[nSLUG] Re: Help: CPAN session "killed", "0-order allocation failed"

Mike Spencer mspencer at tallships.ca
Wed May 13 17:13:53 ADT 2009

me> [cpan failed...]
me> __alloc_pages: 0-order allocation failed (gfp=0x1d2/0)

Jason> Hmm, try adding some more swap space.

me> There's a 500M swap partition.  But what do you know?  There's no
me> swap entry in /etc/fstab for swapon -a to see when it's run in
me> rc.S.

So I added a line to /etc/fstab referencing /dev/hda1 as swap, ran
swapon -a as root.  Then I tried the cpan command again.  This time,
not only did cpan die, the shell, the instance of emacs in which the
shell was running and X all died, leaving me at the command prompt in
the console from which X had been started.  And dmesg reported:

    __alloc_pages: 0-order allocation failed (gfp=0x1d2/0)
    VM: killing process xterm

Since the rule that stupidity is defined as "doing the same thing and
expecting a different result" isn't true in the domain of heisenbugs,
I did the same thing again.  Result was a successful fetch of the
desired perl module, other required modules and graceful exit with no
error messages.  Except in dmesg, where, once again, the message:

    __alloc_pages: 0-order allocation failed (gfp=0x1d2/0)


Any thoughts?  Anybody?

Ian> [/usr/bin/]Top lies....

My mental image of RAM is essentially that of a C programmer (there's
"heap" and you can have some when you ask) and CP/M Z80 assembler
(single chunk of linearly addressed space, you can do anything you
want as long as you don't scribble on the BDOS/BIOS.)  I don't
understand "slab" cache.  If the system has allocated a slab but the
slab is empty/unused, does it still show up in /usr/bin/top or
/bin/free as "used"?  Or does a slab only get created by a non-kernel
program?  Guess I have to do some reading.

Ho hum. cpan is so confusing [1] that it's almost easier to grovel through
a CPAN mirror, manually ftp packages, rinse and repeat when
unfulfilled dependencies are found.

- Mike

[1] For Pratchett fans: Anoia sould take on cpan as well as Things
    Stuck in Drawers.

Michael Spencer                  Nova Scotia, Canada       .~. 
mspencer at tallships.ca                                     /( )\
http://home.tallships.ca/mspencer/                        ^^-^^

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