Re: Some questions about linux kernel.

From: David Whysong (
Date: Tue Mar 21 2000 - 12:14:39 EST

On Tue, 21 Mar 2000, Richard B. Johnson wrote:
>It is yes. The purpose of the daemon is to monitor the system and
>prevent an out of memory condition from existing. The kernel should
>never kill anything (unless asked). Killing a task is policy. It
>is specified by the administrator and administered by the daemon.

But a user-space program might not get a timeslice before some fork() or
malloc() bomb runs the system out of virtual memory, at which point only
the kernel is guaranteed to properly function. I don't think you can solve
this problem without the kernel killing tasks.

The daemon should assign priorities to tasks as they are started, thus
keeping policy in user-space. Then when OOM situations occur, the kernel
already knows which tasks go to the firing squad.


David Whysong
Astrophysics graduate student University of California, Santa Barbara
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