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Re: wolverine kernel leak



I don't have any screen shots or verbatim notes on the following two items, so
take them as background data in our search for what's going wrong. Perhaps
someone can suggest a particular test to narrow the possibilities.

Last night after rebooting my woverine system to get a fresh memory footprint, I
started a cdrecord session using a fairly large (599M) ISO image and went to
bed. By morning that session had completed, but I could not mount the newly
burned CD-R. Some gibberish about a FAT filesystem. top said all but about 2M of
my 512M of memory was used. There was still some 66M in cache, but ZERO swap
used. I rebooted and tried again to mount the newly burned CD-R. Same failure.
Replacing it with another CD-R burned under guinness and mount did its thing
normally.

An overnight failure occurred last weekend when a different wolverine machine
set up as a dedicated Ethereal sniffer failed at about dawn. That machine has
only 64M of real memory and two 128M swap files. Before leaving the facility on
Saturday afternoon, I started a full capture to a data file. The system log
later showed multiple failures to restart (?) syslogd (?) at about 4 a.m. (no
doubt a cron job). Then at about 7:15 a.m. a classic death spiral began as the
system began shutting down services one by one, presumably trying to preserve
enough memory for itself and Ethereal to keep running.  At 7:39 a.m., in a final
act of self-preservation, it shut down Ethereal itself. Two seconds later the
last entry in the log showed eth0 being switched out of promiscuous mode.
Apparently the system hung after that entry and had to be hard reset on Monday
morning.

My take of these two failures is that something happened in memory/cache/buffers
during the night that ultimately lead to the failure of these running apps.  Was
it the kernel?  Was it a cron job? Was it the two apps (doubtful)? I honestly
don't know.  But whatever it is it's very real, and in my opinion it is a
showstopper as far as RH7.1 is concerned.

--Doc Savage
  Fairview Heights, IL


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