Re: [PATCH] VM fix for 2.4.0-test9 & OOM handler

From: Rik van Riel (
Date: Mon Oct 09 2000 - 18:16:49 EST

On Mon, 9 Oct 2000, Albert D. Cahalan wrote:
> Jim Gettys writes:
> >> From: Linus Torvalds <>
> >> One of the biggest bitmaps is the background bitmap. So you have a
> >> client that uploads it to X and then goes away. There's nobody to
> >> un-count to by the time X decides to switch to another background.
> >
> > Actually, the big offenders are things other than the background
> > bitmap: things like E do absolutely insane things, you would not
> > believe (or maybe you would). The background pixmap is generally
> > in the worst case typically no worse than 4 megabytes (for those
> > people who are crazy enough to put images up as their root window
> > on 32 bit deep displays, at 1kX1k resolution).
> Still, it would be nice to recover that 4 MB when the system
> doesn't have any memory left.
> X, and any other big friendly processes, could participate in
> memory balancing operations. X could be made to clean out a
> font cache when the kernel signals that memory is low. When
> the situation becomes serious, X could just mmap /dev/zero over
> top of the background image.
> Netscape could even be hacked to dump old junk... or if it is
> just too leaky, it could exec itself to fix the problem.

Which is all good and well to DELAY the task of the OOM killer
for a few more minutes.

But in the end, there will be a point where you REALLY run out
of memory and you have no other choice than the OOM killer...

(not that I'm against alternative measures, I just think they're
orthagonal to this whole discussion)



"What you're running that piece of shit Gnome?!?!"
       -- Miguel de Icaza, UKUUG 2000

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