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Greetings from userland. Wish you were here.

Greetings from userland. Wish you were here.

Posted Aug 20, 2006 2:49 UTC (Sun) by pengo (guest, #7787)
Parent article: The return of network block device deadlock prevention

How about some easy-to-use tools for allocating swap space and/or warning that memory is low? Or better yet, how about a module to dynamically create a temporary local swap file (rather than a partition) in the user's home directory when memory runs out? No, it's not the same problem as what this patch would address, and this patch isn't without its reasons, but there are more broad general-purpose solutions for memory allocation woes. So I'd like to give a gripe...

When I removed one of my hard drives (the drive was making grinding noises and about to die) I failed to notice it happened to be the drive with my only swap partition on it. However, a gig of ram is plenty to run Ubuntu and it ran just fine.. for the time being.

When I did run out of memory though, my system grinded to a halt very horribly--which is to be expected when memory fills up I guess (though I'm not sure why the OOM Killer didn't just kill the app (a badly written python script) that was actually hogging and allocating RAM like it was going out of fashion). However, the problem for me was that there was still no (user space) warning that I was out of memory, and no (kernel) attempt to allocate some sort of temporary swap file, and no warning to the user of what was going on or why (although it was obviously something swap related to me, it wouldn't have been obvious if I was remotely logged in and couldn't hear the machine trying to tip itself over). From a user perspective, a pretty horrible experience.

So instead of being Kernel-space-fighter-pilots, it would be wonderful if some kernel dev'ers would stick their heads out of the kernel-box and look at the bigger picture for a change and consider the actual scenarios where memory runs out and work out some real world SOLUTIONS from there, rather than constructing wonderfully intricate mechanisms out of matchsticks, like this one, which, while it certainly has merit, has a much narrower coverage than any solution which started by looking at actual problem scenarios, and didn't limit itself to kernel space.

I would like to see some better user space integration for dealing with this kind of thing, instead of pretending that world doesn't exist.


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