Not particularly worried

The repair shop needed a few more days to finish work on the faster Thinkpad, and so I have kept the Pentium online in its role as torrent slave. In that time I haven’t had much chance to solve the problems it has been having, but I do have a few observations.

First, it appears to be a memory issue that’s caving in the system. I don’t know if I can be 100 percent sure of that, but the system lockups appear to be interspersed with kernel panics nowadays, which are slightly more informative. (I never thought I would be glad to see a kernel panic. :roll: )

When those kernel panics occur, there’s usually a cascade of killed processes — dhcpcd, agetty and so forth — which might also explain why I sometimes lose a network connection, but nothing else. If the kernel is killing out dhcpcd in hopes of scavenging some memory, then it would make sense that sometimes, bewilderingly, the network disappears while everything else is still running.

Unfortunately, whatever is happening to dhcpcd is also happening to some other part of the system, because killing and restarting dhcpcd is just giving error messages about network hardware, etc. So that route is not quite working.

But the problem is definitely happening when I add too many torrents, or torrents with exceptionally large ISO sizes (in other words, the entire Fedora 10 DVD :oops: ) or add more than five or six torrents at a time. The system also seems to burst when rtorrent checks hashes, which can be rather frustrating since the first thing it needs to do when it starts up after a crash … is re-hash everything. :|

As a consequence, I’m learning to treat this machine with kid gloves. I seed both the Lowarch torrent and the Ubuntu GTK1.2 Remix torrent from that machine, but much more than that seems to be causing undue stress. Final diagnosis: Sixteen megabytes is probably a bit low to run a torrent slave, under normal circumstances.

It does beg the question of what’s happening with swap space — there’s a generous 256Mb partition available to it, and vm.swappiness is set to 100, and so I was under the impression that things like this would be more or less “solved” by swapping out.

Of course, my understanding of Linux’s behavior under extreme duress (I consider 16Mb to be extreme duress) is rather primitive. It might be that all that network interaction is still too fast for a machine running at 100Mhz, with I/O channels that were cutting-edge in 1993, and the result is a backlog that can’t be solved that way.

Or at least, that’s how I rationalize it. :roll:

In any case, I’m not any closer to solving the problem, but I am learning a bit more about low-end systems. Granted, 16Mb is a bit unusual, but it illustrates how the kernel protects what’s working … when things aren’t quite working.

Moral of the story is to look for a little more memory really. Either that or rely on the machine solely as a seeder of one or two torrents at a time. If I had a little more memory it probably wouldn’t be an issue, but with the machine slated to be reassigned within the next week or so, I find myself in the same place I was when I originally reported these issues … not particularly worried, and not inclined to fix them. :|

About these ads

1 Response to “Not particularly worried”


  1. 1 thealphanerd 2009/04/18 at 9:44 PM

    It’s better than the Blue Screen of Death. What did you think computers ran off of anyways, angel farts? (SC3K Let’s Play reference)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Welcome!



Visit the Wiki!

Some recent desktops


May 6, 2011
Musca 0.9.24 on Crux Linux
150Mhz Pentium 96Mb 8Gb CF
 


May 14, 2011
IceWM 1.2.37 and Arch Linux
L2300 core duo 3Gb 320Gb

Some recent games


Apr. 21, 2011
Oolite on Xubuntu 11.04
L2300 core duo 3Gb 320Gb

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts.

Join 405 other followers

License

This work is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Please see the About page for details.

Blog Stats

  • 3,963,101 hits

Archives


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 405 other followers

%d bloggers like this: