Summary: Sun 3/60, 4.0.3-- running out of proc entries hoses machine

From: Brian Field (
Date: Thu Nov 07 1991 - 15:09:59 CST

The original question:

Problem: a Sun 3/60 running 4.0.3 occasionally gets into a weird
state. I can telnet to the machine, but it takes several minutes
before I get logged in. Once I get in, ps -axe returns only the
header line-- no info on the current status of the system. pstat -T
or pstat -i reports kernel: read error.

Looking back through /var/adm/messages, I notice the following errors
occurred last night (while a program was backing up a local SCSI disk)

Nov 6 00:00:10 ra vmunix: proc: table is full
Nov 6 00:00:10 ra vmunix: proc: table is full
Nov 6 00:00:09 ra named[56]: panic xfer [v]fork: No more processes

Is there a bug that causes the 4.0.3 kernel to get hosed when it
temporarily runs out of proc entries?

The responses:

All but one of the responses replied with something like:

>From: stern@sunne.East.Sun.COM (Hal Stern - NE Area Tactical Engineering)
>it's not a bug, it's sort of a mis-feature. when
>the proc table fills up, weird things happen, and
>sometimes you can't fork() enough new procs to
>clean up the mess.
>increase MAXUSERS in the kernel config file and
>the problem goes away.

The other suggestion came from:

>From: (Geert Jan de Groot)
>No such problem I know of. You can, however, find out what's going on:
>g 0
>(machine will panic)
>L1-A during reboot, but AFTER coredump
>b -s
>mount a filesystem with, say, 15 byte free on it
>savecore /filesystem_you_just_mounted
>Bring up the machine multi-user
>cd /filesystem_you_just_mounted
>ps, using -c vmcore.1 (generated by savecore above).
>See procedures in chap 22 of sysadmin manual of 4.1.1, 4.0.3 method is
>similar but we don't have the man pages anymore.

Thanks to:
        stern@sunne.East.Sun.COM (Hal Stern - NE Area Tactical Engineering) (Geert Jan de Groot) (Mark Costello) (Michael Helm)
        sq!sqwest!!mch (Mark C. Henderson)
        Charles <>
        Arie Bikker <>


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