Is it possible to give the user the option to cancel forkbombs?

Dane Mutters dmutters at
Sat Nov 17 06:45:42 UTC 2007

I thought you might find this helpful.  (I brought this issue up with
the Slackware folks once, and they told me basically this.)

I was also told that the ability to spawn such rampant forks/processes
is controlled by default in Debian.  Is this the case?

Here is an LQ thread where I brought it up:

I would like to see something done about this, with Ubuntu as popular as
it is, even as a server in some cases.  Is there a way that in the
future, one could simply download a package or click a box or something
and have a limit set, like the links suggest?  That would make things
just "that much" more convenient for system administrators (and might
help them/us to remember to set these limits, too...).



On Fri, 2007-11-16 at 23:04 -0800, Martin Olsson wrote:
> Sorry about that, I checked the "has security impact" checkbox and that 
> marked it as private by default. This is a very well known problem 
> though so keeping secret certainly does not make sense. I have manually 
> removed the "private" flag now.
> The content of the bug report was as follows:
> ---------------------------------------------
> Repro steps:
> 1. Install gutsy gibbon (or probably any ubuntu)
> 2. Start a gnome terminal
> 3. Run this command:
>     :(){ :|:& };:
> 4. Ubuntu starts to work furiously, after less than a second terminal 
> gets flooded with "low resources" message, and within a few seconds the 
> whole machine breaks down complete to the point where no a single pixel 
> is updated and the mouse cannot be moved at all. It's not possible to 
> escape to a ALT-Fn console terminal and CTRL-ALT-DEL does not work.
> Okay, so this is not as bad as winnuke.exe because it's not remote but I 
> just did it on my shared hosting co and their server went down. And I 
> mean seriously, there should be a way for a user to abort stuff that 
> hogs resources this type of complete breakdown is NEVER acceptible. I 
> had to power of the machine and my file system got royally screwed (long 
> fsck etc).
> Some of you might say this is like the oldest trick in the book, yada 
> yada yada...
> 		Martin
> Alan Cox wrote:
> > On Fri, 16 Nov 2007 21:51:27 -0800
> > Martin Olsson <mnemo at> wrote:
> > 
> >> Dear kernel hackers,
> >>
> >> This is a message from below 0x7FFFFFFF. Please look at this bug (it's 
> >> not a new concept but still):
> >>
> > 
> > It seems to want people to register to view it. I guess Ubuntu should fix
> > launchpad then we can see the bug report
> > 
> > Alan
> > -

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