[Durham] Swap fills up then out of memory errors

Dougie Nisbet dougie at highmoor.co.uk
Sat Feb 18 18:00:34 UTC 2012

On 17/02/2012 23:17, Richard Mortimer wrote:
> On 17/02/2012 22:40, Dougie Nisbet wrote:
>> Can anyone help me with a puzzle? The system is Debian (testing). The
>> problem is occasional out of memory errors caused, I think, by a memory
>> leak somewhere in an as yet, unidentified program. My suspicions
>> (shortlist) are exaile (music player) or flickr_upload (perl based
>> command line uploaded to flickr).
>> What appears to be happening is that the amount of swap being allocated
>> gradually creeps up, usually over several days, as observed using
>> something like gnome-system-monitor.
> Try using top from a terminal instead of gnome-system-monitor. You can 
> use > or < to change the sort order. The VIRT and RES columns will 
> show you any processes that are using excessive amounts of memory.

I've been experimenting trying to get top to work in batch (-b) mode 
with the view to running it with a long interval and trying to determine 
the rate of increase of swap usage. Not worked it out though. 'htop' is 
interesting but confusing. Running it in tree view shows about 15-20 
processes called x-www-browser, but none of the pids match real 
processes so I'm not sure what's going on there.

> That log shows the OOM (out of memory) killer coming along to rescue 
> your system. It chooses a likely "naughty" process to kill. That can 
> vary depending on whos active etc.

Looking back through the logs it seems to happen occasionally. I suspect 
this has been going on for quite some time with the OOM killer quietly 
doing its job and me just assuming that I've closed a program. It looks 
like it's usually the browser that gets the chop, and that would explain 
a few things.


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