Per-process maximum memory utilization???

Ed Griffin edg at
Tue Jun 11 20:58:00 CDT 2002

Does anyone know if there is a maximum size a process can grow to before 
the system says "hey that's enough?"  The reason I ask is we are seeing 
some bizarre behavior on some Dell PE4600's with 4GB RAM 8GB swap (Redhat 
7.2, kernel 2.4.9-34smp), where a process grows to 1.5GB and then dies.  I 
have attached some of the developer's comments...

It reports that it is out of memory in our log file and then hangs (appears 
to be waiting for child threads to return but they are stuck on a 
sigsuspend call) so I can see the size of the process before it dies.  It's 
"only" 1.5G and there is 4G of memory on the box.

We know we have a leak in the code but we are not sure why it locks up 
after using 1.5GB of memory when plenty more is available (swap hasn't even 
been touched).

Here is the output of the limit command (run as the user running the 
process not root)

cputime         unlimited
filesize        unlimited
datasize        unlimited
stacksize       8192 kbytes
coredumpsize    unlimited
memoryuse       unlimited
descriptors     1024
memorylocked    unlimited
maxproc         15103
openfiles       1024

Also what is the maximum number of threads that can be forked off a single 

I must admit that I am just a lowly sys. admin. not a software engineer, so 
any help is appreciated, thanks in advance.


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