Re: 1gb RAM + 1gb SWAP + make -j bzImage = OOM

From: Nicholas Knight (
Date: Fri Jan 04 2002 - 19:42:43 EST

On Friday 04 January 2002 01:02 pm, Stephan von Krawczynski wrote:
> On Fri, 4 Jan 2002 12:32:27 -0800
> "Phil Oester" <> wrote:
> > On 2.4.17, I can't make -j bzImage without OOM kicking in.
> > Relatively light .config here - bzImage compiles to less than 1mb.
> >
> > Seems with 1 gb of RAM and swap, the box should be able to handle
> > this (box is dual P3 600 btw).
> >
> > Is this unreasonable? How much RAM should it take to accomplish
> > this???
> You should give a bit more info on that, especially vmstat and the
> like. I cannot reproduce this. Neither on 1GB/256MB nor on 2GB/256MB
> RAM/SWAP. (P3-1GHz, dual SMP, 2.4.17)

I have absilutely no trouble reproducing on an 800MHz Athlon with 256MB
RAM/256MB swap on 2.4.17

The one catch is that -j is specified without a number.

from man make:
       -j jobs
            Specifies the number of jobs (commands) to run
simultaneously. If there is more than one -j
            option, the last one is effective.
**If the -j option is given without an argument, make will not limit
the number of jobs that can run simultaneously.**

(emphasis mine)

Hence, unlimited number of jobs, theoreticaly unlimited amount of
memory usage.
The last number of processes I saw in top before the system was
basically dead and I just hit A-SYSRQ-S and A-SYSRQ-B was 416, and all
the top processes were make or cc

Somehow I doubt this is a kernel issue and is instead a make and user
issue. A make issue because it's probably poor design to have an option
that's specified with a number be normaly harmless and useful, be
potentialy lethal when the number is left off, so if you forget the
number, your system is dead. A user issue because it seems the user is
using the option without fully comprehending the consequences.

> Regards,
> Stephan
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