SUMMARY: Per user process limits...

From: Arthur Darren Dunham (
Date: Mon Sep 08 1997 - 11:51:39 CDT

Here's the recap of the original problem...

>On one of our machines, a user has managed to convince the system
>that he shouldn't have any more processes...
>Console has this pop up....
>unix: out of per-user processes for uid 21072
>ps reveals that he has exactly one shell running. All attempts for
>this user to fork fail. No other user appears to be having this
>problem, and rebooting the machine in the middle of the week is best
>Is there a kernel structure that contains this information on a
>per-user basis? This doesn't appear to be a 'limit' type field.
>We've tried 'unlimit' to no effect. Also, removing dot-files doesn't
>affect anything either.
>SunOS 5.5, Sparc Ultra-1.

Caspar Dik confirmed that this is a kernel bug that needs a patch and
sent this workaround.

Well, this is a kernel bug that needs a patch (it doesn't keep count correctly).

Anyway, you could temporarily work around this using:

        adb -k -w
        maxuprc/X <- you type
        maxuprc: 3e5 <- current hex value
        maxuprc/W100000 <- huge new hex value

And that should fix it (unless you want to keep a per user process limit
that is small and no tthe default that is).

The otehr way is following upc_hash chains , findthis user and then set his
value to 1.

Unfortunatly, the adb trick didn't seem to help in our case. It gave no
errors or problems, but this user was still limited to one process after

Ramindur Singh ( gave the suggestion to just
recreate the user. An excellent idea in our case. I can't believe that
we hadn't thought to do that... Moving his uid would not have been

Without the 'adb' trick working, we just waited until Saturday and
rebooted the machine. Things are fine for now.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Darren Dunham                 		 
UNIX Sysadmin					   Rice University
(This line currently in revision)	               Houston, TX
<This space filled intentionally to prevent shock or mail bounces>

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