> simple, the kernel doesn't know what is right for you. how can it know that you really don't want this program that you start to use all available ram (even at the expense of other programs)
It does take a decision though - to allow all programmes to allocate as much RAM as they wish by default, even if it is not present, is very definitely a policy decision. Interestingly Wine fails to start if I set ulimit -v in this way (I can guess why). I wonder whether disabling overcommit would also prevent it from working?