I killed my system with grep

Ramiro Aceves ea1abz at wanadoo.es
Sun Feb 27 11:21:38 GMT 2005

Ramiro Aceves wrote:
> 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.
> Thank you very much for your advices and help.
> Ramiro

Thanks all for your responses.

I understand that I should avoid "greping" into /dev. I will do more 
accurate searchs into the directories.


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