I'm running a Linux 2.6.36 kernel, and I'm seeing some random errors. Things like
ls: error while loading shared libraries: libpthread.so.0: cannot open shared object file: Error 23
Yes, my system can't consistently run an 'ls' command. :(
I note several errors in my dmesg output:
# dmesg | tail [2808967.543203] EXT4-fs (sda3): re-mounted. Opts: (null) [2837776.220605] xv general protection ip:7f20c20c6ac6 sp:7fff3641b368 error:0 in libpng14.so.14.4.0[7f20c20a9000+29000] [4931344.685302] EXT4-fs (md16): re-mounted. Opts: (null) [4982666.631444] VFS: file-max limit 1231582 reached [4982666.764240] VFS: file-max limit 1231582 reached [4982767.360574] VFS: file-max limit 1231582 reached [4982901.904628] VFS: file-max limit 1231582 reached [4982964.930556] VFS: file-max limit 1231582 reached [4982966.352170] VFS: file-max limit 1231582 reached [4982966.649195] top: segfault at 14 ip 00007fd6ace42700 sp 00007fff20746530 error 6 in libproc-3.2.8.so[7fd6ace3b000+e000]
Obviously, the file-max errors look suspicious, being clustered together and recent.
# cat /proc/sys/fs/file-max 1231582 # cat /proc/sys/fs/file-nr 1231712 0 1231582
That also looks a bit odd to me, but the thing is, there's no way I have 1.2 million files open on this system. I'm the only one using it, and it's not visible to anyone outside the local network.
# lsof | wc 16046 148253 1882901 # ps -ef | wc 574 6104 44260
I saw some documentation saying:
file-max & file-nr:
The kernel allocates file handles dynamically, but as yet it doesn't free them again.
The value in file-max denotes the maximum number of file- handles that the Linux kernel will allocate. When you get lots of error messages about running out of file handles, you might want to increase this limit.
Historically, the three values in file-nr denoted the number of allocated file handles, the number of allocated but unused file handles, and the maximum number of file handles. Linux 2.6 always reports 0 as the number of free file handles -- this is not an error, it just means that the number of allocated file handles exactly matches the number of used file handles.
Attempts to allocate more file descriptors than file-max are reported with printk, look for "VFS: file-max limit reached".
My first reading of this is that the kernel basically has a built-in file descriptor leak, but I find that very hard to believe. It would imply that any system in active use needs to be rebooted every so often to free up the file descriptors. As I said, I can't believe this would be true, since it's normal to me to have Linux systems stay up for months (even years) at a time. On the other hand, I also can't believe that my nearly-idle system is holding over a million files open.
Does anyone have any ideas, either for fixes or further diagnosis? I could, of course, just reboot the system, but I don't want this to be a recurring problem every few weeks. As a stopgap measure, I've quit Firefox, which was accounting for almost 2000 lines of lsof output (!) even though I only had one window open, and now I can run 'ls' again, but I doubt that will fix the problem for long. (edit: Oops, spoke too soon. By the time I finished typing out this question, the symptom was/is back)
Thanks in advance for any help.
And another update: My system was basically unusable, so I decided I had no option but to reboot. But before I did, I carefully quit one process at a time, checking
/proc/sys/fs/file-nr after each termination. I found that, predictably, the number of open files gradually went down as I closed things down. Unfortunately, it wasn't a large effect. Yes, I was able to clear up 5000-10000 open files, but there were still over 1.2 million left. I shut down just about everything. All interactive shells, except for the one ssh I left open to finish closing down, httpd, even nfs service. Basically everything in the process table that wasn't a kernel process, and there were still an appalling number of files apparently left open.
After the reboot, I found that
/proc/sys/fs/file-nr showed about 2000 files open, which is much more reasonable. Starting up 2 Xvnc sessions as usual, along with the dozen or so monitoring windows I like to keep open, brought the total up to about 4000 files. I can see nothing wrong with that, of course, but I've obviously failed to identify the root cause.
I'm still looking for ideas, since I definitely expect it to happen again.
And another update, the next day:
I watched the system carefully, and discovered that
/proc/sys/fs/file-nr showed a growth of about 900 open files per hour. I shut down the system's only NFS client for the night, and the growth stopped. Mind you, it didn't free up the resources, but it did at least stop consuming more. Is this a known bug with NFS? I'll be bringing the NFS client back online today, and I'll narrow it down further.
If anyone is familiar with this behavior, feel free to jump in with "Yeah, NFS4 has this problem, go back to NFS3" or something like that.