How to prevent system lock-ups: when a process eats up all the memory

A couple of days ago, I had the painful experience of having a process slowly but surely eating up all the available memory, filling up the swap memory, living me agonizing in front of a computer that wouldn't respond, too busy as it was to slowly die. If I take the trouble to relate the experience, it's because I believe a proper Linux distribution should take pro-active measures so prevent this kind of occurrence and allow the experienced user to take measures to recover from a potentially disastrous mistake.

From a symptom to an actual bug... and more!

I just fixed a bug in one of the modules powering this web site.

It started with a very simple symptom. When creating a new issue in the bug tracker, I got the following PHP E_ALL notice:
Undefined property: stdClass::$cid

Unfortunately, fixing the bug was not a simple matter of suppressing the warning. At first, I couldn't even reliably reproduce the symptom. I had to investigate more in depth and understand the exact circumstances that lead to the faulty manifestation. I finally found the proper way to fix that particular bug.

Software versioning: outline

This entry is a bliki, a personal blog entry that I'll update wiki-style.

I'd like to address software versioning, as well as the use of stable and development branches.

I'll update this page over time. Here is a rough outline of what I wish to address:

- version x.y.suffix for most software:
x is the feature branch.
.y is the release version.
.suffix describe development stage. 'suffix' is one of 'alpha', 'beta', 'rc', 'stable', 'unmaintained' (for a final release in an obsoleted branch).

- version z.x.y.suffix, for libraries.

New Gentoo overlay with a different philosophy

I have been pondering for a long while to, eventually, Real Life obligations permitting, create a new Linux distribution. For many reasons, I was not satisfied with any of the main distros I knew of.

In 2015, trying to find a systemd-free refuge, I started using Gentoo. I am still a newbie. I have still much to learn. But I am impressed. Gentoo developers have many reasons to feel proud.

However, even Gentoo is not the Linux distribution I dream of having. But I decided earlier last year that my potential distribution would be based on, and compatible with, Gentoo.

The best combination of Linux users: the lftp example

Something doesn't work as it should

This story actually starts years ago. I wanted to use lftp to transfer files to my host's server. Unfortunately, lftp seemed to just hang in there, stuck at the [Making data connection...] stage.

At that time, I frantically searched the web and I finally found a forum post that advised adding set ftp:ssl-allow off to ~/.lftprc. I did so, and I was at least able to transfer my files using lftp. Something seemed off, though. My not-yet-fully-security-aware self let it go: as long as it works...

Google it!

Today, I am writing the first entry of what may become a series of blog entries about the actual usefulness of search engines.

Often people who ask for support in mailing lists and forums are told, often not so politely, to "google it". I certainly understand the feeling: some people simply do not make the effort to look a solution for themselves, and expect the community to help them.

Shopping and Linux hardware support

I was recently looking to buy a scanner with a good or complete support in Linux: I quickly discovered that it was an exercise in frustration control.

Linux hardware: an ongoing headache

One of the ongoing problems when using Linux is that hardware manufacturers do not provide their full specifications to driver developers, much less do they develop and provide Linux drivers themselves. There are well known exceptions but by and large, it is a state of affair that has given headaches to more than one Linux users.

Scanning a book: hardware and software problems

As I am opening this site, one of the most urgent things I have to do is scan a whole book, pass it through an OCR software in order to publish this rare book on the internet.

It is thus that the first few issues in this site are all related to scanning and ORC:
#11: OCR with tesseract: garbage output
#12: tesseract language setting
#13: mass processing TIFF images: GIMP scripts

I managed to make tesseract work.

But now, I need to buy a scanner so that I can scan the whole book. And it will be handy to scan miscellaneous things, now and then.
#17: Which scanner for Ubuntu?

So, not only are the first few issues related to scanning and ORC, but so are the first few wiki pages created on this site:

Site opening

I just created the new meta linux web site at .

I've just completed the preliminary set up. It is now ready to function, but it's still empty of content.

I'll write more about the site's mission later this week.

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