Re: Out of memory!

1999-01-06 14:39:16
I have not confirmed it is Perl versus mhonarc, although all messages to
mhonarc actually go through a perl script I wrote and it works fine.
(It splits messages into monthly archives, thus it checks the date of a
message and then calls mhonarc with the right set of arguments to put
the message where it belongs.)  This script has no trouble with the
message as it calls mhonarc successfully.  It does not keep the message
in memory; it uses a temporary file.

The machine is not a multi-user machine insofar as nobody has an account
on it but the administrator; it is just a listserver.

When I run the process manually it fails exactly the same way.  When I
call mhonarc without preprocessing through my script it fails the same

The machine on which this occurs has 64 Meg of real memory and the swap
space is 512 Meg so no, the swap space is not as big as the message.  I
have always wondered if that was the real issue but never dug real deep
to confirm it.  It always appeared that mhonarc worked with files itself
so it didn't need that much memory.  If you tell me you really think
that's it I'll have to test that theory.

The number of messages to this particular elist is very low so there's
no competition between more than one message attempting to get into the
archive at a time.

As far as people sending 1 GB messages, this is a special list with
about dozen or so subscribers.  They are working on a document of some
sort together.

James M. Galvin                       Principal
eList eXpress LLC                     +1 410.795.7978                 +1 410.549.5546 FAX
A premiere source for all your elist management services.

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                -- Sean O'Casey

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On December 23, 1998 at 11:29, James M Galvin wrote:

Would you say more about why an overly large attachment is an issue?

Process and/or system memory limitation can come into play.
In multi-user environments, it is common for sys admins to enforce
process size limitations to avoid non-privileged processes to suck
up all memory on the system.

Theoretically, if you have the enough memory, MHonArc should handle
it (unless perl itself has some memory problems).  Note, process
a very large message can take some time, so if doing dynamic archive
updates with a list with high traffic, some messages may not get
added since the large message can lock the archive long enough for
other additions to time-out.

I use mhonarc extensively and love it.  However, several of the elists I
manage do get overly large attachments (>1GB, yes gigabyte) and frankly
more often than not I can not get them in the archives.  I've never been
able to figure out why, although I've also never sat in a debugger and
traced it in detail.

How much memory do you have?  If real and swap are >1GB + whatever to
support other processes, I would bet the time it takes MHonArc to
process the message could cause problems if other separate MHonArc
processes try to do adds on the archive (as noted above).

Have you tried a manual test of one of your >1GB messages?  If so,
what happened?

BTW, IMO, people should be questioned on why they are sending >1GB
messages via email, especially to a mailing list.


Earl Hood

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