This blog runs on a Linux server on Linode (referral link). I use the server for a few other purposes, too; one of its tasks is to send us selected items from the paper every morning. It usually runs smoothly, but this morning, we didn’t get the email from the server, nor any error messages. I logged onto the server and ran the summary program at the console; it seemed to work but at the very end, I got a message: “Killed”.
I knew I hadn’t written any such message into my program, so I started digging. I didn’t have to dig far – as soon as I looked at the system log, I saw messages from the “oom-killer” program, followed by a message: “Out of memory: Killed process…”.
I ran top and found that my memory was almost all in use, as was my swapfile. I rebooted, and things seemed better – but I did some more web searching and found out how to check the size of the swapfile – it was only 256MB on a 1GB image, far less than recommended.
I stopped the machine and reallocated space to give me a 2GB swapfile; I hope that solves the problem. As of this minute, the system is using 416MB of the swapfile, but there’s also nearly 400MB free main memory – I hope it knows what it’s doing, because I don’t!