I had to reboot...

I had to reboot...

Post by Stephen E. Adam » Fri, 04 Dec 1998 04:00:00

# Then, I clicked on the Netscape icon I made on my KDE desktop, and the
# hard drive started spinning uncontrollably.  I couldn't click on
# anything, and I couldn't even sustain a telnet connection into my
# computer.

Sounds like disk thrashing, most likely caused by the memory hungry
applications all trying to access the swap partition at the same time.

On my machine, which is only 8 MB of RAM and 40 MB of swap size, I get the
same problem when I run X, KDE, and Netscape 4.06.  The system becomes so
bogged down due to disk thrashing that I have to simply wait it all out.

# I rebooted, and I got LI but not LO.  I booted with a floppy and ran
# lilo, and then rebooted, and all is now OK, but... Ugh!

It's not recommended that you reboot your machine while the disk is
thrashing about.  You can*up the partition tables and/or inodes that
way. I suspect that's why when you attempted to boot from your hard drive,
it didn't know what to do.  Booting from the floppy invoked fsck, which
probably repaired the damage.

When your hard drive is spinning apparently out of control, it's best just
to wait it out.  Eventually, it'll stop.  It may take a few minutes, or a
few hours, but it will stop.

# What was the problems here?  

Lack of memory, either RAM or swap.

# Is it KDE?  

In part, yes.  KDE is still a "work in progress", so there may be some
bugs causing the disk to thrash.  Also, KDE eats up HUGE amounts of

# Have other people noticed swapping problems with KDE?

I certainly have.  Just starting up X on my 8 MB machine uses up the
entire RAM.  Everything else MUST use the swap partition.  The more jobs I
submit for processing, the greater the probability that my disk will
thrash.  It's for that reason I no longer use KDE.

# I have 48MB RAM and 32MB swap space.  

Bump up your swap partition to at least the same amount as your installed
physical RAM.  I've read some documentation that even suggests making your
swap partition double that of your RAM.

# Is Netscape screwy (4.5)?

I don't know, since I'm using 4.06.  I've heard that 4.5 is still a beta
product, so who knows?  I can tell you that 4.06 is another memory hungry
application, so I'd gather that 4.5 will be as well.

# Also, my roommate is telling me that I should reboot regularly to fix
# things and keep my computer healthy.  I thought this was supposed to be
# unnecessary in Linux - is it?

Rebooting is not necessary to "clean up" a Linux system.  I've been up for
over 12 days now, but have run for as long as three months.  The only
reason I reboot is by personal choice, like if I need to get into my old
Windows 3.1 system for whatever reason.  I also reboot when I'm fiddling
with the hardware.  Other than that, I have no reason to.

# Thanks,

I hope I've shed some light on your predicament.