Thin clients freeze hard when out of RAM

Bryan Quigley gquigs at
Mon Sep 17 14:47:49 BST 2007

I run Firefox nightly builds and I noticed this "Known Issue workaround"

The X server may perform poorly or hang when running Gran Paradiso.
This can be mitigated by adding Option "XaaNoOffscreenPixmaps" "true" in the
"Device" section of xorg.conf.

I have not tried it at all as I don't have this issue, but it might be worth

On 9/2/07, Jim Kronebusch <jim at > wrote:
> Problem solved (or at least identified).  Firefox has a bug if you want to
> call it that,
> that caches pixmaps to X11.  This can chew up all available RAM in a hurry
> and once full
> completely freezes the client.  There is a hack you can put into ldm that
> will not allow
> any application to consume 100% of RAM causing the app to crash upon
> request of too much
> RAM, but at least keeps the client running.  But this still doesn't allow
> you to open
> certain websites.  Upon testing of other browsers (thanks to Robert
> Arkiletion) I found
> that if you have Firefox working the way you want, just apt-get install
> opera and your
> good to go.  Now I know that Opera isn't exactly the preferred client and
> also isn't
> "free" software, but if you're having trouble with Firefox crashing your
> clients, this
> is a good workaround until a way to keep firefox from caching pixmaps is
> found.
> Also modifying the default nbdswap size from 32MB to whatever you need to
> handle certain
> sites (the ones some of our students ran into required a minimum of 500MB)
> helps.  But
> this can quickly use up HD space on the server, create more network
> activity, and is
> slower than the use of RAM.  So although this works as well it is not a
> perfect solution.
> However if you absolutely need to use Firefox addition of the ldm hack
> along with the
> nbdswap increase, things should be very usable although not ideal.
> If anyone wants a good pet project....please find a way to disable firefox
> from pixmap
> caching to X11.  It looks like many could benefit from this.
> I will post in 2 separate posts a howto for addition of the xramperc
> option in ldm and
> how to increase your nbdswap.
> Thanks,
> Jim
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