Running with vm.overcommit_memory=2

Ralf Ertzinger fedora-devel at
Thu Feb 17 16:44:37 UTC 2005

On Thu, Feb 17, 2005 at 10:56:59AM -0500, Stan Bubrouski wrote:

> sh: fork: Cannot allocate memory
> sh: fork: Cannot allocate memory
> This is not a good sign when you have free memory, but on the surface 
> this does indeed to be a kernel problem... who you think decides there 
> is no memory? :)

Of course it is the kernel that ultimately decides if a memory request
can be served. But after all it is the application that requests the
memory (in most cases, that is), and various programs allocate large
chunks of memory but never use it. This does not matter much when
you have overcommit on, but fails without it. In this special case however
a strace shows that the clone() system call fails with -ENOMEM, which
is a bit strange, at least for me.

So it seems I will file a kernel bug for this after all.

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