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I am not competent on server issues, any help is much appreciated. When try to start a python/django shell on a linux box, I am getting OSError: [Errno 12] Cannot allocate memory.

free -m seems to confirm I am out of memory:

             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:           590        560         29          0          3         37
-/+ buffers/cache:        518         71
Swap:            0          0          0

But I cannot see what is eating up the memory with top or ps aux:

  PID USER      PR  NI  VIRT  RES  SHR S %CPU %MEM    TIME+  COMMAND            
    1 root      20   0 24336  908    0 S  0.0  0.2   0:00.68 init               
    2 root      20   0     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kthreadd           
    3 root      20   0     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:04.85 ksoftirqd/0        

How can I identify the leak? Thanks.

BTW, I am not sure if it is relevant, but the machine I am talking about is an AWS EC2 instance with Ubuntu 12 running.

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Try this:

  1. Go into top
  2. Press F (capital)
  3. type n. This will turn the lowercase n to an uppercase N in the list.
  4. Press enter and the list should now be sorted by memory usage.

Press ? at the main screen for more options.

EDIT: Thought I would help because I also have an EC2 with Ubuntu and it works for me:

 PID USER      PR  NI  VIRT  RES  SHR S %CPU %MEM    TIME+  COMMAND
 1010 mysql     20   0  545m  37m 1412 S  0.0  6.3   0:32.97 mysqld
  939 bind      20   0  157m  11m 1896 S  0.0  1.9   0:00.03 named
 3036 ubuntu    20   0 25260 7812 1720 S  0.0  1.3   0:00.42 bash
 1212 root      20   0  192m 7420 2680 S  0.0  1.2   0:03.87 apache2
 1322 www-data  20   0  192m 5880 1088 S  0.0  1.0   0:00.00 apache2
 1323 www-data  20   0  192m 5188  436 S  0.0  0.9   0:00.00 apache2
 1325 www-data  20   0  192m 5188  436 S  0.0  0.9   0:00.00 apache2
 1328 www-data  20   0  192m 5188  436 S  0.0  0.9   0:00.00 apache2
 1329 www-data  20   0  192m 5188  436 S  0.0  0.9   0:00.00 apache2
  968 whoopsie  20   0  197m 4332 2980 S  0.0  0.7   0:00.01 whoopsie
  795 root      20   0  153m 4256 3036 S  0.0  0.7   0:00.06 NetworkManager
 2919 root      20   0 90156 3964 3064 S  0.0  0.7   0:00.02 sshd
  804 root      20   0  101m 3656 2656 S  0.0  0.6   0:00.03 cupsd
 1498 root      20   0  570m 3396 2312 S  0.0  0.6   0:00.03 console-kit-dae
  693 root      20   0 49948 2876 2272 S  0.0  0.5   0:00.01 sshd
  756 root      20   0 79036 2844 2044 S  0.0  0.5   0:00.02 modem-manager
  964 root      20   0  124m 2844 2348 S  0.0  0.5   0:00.02 gdm-binary
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yes, thank you. it turned out that uwsgi instances got out of control :) –  omat Jul 10 '12 at 14:44
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ps -e -orss=,args= | sort -b -k1,1n | pr -TW$COLUMNS

will also sort all processes by memory usage descending.

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even for this command i get cannot allocate memory –  user1179459 Apr 11 at 8:58
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