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I am trying to raise the open file descriptor maximum for all users on an ubuntu machine.

I've added the following lines to /etc/security/limits.conf:

*               soft    nofile           100000
*               hard    nofile           100000

And, based on this question I've checked the /etc/pam.conf settings for pam_limits:

$ grep "pam_limits" /etc/pam.d/*
/etc/pam.d/atd:session    required   pam_limits.so
/etc/pam.d/common-session:session required pam_limits.so
/etc/pam.d/cron:session    required   pam_limits.so
/etc/pam.d/login:session    required   pam_limits.so
/etc/pam.d/sshd:session    required     pam_limits.so
/etc/pam.d/su:session    required   pam_limits.so
/etc/pam.d/sudo:session required pam_limits.so

And my file-max seems to be fine:

$ cat /proc/sys/fs/file-max 
762659

Yet I still have the default 1024 when I check ulimit -a:

$ ulimit -a | grep files
open files                      (-n) 1024

What else can I check?

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Also, just as additional clarification: A ulimit -n 100000 does work as expected (although it doesn't help me because it only persists in the current login session). –  bantic Feb 15 '11 at 16:31

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I figured out that the system doesn't seem to like the wildcard for the user in limits.conf. Changing that to: root soft nofile 100000 and root hard nofile 100000 worked fine.

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Must be a bug in Ubuntu. I verified that wildcards work in Fedora 14. –  Mark Wagner Feb 14 '11 at 20:13
4  
Wildcards work, but do not affect the root account. manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/natty/en/man5/limits.conf.5.html says NOTE: group and wildcard limits are not applied to the root user. To set a limit for the root user, this field must contain the literal username root. –  Stobor Jul 27 '11 at 5:29

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