Zack's Kernel News

Zack's Kernel News

Article from Issue 224/2019

Improving the Android low memory killer; randomizing the Kernel stack; and best practices.

Improving the Android Low Memory Killer

Sultan Alsawaf submitted patches to implement a low memory killer for Android (i.e., something that detects which process to kill if the system starts to run out of available RAM). Low memory killers are very useful in emergencies, since the alternative is to crash and burn.

In this case, however, Greg Kroah-Hartman pointed out that an existing in-kernel low memory killer had recently been removed from the kernel source tree in favor of a userspace low memory killer that he felt worked just fine.

But Sultan replied that in his opinion, the userspace version sucked lemons. Among other things, he said, it was slow, killed too many processes, and was overly complex. As he put it, "The original reasoning behind why the old kernel low memory killer was removed is also a bit vague to me. It just seemed to be abandonware, and all of a sudden a userspace daemon was touted as the solution."


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