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Kill your server with slrn

No, that’s not a joke. Today I had to (hard-)reboot one of my servers because the console newsreader slrn produced such a high load on the system that it was everything but responsive as a consequence.

Huh. What? Yes, right. It was the fault of slrn. I had not set up any default limits on the server yet (stupid, me) but finally I could find and reproduce the source of the problem under the control of pam-limits.

What was going on? slrn failed at processing a message on gmane.linux.debian.user.german. It always hang at the same message. Via setting ‘limit addressspace 62000’ and therefore causing slrn to fail with ‘Memory allocation failure.’ instead of requesting more and more resources I could find the origin of the problem: slrn fails to parse the X-Face header in my UTF8 enabled setup. *gna* Looks like I’ve to investigate on that in further detail… In the mean time I set up limits and a monitoring system…

5 Responses to “Kill your server with slrn”

  1. Robert Says:

    The bug (assuming that you are using the latest debian unstable version or a similiar patched version) is known and soon to be fixed.

  2. mika Says:

    @Robert: cool, thanks for information! I’m using the experimental version of slrn (to get proper UTF support) on Debian stable :-)


  3. Wolfgang Says:

    Hi Mika,

    A patch that fixes this problem is now available. It’s not yet in CVS HEAD so you need to visit
    to get the patch.


  4. mika Says:

    @Wolfgang: Cool! Thanks a lot for informing me!


  5. Wolfgang Says:

    You are welcome!

    Thomas is still working on improvements. A newer patch is available at: