systemd-oomd issues on desktop

Ted Gould ted at
Fri Jun 10 14:30:53 UTC 2022

On Jun 9 2022, at 2:19 pm, Dan Streetman <ddstreet at> wrote:
> Was systemd-oomd enabled by default for a specific reason? The kernel
> is quite able to handle oom situations itself, and has been for years,
> so while I'm not trying to suggest systemd-oomd is without any use
> case, I'm skeptical that systemd-oomd should be enabled *by default*.
> I think it's more likely to behave better when enabled to address a
> specific system use case, and leave the default behavior of handling
> oom to the kernel.

What the kernel does hasn't been working and we've been discussing fixes for it for years. The problem is that the kernel only considers processes, not applications. So then when it is freeing up memory it'll kill one process of an application, but not remove the entire application. Systemd, using cgroups, starts to think of applications together so that the memory can be managed in a more sensible manner.
My guess, without any data to back it up, is that browsers have benefited from this oversight as they've also put tabs in separate processes and thus avoided OOM action.
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