CURRENT, devbuf memory allocation and hald

Joe Marcus Clarke marcus at marcuscom.com
Thu Apr 17 13:49:54 UTC 2008


On Thu, 2008-04-17 at 13:03 +0200, Pascal Hofstee wrote:
> Hi,
> 
> After updating my CURRENT system i noticed that my system started to
> completely break down after a while (ususally after coming home from a
> day at college) with the console spewing loads of messages about
> ata-subsystem(s) being unable to allocate any memory, existing shells
> no longer being able to fork new subprocesses because of memory
> problems etc. Initially i had assumed it might bave been a rare side
> effect of the recent commits to the ATA-system, at least one of which
> Soren mentioned fixed a couple of bogons.
> 
> Now after some additionial investigation i have come to the
> realisation that the most likely source of the problem was because
> according to vmstat -m the "InUse" statistics for the memory type
> "devbuf" were consistently increasing by about 140k over a 10 second
> time peroid. I decided to shoot down any daemons originating from
> port-installed software to ensure the problem was indeed caused by
> some part of the base system and not some 3rd party influence and i
> managed to trace the problem down to hald.

While hald might be the catalyst, I doubt the problem is there.  The
fact that you only noticed this after updating -CURRENT leads me to
think that something bad changed in -CURRENT that is being tickled by
hald.

> 
> Whenever i halted hald the increase in devbuf-usage would halt (not
> decline simply stay at the same value), and as soon as i started hald
> again the increase would resume with the 140k/10s ratio until hald was
> stopped again.

hald itself is probably not triggering this.  You might try killing of
the various addons, and see if you can rule out a particular addon, or a
particular device.

Joe

-- 
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