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Date:	Tue, 17 May 2016 18:16:58 +0200
From:	Sebastian Frias <>
To:	Michal Hocko <>
CC:	One Thousand Gnomes <>,
	Mason <>,,
	Andrew Morton <>,
	Linus Torvalds <>,
	LKML <>,
Subject: Re: [PATCH] mm: add config option to select the initial overcommit

Hi Michal,

On 05/17/2016 10:57 AM, Michal Hocko wrote:
> On Tue 17-05-16 10:24:20, Sebastian Frias wrote:
> [...]
>>>> Also, under what conditions would copy-on-write fail?
>>> When you have no memory or swap pages free and you touch a COW page that
>>> is currently shared. At that point there is no resource to back to the
>>> copy so something must die - either the process doing the copy or
>>> something else.
>> Exactly, and why does "killing something else" makes more sense (or
>> was chosen over) "killing the process doing the copy"?
> Because that "something else" is usually a memory hog and so chances are
> that the out of memory situation will get resolved. If you kill "process
> doing the copy" then you might end up just not getting any memory back
> because that might be a little forked process which doesn't own all that
> much memory on its own. That would leave you in the oom situation for a
> long time until somebody actually sitting on some memory happens to ask
> for CoW... See the difference?

I see the difference, your answer seems a bit like the one from Austin, basically:
- killing a process is a sort of kernel protection attempting to deal "automatically" with some situation, like deciding what is a 'memory hog', or what is 'in infinite loop', "usually" in a correct way.
It seems there's people who think its better to avoid having to take such decisions and/or they should be decided by the user, because "usually" != "always".
And people who see that as a nice thing but complex thing to do.
In this thread we've tried to explain why this heuristic (and/or OOM-killer) is/was needed and/or its history, which has been very enlightening by the way.

>From reading Documentation/cgroup-v1/memory.txt (and from a few replies here talking about cgroups), it looks like the OOM-killer is still being actively discussed, well, there's also "cgroup-v2".
My understanding is that cgroup's memory control will pause processes in a given cgroup until the OOM situation is solved for that cgroup, right?
If that is right, it means that there is indeed a way to deal with an OOM situation (stack expansion, COW failure, 'memory hog', etc.) in a better way than the OOM-killer, right?
In which case, do you guys know if there is a way to make the whole system behave as if it was inside a cgroup? (*)

Best regards,


(*): I tried setting up a simple test but failed, so I think I need more reading :-)

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