I killed my system with grep

Lowell Gilbert freebsd-questions-local at be-well.ilk.org
Fri Feb 25 13:56:27 GMT 2005

"Ramiro Aceves" <ea1abz at wanadoo.es> writes:

> Hello FreeBSD friends:
> I am running a FreeBSD 5.3 system with 64MB RAM and 150 MB swap.
> Yesterday I entered the command:
> # grep -R something /
> and after a while, my system did not respond. I do not remember the exact
> messages as I am on a winbugs at the University. The error was about
> swapping. I could switch among terminals but the system was dead. I needed
> to reboot.
> I rebooted and tried again watching "top" output and I could see as swap
> usage was incresing very quickly until it ran out of swap space and the swap
> pager failed.
> Was my sytem dead? or, is it possible to recover from that state without
> rebooting? How is it possible that a simple command like this could
> auto-kill the machine?
> What is the recomended fix for this?:
> a- Asigning more swap.
> b- Not executing that command anymore.

c- Setting user limits in login.conf(5).

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