second item in code, but at
this point of discussion that's just details.

> overcommit,

I don't understand how this matters. Overcommit is memory for which address
space has been allocated but not actual memory, right? Then that's exactly
what I'm claiming is wrong and am trying to reverse. Currently OOM killer
takes this into account because it uses VmSize, but IMO it shouldn't - if a
process does malloc(400M) but then it uses only a tiny fraction of that, in
the case of memory shortage killing that process does not solve anything in

> etc.
> 2. RSS alone is not sufficient, RSS does not account for shared pages,
> so we ideally need something like PSS.

Just to make sure I understand what you mean with "RSS does not account for
shared pages" - you say that if a page is shared by 4 processes, then when
calculating badness for them, only 1/4 of the page should be counted for
each? Yes, I suppose so, that makes sense. That's more like fine-tunning at
this point though, as long as there's no agreement that moving away from
VmSize is an improvement.

> I suspect the correct answer would depend on our answers to 1 and 2
> and a lot of testing with any changes made.

Testing - are there actually any tests for it, or do people just test random
scenarios when they do changes? Also, I'm curious, what areas is the OOM
killer actually generally known to work well in? I somehow get the feeling
from the discussion here that people just tweak oom_adj until it works for

Lubos Lunak
openSUSE Boosters team, KDE developer ,

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