memcg creates an unkillable task in 3.11-rc2

Eric W. Biederman ebiederm at
Wed Jul 31 22:09:16 UTC 2013

Michal Hocko <mhocko at> writes:

> [I am CCing David here as well]
> On Tue 30-07-13 09:37:46, Eric W. Biederman wrote:
>> Michal Hocko <mhocko at> writes:
>> > On Tue 30-07-13 01:19:31, Eric W. Biederman wrote:
>> > [...]
>> >> Hmm. Looking farther I see what is going on. And it has nothing to do
>> >> with the freezer. (I have commented out that code and reproduced it
>> >> without the freezer to be doubly certain).
>> >> 
>> >> 
>> >> On the exit path exit_robust_list is triggering a page fault to fault a
>> >> page back in.  Which since we have no memory causes the exit path
>> >> to get stuck in mem_cgroup_handle_oom.
>> >
>> > Hmm, interesting. I assume the exit is caused by the SIGKILL, right?
>> > If yes, then why it hasn't coughed early in __mem_cgroup_try_charge
>> Interesting question.  This isn't the primary thread but we do send
>> SIGKILL to the secondary threads as well.
>> We definitely need those checks on both paths making my change valid.
>> Oh. Duh!  This is after we act on SIGKILL so SIGKILL is no longer
>> pending.
> Very well spotted Eric! What do you think about the following patch?
> I would have to check since when the exit path could trigger the fault
> but I guess this is worth stable backport.

It doesn't have a prayer of working.

You leave open the race of a fatal signal being received before we go to

You don't handle a task that has processed the fatal signal and is in
PF_EXITING.  Which is what I experienced.

>From earlier comments about my code not being early enough I thought I
was going to see a patch in __mem_cgroup_try_change so that the bypass
case will kick in also for tasks in PF_EXITING.  You change actually
addresses things later in the code path than mine does.

I do like your summary of the problem.


> ---
> From 411408558f2858328ea25e69567e9a53a8314032 Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 2001
> From: Michal Hocko <mhocko at>
> Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2013 08:48:54 +0200
> Subject: [PATCH] memcg: Do not hang on OOM when killed by userspace OOM
> Eric has reported that he can see task(s) stuck in memcg OOM handler
> regularly. The only way out is to
> 	echo 0 > $GROUP/memory.oom_controll
> His usecase is:
> - Setup a hierarchy with memory and the freezer
>   (disable kernel oom and have a process watch for oom).
> - In that memory cgroup add a process with one thread per cpu.
> - In one thread slowly allocate once per second I think it is 16M of ram
>   and mlock and dirty it (just to force the pages into ram and stay there).
> - When oom is achieved loop:
>   * attempt to freeze all of the tasks.
>   * if frozen send every task SIGKILL, unfreeze, remove the directory in
>     cgroupfs.
> Eric has then pinpointed the issue to be memcg specific.
> All tasks are sitting on the memcg_oom_waitq when memcg oom is disabled.
> Those that have received fatal signal will bypass the charge and should
> continue on their way out. The tricky part is that that exit path might
> trigger a page fault (e.g. exit_robust_list) thus the memcg charge
> while its memcg is still under OOM because nobody has released any
> charges. Unlike with the in-kernel OOM handler the exiting task doesn't
> get TIF_MEMDIE set so it doesn't shortcut charges and falls to the
> memcg OOM again without any way out of it as there are no fatal signals
> pending anymore.
> This patch sets the TIF_MEMDIE flag pro actively in mem_cgroup_handle_oom
> if the memcg is disabled after the task is woken up with fatal signal
> pending. This means that any further charges will be bypassed early in
> __mem_cgroup_try_charge and the task will have chance to exit finally.
> Strictly speaking we might mark also a task which hasn't been killed by
> userspace OOM handler but this is not harmful as the task is going away
> anyway and under-oom group would like to see it go as soon as possible.
> Reported-by: Eric W. Biederman <ebiederm at>
> Debugged-by: Eric W. Biederman <ebiederm at>
> Signed-off-by: Michal Hocko <mhocko at>
> ---
>  mm/memcontrol.c | 13 ++++++++++++-
>  1 file changed, 12 insertions(+), 1 deletion(-)
> diff --git a/mm/memcontrol.c b/mm/memcontrol.c
> index d12ca6f..d4103b0 100644
> --- a/mm/memcontrol.c
> +++ b/mm/memcontrol.c
> @@ -2235,8 +2235,19 @@ static bool mem_cgroup_handle_oom(struct mem_cgroup *memcg, gfp_t mask,
>  	mem_cgroup_unmark_under_oom(memcg);
> -	if (test_thread_flag(TIF_MEMDIE) || fatal_signal_pending(current))
> +	if (test_thread_flag(TIF_MEMDIE))
>  		return false;
> +
> +	/*
> +	 * Userspace OOM killer might have killed this task but
> +	 * there is no way it could have set TIF_MEMDIE as well
> +	 * so we have to set it manually.
> +	 */
> +	if (fatal_signal_pending(current)) {
> +		if (memcg->oom_kill_disable)
> +			set_thread_flag(TIF_MEMDIE);
> +		return false;
> +	}
>  	/* Give chance to dying process */
>  	schedule_timeout_uninterruptible(1);
>  	return true;
> -- 

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