[techtalk] tty lockup

James A. Sutherland jas88 at cam.ac.uk
Fri Mar 9 15:33:13 EST 2001

On Fri, 9 Mar 2001, David Merrill wrote:

> Hi,
> I was running red-carpet and it ate up ALL my available ram. I killed
> it. Now I can get no responsiveness at the console. I am logged in
> from another machine right now so I can send this mail.
> I suspect that the oom condition caused Linux to kill (somewhat)
> random processes, and one of them was my tty (mgetty?) Am I on track
> or way off base?
> Any tips on how to fix this?

A tty isn't a process, so it can't have killed that. It could have killed
the mingetty running there, but init would have respawned it straight

The OOM killer in Linux is a fairly recent addition (partly my concept);
until it was added, random processes would have died off; with it, the
biggest memory hog would be killed (red-carpet in this case).

Can you switch from one VC (virtual console) to another? Did you have the
"Magic Alt+SysRq" support included in the kernel? If so, can you do an
SAK? (Alt+SysRq+K - kills all processes on the current VC, which should
give you a clean login screen.)


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