kernel: Couldn't get a free page.....

kernel: Couldn't get a free page.....

Post by Frank Gock » Thu, 30 May 1996 04:00:00


I'm writing a driver that allocates kernel memory with kmalloc.
Sometimes I get this error in my logs:

   kernel: Couldn't get a free page.....

I found that it comes from kmalloc when it fails.......

What causes this problem *exactly* and how can I avoid it?

What's the appropriate reaction for a driver using kmalloc when it fails?
Give up or wait and retry?

Thanks in advance,



1. getting "Couldn't get a free page" during install


I'm getting a "couldn't get a free page" message when installing.  
This message shows on the Alt-F4 screen.  
I'm installing RedHat 4.2 from a store-bought RedHat
software package (not bundled with a "regular" book,
just 250 page guide).

The system is a 486-25 with 8MB of RAM and a
730MB Quantum SCSI-2 HDD.  The CDROM drive
is a Mountain CD7 changer (I'm only using disc
tray 1, and it accesses the drive just fine for the
install up to the point where I get the above message).
I switch to Alt-F4 to see this message after the Alt-F1
screen remains stationary for a long period of time.

The SCSI controller is an old clone (Tekram) that has
caching enabled (for some reason, I used to be able
to get into the Tekram configuration on boot-up
by pressing F2 or F6 to enable/disable disk caching
and setup other SCSI parameters, but can't now, so
I'm stuck with caching enabled on the hard disk

I get the error while installing packages during the
initial install.  At first, I selected "Everything" and had
a 95MB swap partition.  Then I tried selecting just
Emacs and NFS and using about a 140MB swap
partition.  Results were the same.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, and
thanks in advance to anyone who can help!


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