Bug 97546 - Memory grows up
Summary: Memory grows up
Alias: None
Product: Red Hat Linux
Classification: Retired
Component: kernel (Show other bugs)
(Show other bugs)
Version: 9
Hardware: i686 Linux
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: Dave Jones
QA Contact: Brian Brock
Depends On:
TreeView+ depends on / blocked
Reported: 2003-06-17 15:56 UTC by Pierre-Yves Antunez
Modified: 2015-01-04 22:02 UTC (History)
7 users (show)

Fixed In Version:
Doc Type: Bug Fix
Doc Text:
Story Points: ---
Clone Of:
Last Closed: 2004-09-30 15:41:09 UTC
Type: ---
Regression: ---
Mount Type: ---
Documentation: ---
Verified Versions:
Category: ---
oVirt Team: ---
RHEL 7.3 requirements from Atomic Host:
Cloudforms Team: ---

Attachments (Terms of Use)
Free command (727 bytes, text/plain)
2003-06-24 11:13 UTC, Pierre-Yves Antunez
no flags Details

Description Pierre-Yves Antunez 2003-06-17 15:56:55 UTC
From Bugzilla Helper:
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)

Description of problem:
After booting , the memory grows up anormally.
After 2 ou 3 days, the free memory is about 40M and 
the machine becomes to swap. 
The runqueue reach to 20.
Finally the machine crash.

Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable):
kernel 2.4.20-18.9

How reproducible:

Steps to Reproduce:
2.run the free command after the boot
3.run the free command 2 days later

Additional info:

Comment 1 Rik van Riel 2003-06-17 16:05:48 UTC
if it really is a kernel memory leak (and not some userland application eating
all of memory) it would be important to know exactly which drivers you are using.

Also, could you please show us your free output at boot, after a few days and
when the system is near crashing ?

Comment 2 Pierre-Yves Antunez 2003-06-24 11:13:09 UTC
Created attachment 92583 [details]
Free command

Here is the free command after 2 days.
When the number will be 0 the machine crash

Comment 3 Alan Cox 2003-06-27 20:49:08 UTC
In all those cases the system looks completely normal, with no swapping and .5Gb
of swap free. The memory is filling with cache which looks fine

Comment 4 Pierre-Yves Antunez 2003-07-09 08:35:46 UTC
I cant't understand why the number of memory buffer are less day after day

Comment 5 Dag Wieers 2003-08-13 11:56:59 UTC
Subject: Kernel memory leak in 2.4.20

I have a similar problem with my 64MB i586 firewall. It eats about 5MB every
night at 22h when a heavy cronjob ends (rrdtool graphing). After 2 weeks the
machine is out of memory, nothing left for buffers and cache and starts trashing
heavily. A reboot is the only useful thing to do ;-(

It is a almost clean RH9 with a vanilla 2.4.20-* RH kernel.

I have a graph at:


No process is claiming this memory. When the system boots it uses about 15MB RAM
(httpd, dhcp, named, vtun, ntpd, smb)

A friend of mine has the same problem on a machine that does mrtg graphing.
Every 3 days this machine trashes and needs a on-site reboot. Memory disappears.
Also a RH9.

The following information may be useful:

  [root@breeg breeg]# cat endpoint_kernel 
  1054071629 2.4.20-8
  1054772101 2.4.20-18.9
  1059907801 2.4.20-19.9

  [root@breeg breeg]# cat endpoint_boottime
  1054071629 Tue May 27 23:08:40 2003
  1054147201 Wed May 28 20:33:15 2003
  1054772101 Thu Jun  5 02:13:31 2003
  1055079001 Sun Jun  8 15:25:07 2003
  1056320401 Mon Jun 23 00:17:35 2003
  1057525501 Sun Jul  6 23:01:21 2003
  1058556001 Fri Jul 18 21:17:58 2003
  1059550501 Wed Jul 30 09:32:47 2003
  1059907801 Sun Aug  3 12:43:48 2003

  [root@breeg breeg]# lsmod
  Module                  Size  Used by    Not tainted
  nls_iso8859-1           3484   0  (autoclean)
  nls_cp437               5116   0  (autoclean)
  vfat                   11948   0  (autoclean)
  fat                    36792   0  (autoclean) [vfat]
  tun                     5440   3  (autoclean)
  ip_nat_ftp              3888   0  (unused)
  ip_conntrack_ftp        5008   1 
  parport_pc             17508   1  (autoclean)
  lp                      8580   0  (autoclean)
  parport                33952   1  (autoclean) [parport_pc lp]
  8139too                17000   3 
  mii                     3720   0  [8139too]
  ipt_REJECT              3736   1  (autoclean)
  ipt_LOG                 4120   3  (autoclean)
  ipt_state               1048   3  (autoclean)
  ipt_MASQUERADE          2072   3  (autoclean)
  iptable_nat            20568   2  (autoclean) [ip_nat_ftp ipt_MASQUERADE]
  ip_conntrack           26088   3  (autoclean) [ip_nat_ftp ip_conntrack_ftp   
  ipt_state ipt_MASQUERADE iptable_nat]
  iptable_filter          2316   1  (autoclean)
  ip_tables              14488   8  [ipt_REJECT ipt_LOG ipt_state ipt_MASQUERADE
  iptable_nat iptable_filter]
  ext3                   64704   3 
  jbd                    47860   3  [ext3]

  [root@breeg breeg]# cat /proc/meminfo 
          total:    used:    free:  shared: buffers:  cached:
  Mem:  63156224 61960192  1196032        0  1273856 11702272
  Swap: 468824064 10022912 458801152
  MemTotal:        61676 kB
  MemFree:          1168 kB
  MemShared:           0 kB
  Buffers:          1244 kB
  Cached:           9292 kB
  SwapCached:       2136 kB
  Active:           8680 kB
  ActiveAnon:       4216 kB
  ActiveCache:      4464 kB
  Inact_dirty:         0 kB
  Inact_laundry:    3376 kB
  Inact_clean:       724 kB
  Inact_target:     2556 kB
  HighTotal:           0 kB
  HighFree:            0 kB
  LowTotal:        61676 kB
  LowFree:          1168 kB
  SwapTotal:      457836 kB
  SwapFree:       448048 kB

Any help would be appreciated. I cannot find information on how many memory the
kernel allocates, I can only see it not being claimed by any process and

Comment 6 Dag Wieers 2003-08-13 12:02:25 UTC
Hmmm, reading back I noticed that the original report isn't a real kernel memory
leak. Should I create a new bugreport ? Since this was assigned and not closed I
thought it was a valid report.

BT The machine is almost exploding, so in case you need more info before it
explodes, now is a good time. (Or every 2 weeks)

Comment 7 Dag Wieers 2003-08-13 12:07:55 UTC
OK, I figured this may be of interest too:


Since it isn't using any swap and isn't paging it may indicate that it really is
a kernel memory leak. Although I still don't know where I can see how much
memory the kernel is using and for what. 

Comment 8 Hanse-DKT 2003-09-12 12:10:02 UTC
We have similiar problems on three Machines 2 with hpt37x2 raid controller, one

All run redhat-kernel 2.4.20-8 on Athlons and Pentium.

Free  after 4 Days
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:        513848     507332       6516          0     102128     137928
-/+ buffers/cache:     267276     246572
Swap:      1004020       3424    1000596

load is constantly round about 1, with idle 100% and iowait of 0%
Head of top:
 13:43:09  up 4 days,  1:12,  1 user,  load average: 1,00, 1,03, 1,01
59 processes: 56 sleeping, 3 running, 0 zombie, 0 stopped
CPU states:   0,0% user   0,0% system   0,0% nice   0,0% iowait 100,0% idle
Mem:   513848k av,  507080k used,    6768k free,       0k shrd,  101120k buff
                    195864k actv,       0k in_d,   10652k in_c
Swap: 1004020k av,    3460k used, 1000560k free                  138404k cached

Comment 9 Dave Jones 2003-09-17 11:36:34 UTC
First, 2.4.20-18.9 is a little old now, and there are VM fixes in 20-20.
Secondly, when the machine is in a bad state, take a look at /proc/slabinfo
which will tell you what the kernel has done with its allocations.

Comment 10 Phil Knirsch 2003-09-17 11:44:56 UTC
I've been able to reproduce this or a very similar bug here locally:

Copying millions of files over NFS to the locale drive eats up all memory after
a while, no matter if you have swap enabled or not.

Looking at /proc/slabinfo reveals that the inode_cache doesn't get cleanup up
anymore when memory gets tight.

I'm testing this on the current Taroon kernel which seems to show the same symptoms.

Read ya, Phil

Comment 11 Pierre-Yves Antunez 2003-09-17 13:10:36 UTC
I test with the 2.4.20-20 and the problem is still the same.
I recompile a kernel in 2.4.18 and the problem disapears.

Comment 12 Phil Knirsch 2003-09-17 14:21:55 UTC
OK, i've done some thorough testing here with the latest Taroon bits and can
narrow it down to the following problem (and which makes me pretty sure it's
actually a new bug):

When copying from a NFS server to the local machine the kernel doesn't free the
inode_cache entries allocated for the files on the NFS filesystem. The local
ones get reclaimed after a short while, but to free the NFS inode_cache entries
the NFS filesystem needs to be unmounted.

I've verified this on 2 separate machines, it's 100% reproducible and if a huge
number of files get copied from the NFS volume the machine will end up dead in
the water with 80% kswapd.

Read ya, Phil

Comment 13 Dag Wieers 2003-09-17 17:09:05 UTC
I've also reported the problem on the rhl-devel-list@redhat.com, you can find
the thread at:

    Kernel eating memory, ends up trashing

Comment 14 Marino 2003-09-18 08:32:22 UTC
I have the same problem.  Tried with different machines, and different kernels: 
2.4-18 crashes on 256mb machine after 7!!! hours.   I've built a cystom 2.4.20-
20.9 kernel and with this on 512mb machine, it runs for about 24 hours.  To 
make the problem more difficult, I do have 1 machine that runs kernel 2.4.20-
18.8 without any problems (pentium III on an intel BX board).   I suspected 
first my applications (Big brother, mrtg, routermon), but now I suspect the 

Comment 15 Greg Lunar 2003-11-05 15:11:31 UTC
I too have this problem.  I just set up a new server last night with 
RH9, grabbed all updates, and now running on 2.4.20-20.9.  The system 
hasnt even been up for 24hrs and I see the following:

> free
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     
Mem:       1547992    1528396      19596          0     146880    
-/+ buffers/cache:     152724    1395268
Swap:      1028112      37760     990352

I am running an AMD 1.3ghz T-Bird with 1.5gb PC133.  And when i check 
memory usage by process (via webmin) and total up the numbers, I am 
only seeing 274mb of ram being used.  So it makes me wonder where the 
other 1.25gb of ram is.

Comment 16 Dag Wieers 2003-11-05 15:35:00 UTC
Greg, that's not a memory leak. You're really only using 152MB. 146MB
is used for buffers and everything else is cached or free. Which is
pretty normal.

Please note that the original bugreport is also not a memory leak.

Comment 17 Pierre-Yves Antunez 2003-11-05 19:23:14 UTC

You say it's not a memory leak ok perhaps but let this machine a few 
days more in this state and you will see that the runqueue will be 
over 20 and you need to reboot it.
So what is really the problem even it's not a memory problem.
If you compile a new kernel on kernel.org you don't have this kind 
of result.

Comment 18 Dag Wieers 2003-11-06 00:39:50 UTC
I would open a new bugreport and report what processes are in the
runqueue and other useful information. The memory output looks pretty
normal to me and there was no indication you had another problem.

Comment 19 Bugzilla owner 2004-09-30 15:41:09 UTC
Thanks for the bug report. However, Red Hat no longer maintains this version of
the product. Please upgrade to the latest version and open a new bug if the problem

The Fedora Legacy project (http://fedoralegacy.org/) maintains some older releases, 
and if you believe this bug is interesting to them, please report the problem in
the bug tracker at: http://bugzilla.fedora.us/

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