Couldn't get a free page... problem (causes filesystem problems)

Couldn't get a free page... problem (causes filesystem problems)

Post by Christian Casto » Thu, 05 Jun 1997 04:00:00

> Exactly.  What puzzles me is that people have reported the problem on
> machines with much memory and without any networking.  What
> non-network parts of the kernel need more than one contiguous page in
> an interrupt ?

I sometimes get this error when I attempt to do a mke2fs on a 900 meg
partition (i.e. If I execute mke2fs several times in a row on this
partition, sometimes everything goes OK, and sometimes it gives the

The resulting filesystem seems to be unstable.  If I mount a partition
in which this error occured, and do heavy file operations on it, the
kernel eventually reports "general protection" exceptions.

The system in question is a Pentium Pro 200MHz, 32 Megs ECC, Intel
Venus (440FX) motherboard, Matrox Mystique, and Sound Blaster AWE32
running RedHat 4.2 (linux kernel 2.0.30.)

At first I suspected the ide driver (for some reason the kernel thinks
I am using a 430 Triton chipset instead of a 440 Natoma), but after
reading this thread I am starting to suspect that the problem lies

I'll try the "echo '128 192 256' > /proc/sys/vm/freepages" trick that
Peter suggested and see if that solves the problem.  I'll post the
result of this test later.



1. Solution requested for a 'Couldn't get a free page.....' problem

Hi everyone,

We are developping an MPEG2 video over ATM client/server application on Linux
and we seem to have a problem sometimes. Our application uses the following
cutting edge features available with Linux, version 2.0.14:

        - Efficient Network 155Mb/s ATM adapters, drivers and software from
          Werner Almesberger at LRC, version 0.21;
        - The kernel level Pthreads from Xavier Leroy, version 0.14;
        - The Real Time Clock extension features to regulate the Constant Bit
          Rate MPEG2 video transmission from the server by Paul Gortmaker;

to name a few.

Once in a while, we get the 'Couldn't get a free page.....' message poping up
stopping a thread from our client application and then terminating the server
process. I would appreciate if someone could give us pointers to where we should
look in order for us to ideally get rid of the problem. It would seem that it
is network related because we saw this message appear in another network situation
unrelated to our application. It would be nice to know if and how we can increase
the number of pages available to the kernel assuming this is a likely solution.

Thanks for your time and attention.


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