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    SubjectRe: Kernel does strange things when compilations push memory usage above physical memory and the compilations are being done in a tmpfs, despite having ample swap
    My system is still responsive if it has not locked-up, even after the
    oom-killer appears to have killed stuff.

    Does the kernel need to be compiled with any special options to have
    it report to dmesg that the oom-killer activated? I cited the
    oom-killer as being activated because several things would
    inexplicit-ably crash when the system is under memory pressure, but
    looking in my dmesg log at a crash that occurred earlier today when I
    forgot to unmount my tmpfs, I do not see any references to the oom
    killer, just the process that crashed:

    [ 5873.816211] chrome[18404]: segfault at 8 ip 0000000001063b9b sp
    00007fffb0a7f540 error 4 in chrome[400000+28be000]

    Could it be that a bug is causing the kernel to map the same region of
    physical memory to multiple programs?

    On Sun, Jun 20, 2010 at 10:03 PM, Andrew Hendry <> wrote:
    > After the oom killer has killed things, is your system still really
    > sluggish if it doesn't lockup?
    > I have what might be a similar issue, after a lot of compiling on a ramdisk.
    > Oom killer keeps killing processes until almost nothing is left.
    > Free memory is very high, and system is still very sluggish.
    > On Mon, Jun 21, 2010 at 10:21 AM, Richard Yao <> wrote:
    >> Dear Everyone,
    >> My desktop has 4GB of RAM and it is running an unpatched Linux 2.6.34
    >> kernel. I recently migrated it from Windows 7 to Gentoo Linux and I am
    >> encountering a highly peculiar problem when I build/rebuild system
    >> packages in a manner that stresses memory.
    >> When system memory usage exceeds 4GB because I have several
    >> compilations running simultaneously, all of which have had -j5 passed
    >> to make, with the build scripts sharing an 8GB tmpfs directory, the
    >> system typically responds by activating the kernel oom-killer, which
    >> will usually kill some of the processes involved in the compilations,
    >> among other things. This is with an 8GB swap partition and barely any
    >> of it is touched when this happens according to KDE's system monitor.
    >> Rarer, but alternative responses that the system has made to such
    >> circumstances involve the system package manager failing
    >> mid-compilation with "Segmentation fault" printed to the console or
    >> open office failing with an obscure error message. Usually just
    >> compiling open office alone is enough to have things fail, although I
    >> usually see it fail with an obscure 5 digit error message that has no
    >> meaning which I can derive from doing searches with Google. Unmounting
    >> my tmpfs directory and doing things as I normally would do them makes
    >> these issues disappear.
    >> I have run memtest and it has not detected any hardware issues. I
    >> tried asking for help on the Gentoo Linux forums, but I received no
    >> responses and this looks like a kernel issue, so I thought it would be
    >> a good idea to ask for assistance on the kernel mailing list. Here is
    >> a link to a copy of my kernel's .config file:
    >> As I was typing this, I had openoffice 3.2.1 and something else
    >> compiling in the background and the system completely froze. This is
    >> the first I have seen my system do this and it was about 10 minutes
    >> after the oom-killer had already taken out kwin and several tabs in
    >> chromium. I had SSH running in the background, but even that has been
    >> rendered inaccessible by the freeze. I cannot get a response from the
    >> system via arping and nmap is telling me that the system is down.
    >> Earlier today, I tried to reproduce this issue under simpler
    >> cirumstances by doing dd bs=4096 count=2097152 if=/dev/zero
    >> of=/var/tmp/portage/zero.bak. As a consequence of all of the swapping
    >> that occurred, the system's X server become unresponsive, so I walked
    >> away and came back a few minutes later to find that the KDE System
    >> Monitor had crashed, but everything else seemed fine.
    >> Any help with this issue would be appreciated. I am willing to
    >> recompile my system in whatever manner necessary to diagnose the cause
    >> of this issue. Please CC me any responses made either directly or
    >> indirectly in response to this message.
    >> Yours truly,
    >> Richard Yao
    >> --
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