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

From: Linus Torvalds (
Date: Tue Oct 10 2000 - 12:28:02 EST

On Tue, 10 Oct 2000, Rogier Wolff wrote:
> So if Netscape can "pump" 40 extra megabytes of memory out of X, this
> can be exploited.
> Now we're back to the point that a heuristic can never be right all
> the time......

I agree. In fact, we never left that.

Nothing is perfect.

In fact, a lot of engineering is _recognizing_ that you can never achieve
"perfect", and you're much better off not even trying - and having a
simple system that is "good enough".

This is the old adage of "perfect is the enemy of good" - trying too hard
is actually _detrimental_ in 99% of all cases. We should have simple
heuristics that work most of the time, instead of trying to cajole a
complex system like X to help us do some complicated resource management

Complexity will just result in the OOM killer failing in surprising ways.

A simple heuristic will mean that the OOM killer will still fail, but at
least it won't be be in subtle and surprising ways.


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